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Klamath Basin News, Monday 3/4 – What Happens Next With the Issues at Crater Lake? Klamath Falls Murder Case Ends In Guilty Plea And Sentencing For Crescent Death & Other Local and Statewide News…

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

Monday, March 4, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

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WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY ISSUED: 2:22 AM MAR. 4, 2024 – NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE
...WINTER STORM WARNING NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM PST TUESDAY...
...WINTER WEATHER ADVISORY NOW IN EFFECT UNTIL 4 PM PST TUESDAY...

* WHAT...For the Winter Storm Warning, heavy snow expected. Total
snow accumulations of 8 to 14 inches. Winds gusting as high as
50 mph over exposed terrain. For the Winter Weather Advisory,
snow expected. Total snow accumulations of 2 to 5 inches.

* WHERE...For the Winter Storm Warning, northern sections of Lake
and Klamath County. This includes much of highway 97, portions
of highways 31, 140, and 395, and the communities of Christmas
Valley, Chemult, Chiloquin, Lakeview, and Valley Falls. The
Winter Weather Advisory includes Modoc Point and Klamath Falls,
Crescent, Silver Lake, Fort Rock, and Paisley.

* WHEN...From 10 AM Monday to 4 PM PST Tuesday.

* IMPACTS...Travel could be very difficult to impossible. The
hazardous conditions could impact the morning or evening
commute. Gusty winds could bring down tree branches.

* ADDITIONAL DETAILS...Snow levels will be about 1500 feet to
the north and 4500 feet to the south.

* View the hazard area in detail at https://www.wrh.noaa.gov/map/?wfo=mfr
 

Today’s Headlines

What Happens Next With the Issues at Crater Lake?

Since news that the National Park Service intends to terminate a long-term contract with the concessioner at Crater Lake National Park, visitors are left to wonder what a trip to Oregon’s famous caldera will look like this year.

The National Park Service declined to answer questions about when a final decision would be made about the contract, or how it might affect park visitors. The agency did say it “is starting the process of identifying other potential operators to provide visitor services there,” with an effort to “minimize disruption of services to park visitors.” That meets a request by U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Oregon, who has issued two public letters to park director Charles F. “Chuck” Sams III on the matter.

The concessioner, Philadelphia-based Aramark, which operates the subsidiary Crater Lake Hospitality, faces a litany of serious accusations around their management of the park, including unsafe housing conditions, environmental hazards and public health code violations. The company is under contract to operate at Crater Lake and the Oregon Caves National Monument until 2030.

An investigation by The Oregonian/OregonLive, which analyzed 224 pages of federal reports and interviewed 15 former employees, showed years of systemic issues leading up to the contract dispute. On Feb. 14, the National Park Service announced its plan to terminate its contract with Aramark’s subsidiary unless the company “shows cause as to why NPS should not do so,” said David Szymanski, Pacific West regional director for the agency.

With the contract termination looming, there are lingering questions for visitors eyeing spring or summer trips to Crater Lake. Here’s what you need to know as you make your plans.

According to the National Park Service’s concessions guidelines, the agency can quickly award a temporary three-year contract to a new concessioner following a termination – a move specifically designed to continue visitor services – but park officials have not confirmed their intention to do so.

Aramark has also declined to offer details about its subsidiary’s plans moving forward at Crater Lake, noting only that the company “will continue to work closely with the National Park Service on next steps to deliver a positive experience for park visitors.” The company also operates concessions at 14 other national park sites, including Yosemite and Olympic national parks.

As of Friday, the company had 40 job listings for Crater Lake National Park posted online, from dishwashers to salaried managers. In response to questions about the job postings, Aramark spokesperson Sheena Weinstein said the company is “working closely with the National Park Service to ensure staffing is in place so the park is ready to open.”

The national park is technically open year-round, but most visitor services don’t begin until May or June, when winter snow can be cleared.  (SOURCE)

 

Klamath Falls Murder Case Ends In Guilty Plea And Sentencing For Crescent Death

A Klamath County murder case closed last week with a “guilty” plea.  Case records show 60-year-old Robert Frates pleaded guilty this week to criminally negligent homicide in the shooting death of John Frates on Sunday of last Thanksgiving weekend.

The Crescent man originally had charges of murder and unlawful use of a firearm in the case that was closed late Friday.

