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Klamath Falls
April 24, 2024

Klamath Basin News, Monday 3/11 – Klamath County Commissioner Dave Henslee Running For State Senate & 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 11, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

May be an image of map, cloud and text that says 'TODAY MON 03/11 78% Precip. Mainly cloudy with mixture of snow showers developing during the afternoon. High 43F. Winds SSW 15 mph. Chance ain 80% TOMORROW TUE 03/12 HIGH4 24 TONIGHT MON 03/11 LOW34°F 75% Precip. 0in Snow this evening give to lingering showers Low Winds SSW 10 mph. Chance of snow 80%- 3/11 34°F Tue 3/12 Wed 3/13 49% Precip. Snow early transition showers later. High Winds wรW 20 mph. Chance of ain 50%. Thu 3/15 Sat 62° Rain/Snow Showers Rain Partly Cloudy 37°F Sunny 39°F 3/19 38°F Sunny 3/20 60° 34°F Sunny Sunny Sunny Mostly Mostly Sunny'

See Road Camera Views around the Klamath Basin:

Today’s Headlines

Klamath County Commissioner Dave Henslee Running For State Senate

Dave Henslee wasn’t seeking reelection this year for Klamath County Commissioner. He’s seeking a position in the State Senate.Commissioner Henslee Will Be Available on his Cell Next Year | MyBasin -  Basin Mediactive LLC

The former Klamath Falls Police Chief announced Tuesday that he’s running for Senate District 28 seat as a Republican.

It’s currently held by Republican Dennis Linthicum, but he can’t see reelection because he had too many unexcused absences at last year’s session.  Linthicum’s wife Diane, and  Kenneth DeCrans are also competing for the seat as Republicans.

Klamath Falls Woman Dies After Crashing Into Semi Truck On Hwy 140

A Klamath Falls resident died in a two vehicle crash on Highway 140 in Jackson County Wednesday evening.

According to Oregon State Police, Trinity Sanchez, 24, was driving eastbound on Highway 140 around 5:15 p.m. Sanchez crossed over a double yellow line into a no-passing zone to try and get around a semi truck and trailer attempting to turn left onto Brownsboro Road.

OSP says Sanchez struck the back of the semi while trying to pass. Sanchez was declared dead at the scene though the other driver was not injured.  The highway was impacted for around five hours during the on-scene investigation.

The 2024 Benefit for the Basin Scholarship is Now Open

Two scholarships of $ 750 will be awarded to each High School in the Klamath Basin.

Applicant must be a Graduating high school senior or the equivalent in June 2024 and live within the Klamath Basin.

The application deadline is April 26. 

Benefit for the Basin “My Community” Scholarship Application
Applicant must meet the following criteria:
1. Graduating high school senior or the equivalent in June 2024 within the Klamath Basin.
2. Complete and submit Application – Please print clearly.
3. Submit a five-hundred word essay on the topic: “How I Contribute to My Community”.
Definition of “My Community” can be: Family, School, Church, Town or County.
4. Deadline for Submitting Application with Essay: April 26, 2024.

Submit application and essay by the deadline: April 26, 2024 by one of the following methods:
1. Email: benefitklamathbasinkids@gmail.com
2. Mail: BFTB, 6510 S. 6th St #130, Klamath Falls, OR 97603 (Postmarked by 4/26/2024)
*Applications and essays that do not meet ALL above criteria will NOT be eligible*
http://www.benefitforthebasin.com

BFTB Outdoor.jpg

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.”

 

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.

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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.
 

 

May be an image of car and text

Getting a head start on our Annual “Keno Community Classic Car Show”. Start getting your cars ready! No excuses this time.  June 8th from 8AM – 2PM. Any questions email Nan Pitzer nan@kenotractors.com
 

 

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 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 prehistoric age is going futuristic for an upcoming show at the Ross
Ragland Theater.

Lightwire Theater is presenting DINO-LIGHT. It’s a glow-in-the-dark story of
adventure, self-discovery, and of course dinosaurs. The show itself
combines dance and puppetry as well as some cool light displays.
Artistic director for Lightwire Theater, Ian Carney, said, “The technology is
called electroluminescent wire or EL wire or L wire for short. It is a
phosphorus-based wire, so a copper wire with phosphorus sprayed on it
and a gel coating, PVC coating basically around it. That’s what gives us its
different colors.”
Lightwire Theater will be in Klamath Falls on April 4 and the show starts at
6:00pm. It is only in town for one day so make sure to buy your tickets at
the Ross Ragland Theater website.

