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Klamath Falls
April 24, 2024

Klamath Basin News, Wednesday 3/13 – A 2.5 Million-Acre Area of South East Oregon has Been Named the Largest Dark Sky Sanctuary in the World & 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 13, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

Today- Partly cloudy until early afternoon then clearing. Highs in the lower to mid 40s. Northwest winds 5 to 10 mph.

Thursday- Sunny. Highs in the mid 40s to lower 50s. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph.

Friday- Sunny. Highs in the lower to mid 50s. Northeast winds 10 to 15 mph.

Sunday- Sunny. Highs in the lower to mid 60s.

Monday- Mostly clear. Highs in the lower to mid 60s. Lows in the lower to mid 30s.

Tuesday- Sunny. Highs in the mid 50s to mid 60s.

See Road Camera Views around the Klamath Basin:

Today’s Headlines

March is Speed Awareness month and the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office will be conducting high visibility enforcement.

 
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Speeding endangers everyone on the road:
In 2021 there were 12,330 fatalities in speeding-related crashes, 29% of total traffic fatalities for the year and an increase of 8% from 11,428 in 2020, the highest since 2007.
There were an estimated 328,946 people injured (13% of total people injured) in speeding-related traffic crashes in 2021.
35% of male drivers and 21% of female drivers in the 15- to 20-year-old age group involved in fatal traffic crashes in 2021 were speeding, the highest among the age groups.
Let’s make this month about saving lives, not taking risks. (https://www.facebook.com/KlamathSheriff)
 

A 2.5 Million-Acre Area of South East Oregon has Been Named the Largest Dark Sky Sanctuary in the World.

 

The region, which on Monday was officially named the Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary, comprises the southeastern half of Lake County, including Hart MountainLake Abert and Summer Lake. Future plans include expanding the sanctuary to 11.4 million acres across Harney and Malheur counties. 

stars and milky way over a small wooden cabin at night

The designation was given by DarkSky International, an organization dedicated to protecting the nighttime environment and preserving dark skies through environmentally responsible outdoor lighting. The project is the work of the Oregon Dark Sky Network, an ad-hoc group of state, local and federal officials, private individuals, business owners and tourism agencies.

Travel Southern Oregon, which is a member of the network, celebrated the designation in a news release Monday.

“This four-year collaboration brings together so many of the elements we try to achieve in regenerative tourism,” Bob Hackett, executive director of Travel Southern Oregon, said. “It not only elevates the destination experience for visitors to Lake County and opens up opportunities for local businesses, but it also helps agencies and residents steward their lands in ways that celebrate a legacy of starry night skies for generations to come.”

Oregon already has two destinations with official DarkSky International designations: Prineville Reservoir State Park, which in 2021 became a Dark Sky Park, and Sunriver Nature Center & Observatory, which was named a Dark Sky Place in 2020. 

The Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary is now the largest of 19 Dark Sky Sanctuaries, which are spread out across five continents. At 2.5 million acres, the Oregon sanctuary is larger than Minnesota’s 1 million-acre Boundary Waters Canoe Area Wilderness, which was designated as a Dark Sky Sanctuary in 2020.

The expansion of the Oregon Outback International Dark Sky Sanctuary seems inevitable, with only a few local approvals and lighting changes needed to make it happen, DarkSky International said. Most land in the region is either privately property or public lands managed by the Bureau of Land Management. The largest city in the area is Lakeview, home to fewer than 2,500 people.

Stargazers know southern and southeast Oregon as home to some of the best places to watch meteor showers and other astronomical events. Dark, clear skies are ideal for anyone hoping to peer into the cosmos, whether with a telescope or the naked eye.

Amber Harrison, program manager for DarkSky International, said in a news release Monday that the organization is already looking forward to the second phase of the Oregon Outback project, the big expansion, which would be the first landscape-scale sanctuary of its kind. (SOURCE)

May be an image of text that says 'POLICE Klamath Falls Police Department POLICE SERVICE P $71,100 $94,932 OFFICER FALLS ★ KLAMATH KLAMATE OAAOOS KLAMATHFALLS INTEGRITY ★ SERVICE Minimum Requirements: US Citizen Minimum 21 years of age High School Diploma or GED Valid Driver's License Successful applicants must pass a law enforcement test and physical abilities test. Benefits: Apply online www.klamathfalls.city Questions? Contact Sgt Morrie Smith, msmith@klamathfalls.city'

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

 

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.
 

 

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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.

George

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!

 

 

Nationwide Cyberattack Keeping Some Oregon Healthcare Workers From Being Paid

A national cyberattack targeting the healthcare industry is impacting medical staff in Oregon. For almost a month, providers haven’t been able to collect insurance payments through a third-party, Change Healthcare. 

The company pays out claims to doctors’ offices and other service providers. Those claims make up a large portion of payments for many providers.