The law enforcement probable cause information for charges says, “Robert Frates caused the death of John Frates by shooting him with 9MM handgun multiple times.  Upon interview, Robert Frates admitted to shooting John Frates after he discovered him inside his trailer.”

Klamath County Circuit Court took Robert Frates’ guilty plea Wednesday to Criminally Negligent Homicide as a lesser included charge in the case by the district attorney’s prerogative.  The court sentenced him to 24 months of prison, restitution to be determined and 36 months of post-jail probation.

The written guilty plea said Robert Frates was guilty because he, “caused the death of another human being.”

That language resembles wording from his November 30, 2023, murder charge indictment that said, “The defendant, Robert Williams Frates, on or about November 26, 2023, in Klamath County, Oregon, did unlawfully and intentionally cause the death of John Eric Frates, another human being.”

Klamath Falls Couple Arrested For Drug Trafficking Charged With Extensive Child Abuse Crimes

A Klamath Falls couple facing federal charges for trafficking Fentanyl and meth have now been charged with multiple child abuse crimes as well.

Arrest logs from Thursday, Feb. 29 show Ashley Kathryn Childress, 37, and her husband, Daniel Paul Childress, 39, were charged for criminal neglect and serious physical abuse of a 2-year-old girl in their care.

Both parties were already in custody for their previous drug trafficking charges. The Childresses were arrested by Oregon State Police on Jan. 24 during a traffic stop.

Klamath Falls Police Department provided a news release after their initial arrest in which their alleged drug crimes were described.

Pending investigation, there was no mention of the alleged child abuse at the time. According to OSP reports, when police pulled the Childresses over, the 2-year-old victim was in the back seat with visible physical injuries.

OSP contacted the Oregon Department of Human Services who transported the young child to Sky Lakes Medical Center. Police reports said an OSP officer went to see the child after she was admitted to take photos and speak with her care providers. The victim was later transported to OHSU in Portland for further medical treatment and recovery.

While the Basin Interagency Narcotics Enforcement Team was searching the Childresses home, officers discovered a security camera set up inside the residence.

After a search warrant was granted, law enforcement reviewed the footage and found that Ashley Childress allegedly attacked the toddler 10 days prior on Jan. 14.

Police reports and court documents said Ashley Childress was seen striking and kicking the victim, shaking her by both of her arms and then strangling her.

Neither Ashley Childress nor her husband sought medical treatment for the child in their care.

In addition to facing federal trafficking charges, Ashley Childress is also charged with 16 additional crimes: three counts of first-degree assault, four counts of third-degree assault, nine counts of first-degree criminal mistreatment, two counts of second-degree mistreatment and two counts of strangulation.

Fatal Accident On Hwy 97 Claims The Life Of Two Including Unborn Child

On Thursday, February 29, 2024, at 10:02 a.m., Oregon State Police responded to a two-vehicle crash on Hwy-97, near milepost 174, in Klamath County.

The preliminary investigation indicated a southbound Peterbilt CMV and trailer, operated by Desiree Danielle Johnson (34) of St. Petersburg (FL), when it lost control and jackknifed in the roadway. The Peterbilt spun and crossed into the path of a northbound Honda Pilot, operated by Elise Adair Farrens (37) of La Pine, where the Honda struck the CMV trailer.

The operator of the Honda (Farrens) was declared deceased at the scene. A passenger in the Honda, Daviana Marie Trussell (23) of La Pine, was transported to the hospital with critical injuries.  Trussell, who was pregnant, tragically suffered the loss of her child due to injuries sustained during the crash.

 

“Learn and Earn” mobile education units to open new pathways to electrical careers for high school students in five southern Oregon counties

Support from Pacific Power, Pacific Power Foundation and IBEW Local 659 will ensure rural students from diverse backgrounds can access well-paying careers

 Four new “Learn and Earn” mobile education units will soon hit the roads that wind through southern Oregon, delivering new opportunities for well-paying electrical careers to rural high school students in small and outlying communities.

Each unit is a trailer the length of a large school bus, with learning and lab space inside for up to 15 students. Starting this fall, the units will deliver the Rural Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship – a Career and Technical Education course currently offered on-site at only two high schools – to students throughout Douglas, Jackson, Josephine, Lake and Klamath counties.