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!

 

 

Legislative Session 2024: Governor Kotek Issues Statement on Housing and Homelessness, Education, Campaign Finance Reform, and House Bill 4002

Last Thursday, after Oregon lawmakers concluded the 2024 legislative session, marking continued progress on critical issues facing Oregonians, including housing and homelessness, education, and more, Governor Tina Kotek issued the following statement:

“I commend lawmakers for a productive session with bipartisan successes and a strong focus on the top issues facing Oregonians.

“Oregon will now have more tools to meet the urgent demand for all types of housing, in all parts of the state. Senate Bill 1537 will help stabilize housing costs by increasing housing production through cutting red tape in permitting processes, establishing some of the strongest affordability standards for new construction in the country, and other critical reforms. Combined with investments in Senate Bill 1530, I look forward to ensuring that every dollar advances housing production.

“Our students will have more educational supports this summer to offset the learning loss between school years, and we are on track to make budget information that the State already collects from school districts more accessible and easier to understand.

“This session also marks the historical passage of campaign finance reform with strong bipartisan support. I applaud all those who came to the table to find compromise and deliver a policy that will strengthen transparency and confidence in Oregon’s elections. I want to thank legislative leadership for their commitment and urgency in getting it done this session.

“Finally, reforms to Measure 110 will start to take shape, as I intend to sign House Bill 4002 and the related prevention and treatment investments within the next 30 days. As Governor, my focus is on implementation. My office will work closely with each implementing authority to set expectations, specifically in response to the Criminal Justice Center’s Racial Equity Impact Statement, which projected disproportionate impacts to communities of color and the accompanying concerns raised by advocates. House Bill 4002 will require persistent action and commitment from state and local government to uphold the intent that the legislature put forward: to balance treatment for individuals struggling with addiction and accountability.”

Governor Kotek to Sign Bill Criminalizing Possession Of Small Amounts Of Illicit Drugs

Oregon Gov. Tina Kotek will sign a bill that will make it a crime to be caught with small amounts of illicit drugs again, according to a statement released by the governor’s office Thursday. House Bill 4002 will reverse Measure 110 , which has received mixed feedback since it was approved by voters in 2020.

In a statement, Kotek gave a round-up of all the bills she would be signing as the legislative session closes, including on measures focused on housing and homelessness, education, campaign finance reform and HB 4002. She said she intends to ensure “reforms to Measure 110 will start to take shape” by signing the bill.

“I intend to sign House Bill 4002 and the related prevention and treatment investments within the next 30 days. As Governor, my focus is on implementation. My office will work closely with each implementing authority to set expectations, specifically in response to the Criminal Justice Center’s Racial Equity Impact Statement, which projected disproportionate impacts to communities of color and the accompanying concerns raised by advocates. House Bill 4002 will require persistent action and commitment from state and local government to uphold the intent that the legislature put forward: to balance treatment for individuals struggling with addiction and accountability.” (SOURCE)

Oregon selected by Doris Duke Foundation for grant funding work to improve safety outcomes for children

When: Monday, March 11 at 1 p.m. PST

What: Media availability and press event for Doris Duke Foundation ODHS grant announcement

Who: Fariborz Pakseresht, Oregon Department of Human Services Director; JooYeun Chang, Doris Duke Foundation Program Director for Child Well-being; and Trisha Ettestad, Parent Mentor, Morrison Child and Family Services, Oregon

Why: Opt-in for Families, a three-year, $30 million initiative, aims to change how child welfare agencies engage with families. In addition to Oregon, Opt-in for Families will pilot in Kentucky, South Carolina, and Washington, D.C. Opt-in for Families seeks to demonstrate that connecting families contacted by the child welfare system to direct support for basic needs and coordinated support services is a cost-effective, scalable way to prevent abuse and neglect and keep families together. The initiative is specifically focused on reaching families who currently fall between the cracks, such as those who get referred to Child Protective Services but did not warrant further investigation of neglect or abuse.

