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April 24, 2024

Klamath Basin News, Wednesday 3/6 – Crater Lake Concessions Contract Being Transferred to New Company & 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.

Wednesday, March 6, 2024

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Today’s Headlines

Crater Lake Concessions Contract Being Transferred to New Company

Hospitality company ExplorUS intends to take over the concessions contract at Crater Lake National Park, the National Park Service said in a news release today. This comes after controversy with the current concessionaire, Crater Lake Hospitality LLC — a subsidiary of Aramark. 

“ExplorUS says they are optimistic they will be able to transition all current Crater Lake Hospitality employees to their company and provide a full suite of visitor services at Crater Lake National Park this summer,” NPS said in a news release. “ExplorUS says they intend to honor all reservations and deposits for future stays and services.”

The transfer is not official yet, the release said, since NPS has not officially approved it.

“NPS prior written approval is required before Crater Lake Hospitality may assign or otherwise transfer its concession contract to ExplorUS. This process will take a few weeks, so we do not have any details to share at this time,” the release said. “Director Chuck Sams has been committed to ensuring no lapse in visitor services, and appreciates the efforts of all involved in working toward this.”

—– Crater Lake Is One of The Most Instagram Tagged Lakes In The Country

Oregon’s Crater Lake is one of the most photogenic lakes in the United States. Crater Lake was ranked No. 9 in the country on the list on the most-Instragrammed U.S. lakes, put out by a website called FishinAquarium.com.

FishinAquarium.com is at least water-related, unlike the many unrelated rankings we’ve seen recently from lawn care companies and online casinos. Crater Lake has been tagged on Instagram more than 425k times, according to the ranking.

Here’s what the list had to say about Crater Lake:

“Crater Lake is formed from a collapsed volcano. It sits inside Crater Lake National Park and is known for its clear, blue water. No rivers flow into or out of the lake, which is the deepest in the U.S. and one of the most pristine in the world. Famous the world over for its beauty, a visit to the former peak of the volcano that now forms Wizard Island in the center of the lake is something on many people’s bucket lists.”

The No. 1 most Instagrammed lake? Lake Tahoe in California, which was tagged more than 3 million times.

Minnie B. Miller, the “professional aquarist” who runs the website than compiled the ranking said in a news release that “all twenty of these popular lakes are worth visiting.”

Crater Lake National Park, it should be noted, has been in the news recently for other — less light-hearted — reasons as well. The National Park Service is in a serious dispute with hospitality vendor Aramark. The federal government has threatened to end Aramark’s contract over “serious concerns” and systemic issues with that company’s oversight of park concessions and amenities.

Klamath Falls Woman Arraigned For Criminal Mistreatment Charges

 

— A 74-year-old Klamath Falls woman now faces three felony counts of criminal mistreatment of elderly patients.

Klamath County Circuit Court records show Phyllis Adele Dodds was arraigned Tuesday for a January 25, 2024, indictment for first degree criminal mistreatment of three different people, dating to 2022.

The first charge says in January 2022, Dodds assumed care duty for James Miller, yet “violating that assumed and/or legal duty to provide care, did unlawfully and knowingly withhold physical care and/or medical attention from James Miller.”

A Klamath County grand jury indicted Dodds for the charges, saying all three criminal counts involve vulnerable victims. It noted in the first two counts of the indictment that Miller and another patient in the case were 65 years of age or older.

The grand jury’s second count of criminal mistreatment against Dodds says she withheld physical care and/or medical attention from Carol Creswell between April 26, 2023, and August 5, 2023, for whom Dodds had a duty to provide care.

The grand jury’s third count of criminal mistreatment says Dodds from about May 1, 2023, to June 9, 2023, had a legal duty to provide care for Cathy Graham as a dependant person, “and violating that assumed and/or legal duty to Brovide care, did unlawfully and knowingly withhold physical care and/or medical attention from Cathy Graham.”

Oregon State Board of Nursing records show an active Registered Nurse (RN) license issued for Phyllis Adele Dodds.  Originally issued August 20, 1991, it was last issued/renewed April 27, 2023, set for expiration April 27, 2025.

Klamath County and the city of Klamath Falls are accepting grant applications from residents for projects aimed at economic and tourism development in the respective communities.

County tourism grants     

Klamath County’s 2024 tourism grant application cycle is now open and will accept proposals for “tourism-focused businesses” until 5 p.m., March 29.

A county news release said that the Board of County Commissioners are looking for projects that offer unique or special opportunities and are aimed at increasing tourism in the region.

“Projects should identify a target market and offer a specific strategy for reaching this market,” the release said.

Klamath County has established a tourism grant program to provide funding opportunities to eligible applicants for projects that contribute to the development and improvement of communities throughout the county by means of the enhancement, expansion and promotion of the visitor industry.  The grant funding is made possible by the local transient room tax.   