The pre-apprenticeship launched at Glide High School in Douglas County in 2022 through a partnership between Pacific Power, the Pacific Power Foundation, the International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers Local 659 and Crater Lake  Electrical Training Center.

Recent contributions of $60,000 from Pacific Power, $40,000 from the Pacific Power Foundation and matching support from IBEW Local 659 helped unlock state and federal grants to fund the new mobile education units and expand the pre-apprenticeship to students who don’t typically have access to such opportunities during their school day.

Project partners shared the news about the “Learn and Earn” units at a student assembly Thursday at Glide High School, where 14 students completed the pre-apprenticeship last year.

“It’s common, especially in rural communities like Glide, for students to be unaware of higher-level job opportunities like electrical careers. We want to change that,” said Jeff Brown, a director at Pacific Power’s North Umpqua Hydroelectric Project, about 50 miles east of Glide. “By expanding this program to reach more students, we’re trying to remove barriers to opportunity for young people growing up in the rural areas that Pacific Power serves.” 

Pre-apprenticeship removes barriers in rural communities  — The Rural Electrical Pre-Apprenticeship, which is run by Crater Lake Electrical Training Center instructors, combines academics with hands-on learning to prepare students for apprentice electrician positions offered by trade unions and utilities. The course is open to all students, with an emphasis on recruiting women, students from Tribal communities, students of color and those from low-income backgrounds – all of whom are underrepresented in the skilled trades.

“We are thrilled to support the Crater Lake Electrical Training Center and local high schools in their efforts to prepare students from diverse backgrounds for energy-related careers. The utility industry needs them, and this is an excellent partnership to share these opportunities right here in their own communities,” said Sam Carter, Pacific Power regional business manager and a member of the Pacific Power Foundation’s Grant Champions committee. 

Glide students on Thursday heard from Coby Pope, a 2023 Glide graduate, who landed a job with Pacific Power right out of high school, earning $37.03 per hour. Pope had his eyes opened to electrical careers as a pre-apprenticeship student at Glide, and the skills he gained helped him stand out in interviews. Of 50 applicants, he was one of four hired.

New units will deliver skills, exposure to electrical careers — The new “Learn and Earn” units will deliver the horizon-broadening experience that Pope had at Glide to potentially thousands more students throughout the region. Each unit will include mock framing inside so that students can practice bending conduit and running wire through walls. At least two of the units will have solar panels and handrails on the roof so that students can learn about renewable energy generation.

The job outlook for electricians overall is expected to grow faster than the average for all occupations over the next decade, according to federal labor statistics. Some southern Oregon students have already been exposed to electrical careers because their parents or other relatives work in the skilled trades, including at Pacific Power projects in the region. It’s important to ensure that students without those connections have access to the same opportunities to build a stable, well-paying career, according to Lance Corley, training director at Crater Lake Electrical Training Center in Medford.

The four “Learn and Earn” units are being assembled by Transport Custom Designs, a Pennsylvania company. The first unit is expected to be on the road in southern Oregon by September 2024.

Klamath County Sheriff’s Office Deputies were recently alerted by a local business of the discovery of a card skimming device affixed to their credit/debit card reader. Skimmers are devices used to collect card numbers that are later recovered to make fraudulent purchases.

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Skimmers can usually be spotted by doing a quick visual or physical inspection prior to swiping or inserting your card. They are most often found at ATM’s and gas stations but are being located at retails stores and restaurants. Before using your card, check for alignment issues between the card reader and the panel underneath it. The skimmers are often placed on top of the actual card reader making it stick out at an odd angle or cover arrows in a panel. Feel around the reader and try to see if anything is already inserted- if there is, it may be a thin plastic circuit board that can steal card information. If the buttons on a keypad are too hard to push, don’t use it.
 
Consider using a credit card rather than a debit card when making transactions. Most credit cards have a zero-liability policy meaning in case of fraud, the cardholder has no responsibility to pay back those funds to the issuer. Regularly monitor your credit / debit card activity by checking your bank statements. Report any suspicious activity on your accounts to both your bank and law enforcement so others don’t become victims as well.
 