Register here: https://www.zoomgov.com/webinar/register/WN_iMNwuvMKRqq6BPSrPY12Lw  

For interviews and video footage on ODHS programs related to the grant please contact: Lindsay Magnuson, lindsay.magnuson@odhs.oregon.gov  

### About the Doris Duke Foundation — The mission of the Doris Duke Foundation (DDF) is to build a more creative, equitable and sustainable future by investing in artists and the performing arts, environmental conservation, medical research, child well-being and greater mutual understanding among diverse communities. To learn more, visit www.dorisduke.org.

About the Oregon Department of Human Services — The mission of ODHS is to help Oregonians in their own communities achieve well-being and independence through op

Katie Lineburg from St. Stephen’s Academy named Oregon’s 2024 Poetry Out Loud champion; Brooklyn Carr Heuer of West Linn High School named runner up

Salem, Oregon –Katie Lineburg, a senior from Hillsboro who attends St. Stephen’s Academy, is Oregon’s 2024 Poetry Out Loud champion. Lineburg received the top score at Saturday’s Poetry Out Loud State Contest, held at Salem Public Library. She will now represent Oregon at the national Poetry Out Loud competition, to be held April 30 through May 2 in Washington D.C.

Winners with Oregon First Lady Aimee Kotek Wilson, who attend the State Contest. Photo by Peter Murphy.

Brooklyn Carr Heuer, a sophomore at West Linn High School, was named runner up. She would be invited to represent Oregon in the national competition should Lineburg be unable to attend. 

Lineburg performed “The Pulley” by George Herbert and “Beginning” by James Wright. She is the oldest of five siblings who loves music and spending time with friends and family. She is a member of the St. Stephen’s Academy Festival Choir and loves poetry because “it allows her to connect with people and express emotions in a deeper way.” She has also loved public speaking since a very young age.

“I am so thankful to my teachers, family and friends for supporting me along the way and I can’t wait to share more goodness, truth and beauty with the world,” said Lineburg.

Carr Heuer enjoys being involved in speech and debate/mock trial. When she is not in school or doing extracurricular activities, she loves reading and being outside.

“This contest gives young people in our state an opportunity to experience how the words of poets can help transform how they interpret the world, unleash their imaginations and hopefully inspire them to one day write their own poems,” said Dr. S. Renee Mitchell, who served as one of the State Contest judges. “When I was their age, I was intensely shy, and I didn’t have the confidence to do what they did today. So in my mind the bravery, confidence and talent of every one of these young performers are to be celebrated and they should be encouraged to continue their journeys. 

“The winner, Katie, exuded a confidence beyond her years,” added Mitchell. “As soon as she stepped on stage, her presence was magnetic. She had just the right mix of interpretation and emotional expression that made you want to lean in and pay attention. She didn’t just interpret the poets’ words; she embodied them with a skill beyond her years of creative expression.”

The other 10 students who competed Saturday, after winning their school competitions and advancing from regionals, are: Cara Chen, Lakeridge High School (Lake Oswego); Maria Daniels, St. Stephen’s Academy (Beaverton); Tali Greenfield, Lakeridge High School (Lake Oswego); Traiton Kramer, Oregon School for the Deaf (Salem); Arianna Morris, Redmond High School; Brayden Olsen, Oregon School for the Deaf (Salem); Kaydence Pope, South Medford High School; Misha Rana, West Linn High School; Mariah Reynolds, Redmond High School; and Bena Rodecap, Grant High School (Portland).

Poetry Out Loud is a national recitation contest for high school students, organized in Oregon by the Oregon Arts Commission in collaboration with the NEA and the Poetry Foundation. Participants memorize and present poems, practicing public speaking skills while exploring the complexity of poetry.

Editor’s note: Video to be available on request after 8 p.m.

The Oregon Arts Commission provides leadership, funding and arts programs through its grants, special initiatives and services. Nine commissioners, appointed by the Governor, determine arts needs and establish policies for public support of the arts. The Arts Commission became part of Business Oregon (formerly Oregon Economic and Community Development Department) in 1993, in recognition of the expanding role the arts play in the broader social, economic and educational arenas of Oregon communities. In 2003, the Oregon legislature moved the operations of the Oregon Cultural Trust to the Arts Commission, streamlining operations and making use of the Commission’s expertise in grantmaking, arts and cultural information and community cultural development. 