Review Panel – Grant applications are reviewed, and recommendations made, by a seven-member review panel appointed by the Board of Commissioners. The review panel recommends applications and funding levels to the Board of Commissioners who will then make the final decision for awarding funds.

Grant Application: /FormCenter/Finance-20/Klamath-County-Tourism-Grant-Application-91

For more information on the tourism grant program, visit klamathcounty.org/1252/Tourism-Grant-Program.

City economic development grants

Nonprofits in Klamath Falls may apply for the city’s economic development grant program from now until April 1.

These city grants are for local nonprofits with projects that drive business expansion, retention and recruitment.

According to a city news release, grants are also awarded to support small businesses, improve downtown vibrancy and increase housing availability.

The city economic development grants are available in two categories: economic development funding program (requests of $2,500 or more) and community initiative or event sponsorship (requests of less than $2,500).

The maximum grant award is $50,000, but additional funds may be awarded if available for emphasis on special projects.

The finalist applicants will give a 10-minute presentation before city council during a work session held in March.

Funding will be available starting July 1.

For more information, visit klamathfalls.city/486/Grants.

 

Do you have a project idea for Give Back Day?May be an image of 3 people and text that says 'Saturday April 27 Do you have a project idea for Give Back Day? We are hosting a community Give Back day on Saturday April 27th. We would like to identify 10 community projects and are hoping to to get hundreds of community members to volunteer in service projects to improve our community.If you have a community project idea, let us know! OLUITEER FOOD AID CHARIT cUA Medicine SEND US A DM OR COMMENT BELOW'

 
We are hosting a community Give Back day on Saturday April 27th. We would like to identify 10 community projects and are hoping to to get hundreds of community members to volunteer in service projects to improve our community. If you have a community project idea, let us know!
Send us an email (bluezonesproject@healthyklamath.org), direct message or comment below.
 

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.

 

“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.

 

 

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.

 

SThe 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!

 

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

No photo description available.

If you are interested in adopting, 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 Lottery Highlights March as Problem Gambling Awareness Month

March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month.
March is National Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Oregon Lottery is putting a focus on increasing awareness of problem gambling during March – also known as National Problem Gambling Awareness Month

Nationwide, Problem Gambling Awareness Month is a grassroots effort that brings together public health organizations, advocacy groups, and gambling operators, who work collaboratively to let people know options are available to quit or cut down on gambling. All Oregonians have access to free counseling and resources, which can be found on the Oregon Problem Gambling Resource (OPGR) website. In addition, people thinking about taking a break or moderating can find options for changing their relationship with gambling in way that works for them.  

Historically, the number of people seeking assistance increases during March due to focused marketing and outreach efforts around gambling.

“Across Oregon, during Problem Gambling Awareness Month, and throughout the year, the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling (OCPG) is committed to raising public awareness about safer gambling practices and providing resources to get help when someone has a problem,” said Executive Director of OCPG Gina Parziale. 

Over the past few years, stress, isolation, and financial uncertainty may have caused some to turn to gambling. In 2023, 2,765 calls were made to the help line and 200 chats and texts came in for assistance.

“We want Oregonians to know there are a variety of tools and resources available for players who want to make any type of change to their gambling,” said Oregon Lottery’s Senior Manager of Product Marketing Stacy Shaw, who also serves on the OCPG board. “It’s important to support people at all points in their journey – whether they are seeking safer play strategies, looking to cut down, or seeking counselling to stop gambling.”  

Since 1992, one percent of Oregon Lottery profits have funded problem gambling treatment and prevention efforts throughout Oregon. Since that time, over $137 million in Lottery funds has supported those services.

To explore online tools and other resources or to chat with a counselor, go to Oregon Problem Gambling Resource at opgr.org  or call 1-877-MYLIMIT. Professional help is free, confidential, and effective.

About the Oregon Council on Problem Gambling — The Oregon Council on Problem Gambling is the state affiliate to the National Council on Problem Gambling. Its purpose is to promote the health of Oregonians by supporting efforts to minimize gambling related harm. Board members include individuals from the gaming industry, the treatment and prevention field, the recovery community and state and county administrators. 

PacifiCorp Ordered To Pay Oregon Wildfire Victims Another $42M

A jury in Oregon has ordered PacifiCorp to pay more than $42 million to 10 victims of devastating wildfires on Labor Day 2020 — the latest verdict in litigation that is expected to see the electric utility on the hook for billions in damages.

Last June, a jury found PacifiCorp liable for negligently failing to cut power to its 600,000 customers despite warnings from top fire officials. The jury determined it acted negligently and willfully and should have to pay punitive and other damages — a decision that applied to a class including the owners of up to 2,500 properties.