Refer to the Federal Trade Commission for Consumer Advice at: https://consumer.ftc.gov/…/watch-out-card-skimming-gas…
Los Angeles County Consumer and Business Affairs website for helpful information at: https://dcba.lacounty.gov/…/understanding-card…/

 

It’s almost time to spring into the wondrous world of science with Klamath Outdoor Science School.

KOSS summer camps are held in the scenic Sun Pass State Forest near Fort Klamath, offering youth and families “jam-packed weekend adventures,” a news release from the program said.

Registration for the annual summer camp excursions is now open, and registration fees are offered at a discounted rate for those who sign up before May 1.

June 17-20: ages 8 through 13 are the dates for the Artists and Scientists camp takes a dualistic perspective look at the world around us. Campers will explore local ecosystems, create works of art inspired by their findings and learn from local professionals in both the artistic and scientific fields.

June 28-30: ages 7 through 9,  this discovery-filled weekend offers young campers all basics of a good old fashioned summer camp. Kids will stay in yurts on site and learn about local plants and animals as they make new friends and explore the wilderness in Kimball Park.

Early registration fee: $295 per camper.

Finally, May 25-27 and July 5-7: children ages 3-6 with accompanying adult(s) will enjoy a holiday weekend introductory camp with the KOSS Family Camp experience. This camp is designed specifically for the littler tikes and the adults who care for them.

Campers will cook and sing around campfires and learn about the woods and wildlife.

Each child can bring between one and three adults along for the fun.

 

The future workforce of tomorrow, Klamath Basin high school students, recently completed the building of two tiny homes in 48 hours.

One of those homes will be given away in a raffle next week.

Put on by the Klamath Basin Home Builders Association — the idea was first presented by Jennifer Fairfield, principal broker of Fairfield Realty, in 2021 — the 48-Hour Tiny Build has grown to be a mainstay component of the Build My Future event that provides an experience for local high schoolers to engage and learn about various jobs in the construction and trades field.

A group effort, students alongside over 30 local contractors, attacked the construction of two 170-square-foot tiny homes. Working together with licensed professionals to hang drywall, install plumbing, wire electrical — everything it takes to build a home — the students accomplished all of it within 48 hours on Nov. 2 to 3.

Lead contractor Alex Salazar said typically building a home of this size would take months to complete.

Now, one of the tiny homes is available to be won via a raffle.

Raffle tickets can be purchased from the Klamath Home Builders Association and any member affiliate, or from Fairfield Realty and during the Home & Outdoor Expo on March 8 and 9. The drawing will take place on March 9. Tickets are being sold for $100 and only 800 are available.

The other is going to be donated to Project Homefront to add additional transitional housing.

 

Something new is coming to the Tulelake Veterans Park, a wall of bricks inscribed with the names of military veterans.

David Porter Misso, who has long been active in Tulelake Basin projects, said the recently launched “Bricks For a Veteran” project has already resulted in purchases of bricks by veterans and family members of veterans both regionally and from as far away as Washington.

The city of Tulelake has bricks available for purchase at $50 per brick. All proceeds will go to the Veterans Park Memorial Monument, which is located in downtown Tulelake. Each 4- by 8-inch brick will be engraved with the name of the veteran, branch of military, rank and years served on active duty. Misso said several people who have purchased bricks were Army privates, with one Tulelake resident reaching the rank of general.

Orders are being taken through March 1 with placement of the bricks planned to be done this spring. Concrete for the bricks, which will be placed around the Veterans Park Memorial Monument, will be poured sometime in March. Forms for ordering bricks are available at City of Tulelake website at www.cityoftulelake.com or at the City Hall at 1591 Main St. Checks should be made to the City of Tulelake. For information call the City Hall at 530-667-5522.

The park is located on property that was donated to the city of Tulelake. The first phase of development began in 2003. Efforts to expand the park and “make it more representative of Tulelake’s heritage, especially its veterans,” followed over a several-year period.

The park’s expansion work began in 2020, when the existing park was extended to the corner of Main Street. The park archway is one of the first things people see as they turn off Highway 139 into town. A gazebo, sundial, interpretative panels and an archway featuring the seals of each branch of the military were added. That expansion was largely funded though a $425,000 grant through California Proposition 68 grants.