The Arts Commission is supported with general funds appropriated by the Oregon legislature and with federal funds from the National Endowment for the Arts as well as funds from the Oregon Cultural Trust. More information about the Oregon Arts Commission is available online at:  www.oregonartscommission.org.

Final piece of $376 million Oregon housing package clears Legislature

A bill that would help small cities build at least 585 homes is headed to Gov. Tina Kotek.  

House Bill 4134, spearheaded by Rep. Lucetta Elmer, R-McMinnville, is the final component of a $376 million housing package the Legislature approved this year. It provides $7 million in grants to Burns, McMinnville, Amity and Toledo for infrastructure projects to help the small cities add homes. The bill passed the House on a 54-2 vote earlier this week and passed the Senate on a 28-0 vote on Thursday.

Elmer told the Capital Chronicle the proposal began with conversations with city officials in McMinnville last spring. McMinnville approved a subdivision with 290 lots in 2007, but the land has sat vacant for years because the homes can’t be built without water infrastructure that will cost an estimated $2 million. 

“I’m fiscally conservative when it comes to our tax dollars, but I like the idea of taking one-time taxpayer money for infrastructure, but then tying it to private money,” Elmer said. 

In McMinnville, a developer was ready to start building homes as soon as the infrastructure was in place. Elmer didn’t want to limit her request to just McMinnville, so she looked for other cities with a population of 50,000 or less that had housing projects that could move forward quickly with infrastructure investments.

She started with 11 cities, but the list was narrowed to four as the bill moved through the Legislature. Elmer said she plans to introduce a similar bill next year to help more cities. The proposal would require developers to commit to ensuring that at least 30% of homes are affordable to people making 130% or less of the area median income. 

McMinnville would receive $2 million for water pipes and pumps through the proposal. Burns would get $3 million for water, sewer and stormwater site improvements for the planned 161-home Miller Springs subdivision. Amity would get $1.5 million for stormwater infrastructure and road improvements to allow for construction of 35 new affordable homes. And $640,000 for water, sewer, infrastructure and road improvements in Toledo would support a new apartment complex. 

The overall housing package includes Senate Bill 1530 and Senate Bill 1537 and includes $376 million for infrastructure funding, homebuilding, homeless shelters and rent assistance, along with changes to state land use laws to make it easier for cities to build homes. (SOURCE)

Oregon Launches New Online System for 
Unemployment Insurance Benefits

Frances Online will provide better online customer service for people filing 
unemployment insurance claims

MARCH 6, 2024 (SALEM, ORE.) – The Oregon Employment Department (OED) launched a brand new, easy-to-use online system for Unemployment Insurance (UI) benefits this week. UI benefits went live through Frances Online on Mon., March 4. 

“Frances Online is modernizing customer service for Oregonians filing for Unemployment Insurance benefits,” Governor Kotek said. “This is a step in the right direction for the State of Oregon. While there may be bumps in the road as we adjust to the new system, the Employment Department is ready to respond to issues quickly and make necessary adjustments.”  

Preliminary data for Monday and Tuesday shows that:

  • More than 23,000 weekly claims have been received from existing customers
  • More than $8.1 million dollars in claims have been paid through Frances Online
  • The average time for customers filing weekly claims was just under 11 minutes on desktop computers and under 9 minutes on mobile devices.

“The new system is mobile-friendly and will help streamline our work on UI claims so customers can get their benefits paid more efficiently,” said David Gerstenfeld, director of OED. “We are proud to be delivering on our promise to modernize our technology systems. We believe it will address a lot of the pain points customers and OED employees have previously experienced.” 

What Current Claimants Need to Know

Current claimants need to take two important actions to use the new system:

  1. Create a Frances Online account at frances.oregon.gov. If they have an active claim or applied for benefits in our old legacy systems but their claim is still being reviewed, information about their claim will appear in their new Frances Online account. If they have an account in Frances Online because they claimed benefits from Paid Leave Oregon, they do not need to set up a new account.  
  2. File their weekly claim at frances.oregon.gov/claimant. Claimants can now file for the week of February 25-March 2. If they did not file a weekly claim for the week of February 18-24 and they are seeking benefits for that week, they can still claim that week using Frances Online. They will be able to file all future weekly claims using Frances Online going forward. 