Tuesday’s decision was the third verdict applying last year’s ruling to a specific set of plaintiffs. Last month, a jury awarded $85 million to a different set of nine plaintiffs, and the jury that initially found PacifiCorp liable awarded about $90 million to 17 homeowners named as plaintiffs in that case.

Thousands of other class members are still awaiting trials, though the sides are also expected to engage in mediation that could lead to a settlement.

PacifiCorp, a unit of Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, is appealing. The utility said in an email Tuesday it has settled hundreds of claims relating to the fires and “remains committed to settling all reasonable claims for actual damages under Oregon law.”

“For utilities, there is an ominous risk in making future investments in regions where they become the de facto insurers of last resort in a more frequent extreme weather environment,” the statement said.

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

Among those covered by Tuesday’s award is the Upward Bound Camp for Persons with Special Needs in Gates, Oregon, plaintiffs attorneys said in a news release Tuesday. The camp’s executive director testified that a fire began on its property after a power line fell. It destroyed the only indoor spaces that can accommodate campers, leaving the nonprofit organization unable to hold camps during the winter, spring and fall.

The U.S. government is also threatening to sue PacifiCorp to recover nearly $1 billion in costs related to the 2020 wildfires in southern Oregon and northern California, though the company is trying to negotiate a settlement.

Omaha, Nebraska-based Berkshire Hathaway estimates that its utilities face at least $8 billion in claims across all the wildfire lawsuits already filed in Oregon and California, although the damages could be doubled or even tripled in some of those cases and some of the lawsuits don’t list a dollar amount. (SOURCE)

Near record-breaking levels of visitation at Oregon State Parks in 2023

SALEM, Oregon— Oregon State Parks continued to experience near record-breaking levels of both day use and camping in 2023. 

It was the second busiest year for day-use visits with an estimated at 52.2 million visits, just behind the historic record of 53 million in 2021. It was the fourth busiest camping year with 2.9 million camper nights, which is slightly less than the record high of 3 million in 2021.

Harris Beach State Park was the most visited day-use area in Oregon in 2023
May be a graphic of text that says 'Oregon State Parks attendance *2020 numbers smaller due to COVID shutdown of state parks and most public lands Day visits 54M 52M Camping nights 50M 48M 46M 44M 42M 40M 38M 0000 2003 2004 2005 00 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 2014 2015 2016 2017 2018 2019 2020 2021 2022 2023'

Parks with the largest increases in day-use visits include Beachside State Recreation Site, Ecola State Park, Harris Beach State Recreation Area (most visited in the state), Oswald West State Park, Maud Williamson State Recreation Site, Lewis and Clark State Recreation Site, Clyde Holiday State Recreation Site and Farewell Bend State Recreation Site. 

Camping was slightly down overall due in part to closures at two popular campgrounds, Beverly Beach State Park and Bullards Beach State Park, which were closed starting in the fall for construction projects. The valley and mountain region saw a slight increase in camping, however, with some of the largest increases at Detroit Lake State Park, Milo McIver State Park, Prineville Reservoir State Park and Lake Owyhee State Park. 

Sustained higher visitation underscores the need for rangers and support staff statewide. Last month, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) started its 2024 seasonal recruitment to hire 250 seasonal rangers and ranger assistants with the goal of filling all those roles this year. 

Rangers and support staff work hard to keep the parks clean and safe while providing educational and recreational opportunities. Visitors can also help at their favorite parks by following park rules, leaving no trace and thanking a ranger when they can. They might also consider visiting some of the hidden gems in the park system to find a new favorite place to explore.

Parks with some of the lowest visitation include Catherine Creek State Park, Bates State Park, Jackson F Kimball State Recreation Site, Unity Lake State Park, Cottonwood Canyon State Park, Clay Myers State Natural Area at Whalen Island and Golden and Silver Falls State Natural Area. 

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department continues with its GO Bonds projects totaling $50 million in improvements to aging infrastructure and to protect Oregon’s resources with projects at nine parks. The work will also add visitor facilities and expand camping at several parks including Silver Falls and Champoeg by 2026. The improvements were funded by general obligation bonds approved by the Oregon Legislature in 2021. 

“We are incredibly grateful to our visitors, volunteers, partners and to all those who cherish and support Oregon State Parks. We could not steward these outstanding natural, scenic, cultural, historic and recreational sites without your support,” said OPRD Director Lisa Sumption. 

The overnight camping figure is derived by taking the total number occupied sites and applying a multiplier to estimate the number of camper nights. The day-use figure is derived by taking car counts and applying a multiplier to estimate the number of visits. Car counters sometimes require maintenance and replacement, which can impact individual numbers. The overall results are OPRD’s best estimate for tracking trends over time.

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)

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 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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