May be an image of text that says 'ARTISTS & June Camp SCIENTISTS 17-20 We are currently looking for artists who would be willing to lead an art activity for the campers. We are open to any activity so long as relates to nature and/or the local environment. This is a volunteer opportunity, but we can reimburse some mileage. ou or you know of anyone who, may be interested, please contact Natalie for more information! Natalie DiNenno, Executive Director Klamath Outdoor Science School 541-850-8218'

The 2024 Subaru Klamath County Fair is thrilled to unveil the latest addition to its star-studded lineup with the announcement of Pecos & The Rooftops as the Friday headlining act for this year’s Subaru Klamath County Fair.

The concert, set to take place at the John Hancock Event Center on Friday, August 2nd, offers fans a chance to experience the band’s dynamic blend of country and rock.

Doors will open at 6:30 p.m., with the show slated to begin at 7:30 p.m., setting the stage for a night filled with soulful Americana, gripping guitar solos, and the heartfelt lyrics that have become a hallmark of Pecos & The Rooftops’ sound. Since their formation in 2019 in Lubbock, Texas, the band has swiftly risen to prominence, captivating audiences with their debut Warner Records single “5AM” and a sound that seamlessly marries the grit of classic rock with the storytelling traditions of country music.

Pecos Hurley, the band’s lead vocalist and a former Marine, alongside his bandmates, has earned widespread acclaim for their deep dives into themes of heartbreak, resilience, and the journey to find redemption through music. With over 350 million global streams and a growing legion of fans, Pecos & The Rooftops are not just on a tour but on a mission to connect, inspire, and uplift.

Tickets for this must-see event will be available online at Klamathcofair.com and in person beginning March 1st at the Klamath County Fairgrounds Office, located at 3531 S. 6th Street. General Seating tickets are priced at $20, with Party Zone tickets available for $25.00 for those seeking to be closest to the action on stage. All concert tickets purchased before midnight March 22nd will include admission to the fair at no additional cost.

                  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)

 LEARN MORE ABOUT THE ROSS RAGLAND SPRING CAMPS HERE!

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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 ready for adoption at Klamath Animal Shelter is a dog named ” Darcy “.

Darcy is a 5 month old female Labrador mix with tan with black peppering and white on her chest and toes.  She already weighs over 40 pounds.

Darcy is part of a litter that their family was unable to find homes for. They were started on their house training, raised with children as young as 6 years and other adult dogs.

Her siblings Destiny and Dallas are also available for adoption.

Puppies, like baby humans, require significant time and attention commitments to grow up happy and healthy.

If you are interested in adopting Darcy 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!

 

 

Oregon Senators Announce $27 Million To Support Pacific Salmon Recovery

On Thursday, Oregon Senators Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley announced an investment of $27 million from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to help support recovery efforts for Pacific salmon populations.

A joint release said the federal funds are available due to the passage of the Inflation Reduction Act.

This investment builds on several projects Senator Wyden has supported, including a $2.5 million grant in 2022 to replace larger culverts on five rivers in the Tillamook Bay basin to increase salmon and other fish habitat.

Wyden said, “This federal investment is going to go a long way in making sure the salmon, which is so central to our culture and economies here in Oregon, recover from the population decline we have seen year after year”. Wyden said, “We have much work to do, but these actions will help build on the past successful projects such as restoring spawning grounds, establishing a Salmon Superhighway, and easing stress on migration routes”.

Merkley said, “The health of communities across Oregon goes hand-in-hand with the health of our state’s waterways, fish habitats and infrastructure”. Merkley said, “These federal investments will support initiatives to help strengthen natural infrastructure and reconnect fish habitats and migration routes – initiatives critical to boosting salmon recovery efforts and investing in the long-term viability of Oregon’s coastal communities”.

The release said additional funding is allocated to research projects that will benefit salmon populations and recovery efforts. These investments by NOAA from the Inflation Reduction Act amount to a total investment of $42 million nationally to address issues with salmon populations and restoration programs. (SOURCE)

ODF sends Strike Team to Assist in Texas Wildfires

Picture from the last time ODF was in Texas in 2022

SALEM, Ore. – Today the Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) deployed a strike team to Amarillo, Texas to assist in their wildfire suppression efforts. The strike team is equipped with five engines and a strike team leader, with a total of 16 firefighters traveling down to the state.