Customer Service Tips 

The agency anticipates high call volumes at the UI Contact Center. Current claimants are encouraged to use self-serve features available through Frances Online. Other tips:

  • Check U.S. mail and email daily and respond quickly to requests for information. Also check email spam filters. Some information will still have to come by U.S. mail, even if claimants select to get email alerts. Letters and emails may have due dates for responding. If claimants miss due dates, their benefits could be delayed or denied. Uploading documents is easier in the new system. 
  • Check online before calling the UI Contact Center. Many questions can now be resolved quickly through the new self-serve features in Frances Online. 
  • Review and continue to follow UI eligibility rules. This will help avoid a disruption in receiving benefits. 
  • Check out tutorials and how-to guides on navigating Frances Online at unemployment.oregon.gov/frances.
  • Know where you can get help. Customer service is available at Frances Online () via secure messaging, live chat, chatbot and the Contact Us form. 

The agency says there will be a learning curve for employees and claimants for the next few months. OED has hired 40 additional staff with one-time funding to support the transition.

“Frances Online is more agile and efficient,” said Lindsi Leahy, director of the UI Division at OED. “We expect that the system will work well for most and that a small number of claimants will experience issues. We will continue providing a more staff-intensive level of customer service for those who need it.” 

Like other states that have launched new UI systems, the state may see an uptick in fraudulent claims. Leahy stressed that the new system is more resilient and has enhanced fraud protection features that will better protect UI benefits. Leahy also reminded consumers that Frances Online is free to use, and OED will never call a customer to ask for customers to pay to use any of OED’s services. If customers get a suspicious piece of mail, call or text, or see a questionable website or link, they should visit OED’s webpage on fraud for more information and a link to reporting fraud. 

The addition of UI benefits to Frances Online is the final stage of the state’s approximately $106 million effort to modernize its online customer service systems. Paid Leave Oregon launched in Frances Online in 2023 and employer contributions for UI and Paid Leave launched in 2022.

The name Frances was chosen in honor of Frances Perkins, who was born in 1880 and was a lifetime advocate for working Americans. She was the first female presidential Cabinet member and the longest-serving Secretary of Labor in U.S. history. Perkins was instrumental in forming the Social Security Act and the Unemployment Insurance program. 

Go to unemployment.oregon.gov/frances for more information and resources about Frances Online for UI benefits

Which of Oregon’s free tax filing options fits you best?

Salem, OR—Filing electronically is the fastest way for taxpayers to get their refund. On average, taxpayers who e-file their returns and request their refund via direct deposit receive their refund two weeks sooner than those who file paper returns and request paper refund checks.

With Oregon returning a $5.61 billion kicker to taxpayers in 2024 everyone wants to get their refund as soon as they can this year, but not everyone can afford commercially available software. Fortunately, all Oregon resident taxpayers preparing their own returns in 2024 can file electronically at no cost using one of the free file options that can be found on the Department of Revenue website.

A variety of choices are available, and taxpayers can use the information below to help them pick the one that best fits their needs.

Free electronic filing options
Free guided tax preparation is available from four companies that participate in the Free File Alliance for taxpayers that meet income requirements. Using links from the department’s Get free help filing your taxes page ensures that both taxpayers’ federal and state return will be filed for free.

These free services work much like the popular pay to file programs.

This option is best for taxpayers that have income less than $79,000 and need to file both their federal and Oregon returns. Each company has different requirements for who qualifies for free filing and offers must be accessed from the department’s Get free help filing your taxes page.

Direct File Oregon
New this year, the department is also offering Direct File Oregon, which allows taxpayers to file their Form OR-40 through Revenue Online. Direct File Oregon is not currently linked with the IRS Direct File. Taxpayers will need to file a separate federal return with the IRS before filing an Oregon return with Direct File Oregon through Revenue Online.

Direct File Oregon is suited for taxpayers who don’t meet the income requirements of other free file options and want a more guided experience for filing their Oregon tax return electronically. Creating a Revenue Online account and logging in to file provides the best experience.

A how to use Direct File Oregon video is available to help taxpayers understand the process.

Free fillable forms
Oregon Free Fillable Forms performs basic calculations and is ideal for taxpayers who don’t need help preparing their returns and want the convenience of filing electronically. The IRS offers a similar option for filing federal taxes electronically.