The firefighters are going to Texas under mutual assistance agreements, making it easier to share resources. When wildfire activity is low in Oregon, firefighters can be spared to help in other places experiencing high levels of wildfire response.

“We’re ready and willing to help whenever we receive the call from one of our partner states,” said Chris Cline, ODF’s Interim Fire Protection Division Chief.  “It’s the right thing to respond when someone is in a time of need, and we are honored to have the opportunity to serve.”

So how does Oregon send resources to help other states? This is all done through mutual assistance agreements creating a cache of reciprocal resources and a larger more comprehensive fire management system. In this system, Oregon does not only send out resources, but also receives and has received helpful resources when local capacity becomes overwhelmed.

“The relationships built through our assistance in other states not only benefits them, but also Oregonians as we reach out for help when our fire season hits its peak.” Cline explained. In the 2023 fire season, Oregon received 173 out-of-state firefighters.

Sending our firefighters on these out-of-state deployments helps them build relationships outside of our organization, learn new suppression tactics and gives them the opportunity to fight fire in a different landscape. These off-season deployments keep their skills sharp so they can come back to Oregon with new knowledge that can be applied to our future fire seasons.

More than 200 firefighters attend Winter Fire School training in Salem

More than 200 career and volunteer firefighters from nearly 100 fire agencies throughout Oregon attended the 19th annual Winter Fire School at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem on Feb. 24 and Feb. 25, 2024.

The two-day event was hosted by the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) and included nine classes offered by the National Fire Academy, DPSST, and the City of Dallas Fire & EMS Department. Attendees included firefighters from city and tribal fire departments, fire districts, and wildland firefighters.

Classroom training sessions covered a wide range of topics including leadership, incident command, health and safety programs, tactical decision making, fire prevention education, and community risk reduction. The event also included hands-on training sessions on vehicle extrication, flammable gas and liquid emergencies, extinguishing vehicle fires, forceable entry, firefighter safety and survival, pumper operator simulations, and heavy vehicle operation.

Winter Fire School is offered free of charge and is held over the weekend to accommodate the schedules of volunteers who comprise most of the Oregon fire service.

“DPSST is proud to put on the annual Winter Fire School, which is the Fire Program’s biggest event of the year,” said Kayla Ballrot, DPSST’s interim Fire Program Manager. “Oregon’s firefighters will apply the knowledge gained from this weekend’s event, from hands-on classes to leadership training, to make their communities safer places to live. We received great student and instructor feedback and are already looking forward to next year.”

### About DPSST
The mission of the Department of Public Safety Standards and Training (DPSST) is to pursue excellence in training and accountability for public safety professionals. DPSST certifies and licenses police, corrections, and parole and probation officers, as well as regulatory specialists, emergency telecommunicators and medical dispatchers, criminal justice instructors, private security providers, private investigators, fire service professionals and polygraph examiners in the State of Oregon.  DPSST works with public and private safety agencies around the state to provide basic, leadership and specialized training at the 237-acre Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem and regionally throughout the state.

USDA Issues Secretarial Natural Disaster Designation for Impacted Oregon Counties

Farmers in eligible counties have until October to apply for emergency loansSalem, OR—Today, Governor Tina Kotek announced that the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) has determined that losses during the 2023 crop year due to multiple weather events in nine counties across the state warrant a Secretarial natural disaster designation.

This determination was made in response to a September 2023 request from Governor Kotek that outlined the impacts of the weather events, such as the Oregon cherry harvest. The available harvest data showed a 35% loss due to poor fruit set.

“Oregon farmers faced serious economic losses during last year’s crop season,” Governor Kotek said. “Our agriculture community is invaluable to Oregon, feeding families across the state. This designation is critical to ensure that farmers are able to receive support from the federal government in recuperating those losses.”

Under the first designation, defined as excessive rain that occurred starting on July 7, 2023, Hood River County is listed as a primary county. Clackamas, Multnomah and Wasco counties have been designated as contingent counties.

Under the second designation, defined as drought, excessive heat, and high winds that occurred from July 5-15, 2023, Wasco County is listed as a primary county. Clackamas, Gilliam, Hood River, Jefferson, Marion, Sherman and Wheeler counties have been designated as continent counties. Farmers may be able to apply for loans if they produce crops in any of the primary or contingent counties included in the designation.