Free Fillable forms is suited for taxpayers who don’t meet the income requirements of other free options, already have their forms filled out, are sure of their calculations, and just want to e-file for free!

The department offers special computer kiosks in three of its regional offices where taxpayers who don’t have access to computers can file their return using the free fillable forms and Direct File Oregon e-file options. The kiosks are available in the DOR regional offices in:
• Bend, 951 SW Simpson Ave, Suite 100.
• Eugene, 1600 Valley River Drive, Suite 310.
• Medford, 3613 Aviation Way, Suite 102.
Free help filing Oregon tax returns
Taxpayers that don’t have a computer or need one-on-one help also have options for electronic filing. AARP Tax-Aide, the IRS Volunteer Income Tax Assistance (VITA) and Tax Counseling for the Elderly (TCE) programs, MFS-CASH Oregon, and the United Way’s MyFreeTaxes offer in person and drop off services for tax preparation by trained volunteers.

Many of these programs require an appointment and slots fill up quickly. Information about these services and an interactive map to find a location near you are available on the agency’s website.

In 2024 Oregon is returning $5.61 billion in surplus revenue to taxpayers in the form of a “kicker” tax credit. Taxpayers will receive their kicker as part of their refund, or the kicker can reduce the tax they owe. Each taxpayer’s kicker credit is based on their tax liability for the 2022 tax year. To determine the amount of their kicker, taxpayers are encouraged to use the What’s my kicker? calculator on Revenue Online.

Most refunds are issued within two weeks, but returns that need more review may take up to 16 weeks before a refund is issued. Taxpayers can check the status of their refund by using the department’s Where’s My Refund? tool on Revenue Online. A video outlining the refund process and timelines is also available to help taxpayers understand the process.

You can also call 800-356-4222 toll-free from an Oregon prefix (English or Spanish) or 503-378-4988 in Salem and outside Oregon. For TTY (hearing or speech impaired), we accept all relay calls.

State Funding of $2.5 million+ is a “Big Win” for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival

ASHLAND, Ore. — “This is a big win for us” is how the delighted interim executive director, Tyler Hokama, described the $2.5 million+ funding for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) approved by the State Legislature last Thursday. Oregon Governor Tina Kotek must now approve the $2,555,175 funding.

The large financial contribution was approved by the state after Hokama and other OSF supporters testified in a House Committee hearing. They pointed out reasons why financial assistance was so important to the cultural organization. Hokama’s appeal was supported at the hearing by Ashland Mayor Tonya Graham and a representative from the Southern Oregon University. The House Committee heard about the significant role played by the OSF in the economy of Southern Oregon.

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival, recognized as a non-profit world-class theater, can now begin the 2024 season on a high note after its appeal for funding was granted by the State Legislature.

Tyler Hokama says apart from the current season, the funding will be used to plan for the OSF’s 90th anniversary that it will celebrate in 2025.

The funding is the largest awarded by the state. The OSF was one of seven main venues seeking financial assistance. The second largest award of $949,375 was to the Oregon Symphony.

On Monday, 19 March, the OSF will preview plays to be staged during the 2024 season that will open on 29 March.

Hokama says the OSF’s funding appeal was supported by community organizations such as the Ashland Chamber of Commerce and the Southern Oregon Regional Economic Development Inc. Hokama conceded that while the OSF is about art and enriching the lives of Oregonians, it plays an important role in the local economy.  

Hokama states that the OSF was “in a crisis” when he came out of retirement to take control as the interim executive director.

Former executive director David Schmitz, together with a number of other staff members, left in January 2023 when the OSF found itself in a financial crisis.

Hokama says with the new funding, the OSF can look ahead to its future with optimism and fill vacant positions such as a permanent executive director.

Hokama has confirmed that he will continue in his leadership role until such time as a successor is found. Hokama says he will make himself available to his successor to ensure the takeover transition period runs smoothly. The OSF is now in a sound financial position and Hokama plans to help his successor keep the organization on a healthy footing.

The interim executive director says no deadline has been set to appoint a successor because “it is less about a timeline and more about the right person.” Hokama says the search committee and the board are focusing attention on finding and appointing the right person for the job. The OSF would rather wait a while longer than making a rushed decision.  (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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For information or prices on plans, simply call us today at 541-363-7503 or email us at Info@BasinLife.com.  Let us keep your business top-of -mind!

 

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