A Secretarial disaster designation makes farm operators in primary counties and those counties contiguous to such primary counties eligible to be considered for certain assistance from the Farm Service Agency (FSA), provided eligibility requirements are met. This assistance includes FSA emergency loans.

The USDA issued this Secretarial disaster declaration on February 23, 2024. Farmers in eligible counties have eight months from the date of a Secretarial disaster declaration to apply for emergency loans. FSA considers each emergency loan application on its own merits, taking into account the extent of production losses on the farm and the security and repayment ability of the operator. Local FSA offices can provide affected farmers with further information.

Oregon lawmakers could have up to $1.7 billion may be available for housing, addiction

Oregon lawmakers will have hundreds of millions of dollars to spend over the next year after another positive economic forecast released recently.

Lawmakers were eagerly anticipating the forecast, which came three days into the 35-day legislative session, as they fine-tune plans to spur housing production, boost homeless shelters and expand addiction treatment.

The forecast projects an ending balance of $1.66 billion in June 2025 based on current figures, or $1.34 billion assuming a transfer to the state’s rainy day fund. Sen. Elizabeth Steiner, the Portland Democrat who co-chairs the budget-writing Joint Ways and Means Committee, told the Capital Chronicle via text Wednesday that she was still parsing the numbers to determine just how much lawmakers can afford to spend in the current legislative session.

There are plenty of demands for that money. Gov. Tina Kotek is seeking $500 million to spur housing production and help the state meet her goal of building 36,000 homes annually, nearly double the number it’s built in recent years. Her plan will have its first public hearing on Thursday. She also wants another $100 million for homelessness, including $65 million to keep existing shelters operating and $35 million for rent assistance.

“It’s harder than ever for Oregonians to afford to live here, which is why we must take bold action on affordable housing,” Kotek said in a statement following the revenue forecast. “I look forward to working with legislators this session to make progress for Oregonians.”

Steiner said Monday lawmakers need to come up with a minimum of $78 million for a low-income child care program that instituted a waitlist last fall, while advocates say the true cost may be as high as $221 million.

Lawmakers working on expanding addiction treatment services haven’t yet shared how much they hope to spend, but growing those services will easily reach tens of millions of dollars, if not more. Just one aspect of the multifaceted plan, expanding transitional housing for people in recovery, carries a tentative price tag of $30 million.

Legislative leaders responded to the forecast with bipartisan cries for using the available money to spur housing and address addiction, though Republicans raised alarms about stagnant population growth. Oregon’s finances are stable now, but the state’s economy relies on new workers moving to Oregon as older workers retire.

“Republicans and Democrats are united in our commitment to increase housing supply and homelessness supports, helping families and individuals struggling with addiction and investing in Oregon’s future,” House Speaker Dan Rayfield, D-Corvallis, said in a statement. “This stable forecast coupled with a decade of good budgeting gives us the certainty and resources we need to invest in the priorities Oregonians care about most.” (SOURCE)

Oregon State Parks recruiting about 250 seasonal park rangers and assistants for 2024

Ranger at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area
Ranger at Sitka Sedge State Natural Area

SALEM, Oregon— Oregon State Parks is not just a beautiful place to visit – it’s also a spectacular place to work. 

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is recruiting 250 seasonal park rangers and assistants for positions across the state that range anywhere from four to nine months. The peak season is from April to September, but some of the positions start as early as March and run as late as December. 

Seasonal staff help visitors access world-class experiences and ensure clean and safe park areas for everyone to enjoy. Duties include janitorial work, landscape maintenance, visitor education and visitor services.

Salaries start at $17.34 per hour for seasonal assistants and $20.06 for seasonal rangers. Both positions include comprehensive medical, vision and dental plans for employees and qualified family members. The positions also include paid sick leave, vacation, personal leave and 11 paid holidays per year. Student workers, ages 16 and older, start at $17.32 or more per hour depending on experience (no benefits). 

OPRD promotes from within and several of our top leaders started as seasonal employees. 

“We love what we do at Oregon Parks and Recreation Department,” said Director Lisa Sumption. “We get to preserve and share some of Oregon’s most treasured landscapes and resources. Whether you’re here for a season or your entire career, you’re part of that OPRD family.”

For more information about current openings, visit stateparks.oregon.gov. If you have any questions or need additional assistance in accessibility or alternative formats, please email Oregon Parks and Recreation Department Recruiting D.Recruiting@oprd.oregon.gov“>OPRD.Recruiting@oprd.oregon.gov.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is an equal opportunity, affirmative action employer, committed to diversity and pay equity.

 

Oregon Blue Book Cover Photo Contest Underway

The front cover of the 2023-2024 Oregon Blue Book showcases a hillside covered in beautiful balsam root and lupine flowers at Rowena Crest, captured by Oregon photographer Micah Lundsted of Eugene. The book’s back cover shows an image of three rockfish made at the Oregon Coast Aquarium by Dale George of Grants Pass.

A hillside covered in flowers of purple and yellow. In the sky is a scattering of clouds reflecting sunlight in blue and purple.

Which images will cover the 2025-2026 Oregon Blue Book? The Oregon Blue Book cover photo contest kicks off today, giving amateur photographers the chance to submit their photos to answer that question. Photo contest winners will be selected in October 2024 by Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade.

“Choosing the cover photos for the Oregon Blue Book is an honor,” said Secretary Griffin-Valade. “The images are a chance to see our beautiful state through the lens of the many talented amateur photographers who live in Oregon.”

The contest is open to Oregon residents of any age who earn less than half their income from photography. Images must be Oregon related and should be submitted in the portrait, rather than landscape, orientation. Two images will be selected for the cover: one for the front and one for the back. Visit the Oregon Blue Book Photo Contest guidelines for more information: https://sos.oregon.gov/blue-book/Pages/about-conte…

Images can be submitted through the Oregon Blue Book website portal or via U.S. mail. The deadline to submit photos for consideration is October 27, 2024. Contact the Oregon Blue Book Managing Editor at Oregon.Bluebook@sos.oregon.gov with questions or for additional information.

DETAILS

What: 2025-2026 Oregon Blue Book Cover Photo Contest
Who: Amateur photographers who live in Oregon
When: February 7, 2024-October 27, 2024
Where: Submit online or through U.S. Mail
Why: Photo on the cover of the 2025-2026 Oregon Blue Book

ODFW Announces Stamp Art Competitions

The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife is making a call to area artists to compete in one, or all three, of ODFW’s 2025 stamp art competitions.

The winning artist in each contest receives a $2,000 award and their winning artwork is used to produce collector’s stamps and other promotional items, sales of which benefit Oregon’s fish, wildlife, and their habitats.

For more information on contest rules and to order stamps and art prints, visit: https://www.dfw.state.or.us/stamp_contest/index.asp.

Entries will be accepted beginning Aug. 30 through Sept. 27 by 5 p.m., at the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife headquarters, 4034 Fairview Industrial Dr., SE, Salem, OR 97302.

Entries can be mailed or hand delivered. If you hand-deliver your entry, call ahead to make arrangements at 503-947-6314.

Here’s a look at the three categories:

Habitat Conservation Stamp

Art entries must feature a “Strategy Species” identified in the Oregon Conservation Strategy in its appropriate habitat. Not all species in the strategy are eligible, so use the qualifying list of species.

See contest rules and entry form for more information and a list of eligible species at

https://www.dfw.state.or.us/conservationstrategy/habitat_conservation_stamp.asp.

Waterfowl Stamp Contest

Art entries must feature one of the following species in its natural habitat setting: Ring-necked Duck, White-winged Scoter, or Barrow’s Goldeneye.

See contest rules and entry form for more information at

https://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/waterfowl/contest/index.asp.

Upland Game Bird Stamp Contest

Art entries must feature California Quail in its natural habitat setting.

See contest rules and entry form for more information at https://www.dfw.state.or.us/resources/hunting/upland_bird/contest/index.asp

Artists should not the highlighted new for 2025 information in the contest rules and the final page for packaging tips.

A panel will judge artwork based on artistic composition, anatomical accuracy of the species and general appeal.

Collector’s stamps, art prints and other promotional materials are produced from first-place artwork. Proceeds from product sales are used for habitat improvement, research surveys and conservation projects.

Interested artists are encouraged to visit ODFW’s stamp art competition website for more information on the contests and to view entries from previous years. https://www.dfw.state.or.us/stamp_contest/index.asp

 

 

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