“Some businesses have to shut down temporarily in order to sort of save their business, basically,” said Athena Phillips, the founder of Integrative Trauma Treatment Center.

Change Healthcare works with some of the biggest healthcare companies in the Portland metro area, such as Providence and Kaiser Permanente, a medical worker said. 

Since many clinics or treatment centers are not receiving insurance payments, some medical workers may not be getting paid. Workers at other centers told KGW that they are relying on savings in order to pay staff until the problem is fixed.

“It’s really scary,” Phillips said. “We basically cannot even submit our claims.” Since Feb. 21, Phillips, like many medical workers around the country, haven’t received payments from Change Healthcare. Instead, she’s been forced to pay her staff through company savings.

“This is not something I could have foreseen,” Phillips said. “And I suspect there’s going to be ripple effects that we can’t anticipate.”

Others are facing similar issues.

“About 60% of our clients that we see every week are Medicaid funded,” Megan Geary, the CEO of Cascade Counseling and Consulting, said.

Between 60% to 75% of patient payments are affected by the cyberattack. Geary is also turning to company savings to pay staff.

“We’ve also had to apply for a business line of credit so that we can make payroll,” Geary said.

Along with Providence and Kaiser Permanente, Change Healthcare provides service for Care Oregon and the Oregon Health Plan, Geary said.

“Those are some big names,” she added.

Pharmacies are also dealing with repercussions of the cyberattack. KGW spoke with a pharmacist who didn’t want to go on camera, but said they were temporarily unable to search for prescription insurance claims. The pharmacy also was unable to utilize copay cards, which drug manufacturers use to provide discounts on medication. Those problems have since been resolved.

In a press release, UnitedHealth Group, which owns Change Healthcare, said it is working to mitigate impact to consumers and care providers. They expect to re-establish connection to its insurance claims network by Monday. 

Still, some aren’t convinced the problem will be fixed quickly. “I’m not holding my breath,” Geary said. “It’s not proper for one company to have that much power,” Phillips added. (SOURCE)

OFSM launches incentive program for defensible space projects

SALEM, Ore. – To help those living in communities more likely to be impacted by a wildfire, the Oregon State Fire Marshal (OSFM) is launching an incentive program to help Oregonians pay for defensible space projects. Defensible space is one of the most effective ways to better protect a home during a wildfire. The OSFM understands that money may be a barrier for some to do these projects.

As part of the program, those who meet eligibility requirements will receive a $250 one-time payment. Homeowners, renters, and property owners must live in select areas of the state and request and receive a free defensible space assessment.

The free assessments are given by a local fire service agency member or an OSFM representative. An expert will walk the participants’ property with them and provide valuable one-on-one time to discuss how to build and increase their fire resiliency. 

After the assessment, those who qualify will receive the payment in the mail for their participation. This incentive is designed to encourage people to implement the recommendations received during their assessment.

For a list of eligible communities, please read the program guidelines here. These communities were chosen based on their vulnerability to wildfire to get money to those who need it the most.

The OSFM’s defensible space program is a crucial step toward building more resilient communities in the face of increasing wildfire risks. By empowering Oregonians to take proactive measures, we will reduce the impact of wildfires on lives, property, and the environment.

For more details about the OSFM’s defensible space program, visit their website.

Reeling From a Second Year of Losses, Hospitals Stress Need for Policy Changes

Lake Oswego, Ore. – A combination of factors including high inflation, workforce shortages and escalating expenses continue to squeeze the operating margins of Oregon hospitals, underscoring the urgency of implementing policy solutions to ensure they can continue to support their communities.

New data released this week by Apprise Health Insights shows the state’s hospitals posted an –1.3% median operating margin in 2023, the second consecutive year that hospitals as a group lost money. Without federal CARES Act funds propping up hospitals in 2020 and 2021, last year would have marked the fourth straight year hospitals experienced significant financial losses.   

“Oregonians depend on their hospitals to be there when they need them most,” said Becky Hultberg, Hospital Association of Oregon president and CEO. “But year after year of tough financial conditions have made it increasingly difficult for hospitals to maintain all the services they provide to their communities.”

In 2023, 56% of Oregon’s hospitals reported they were unable to cover the cost of providing care with revenue from core patient activities. The state’s larger urban hospitals had a median operating margin of -0.3%, while rural hospitals fared worse with a median operating margin of -1.8%.

Along with rising salaries, benefits and the cost of supplies, hospitals’ cost of providing care has also increased as it has become more difficult to discharge patients to appropriate settings. The average hospital length of stay, while dropping from peak 2022 levels, has remained high at around five days.

“Our hospitals are not on a sustainable path,” Hultberg said. “We have systemic problems to address including how hospitals are paid for the care they provide, especially for the most vulnerable in our state. It’s one of the reasons we recently worked with the legislature to boost funding for hospitals that care for a higher proportion of Medicaid and uninsured Oregonians.”

The hospital association continues to work with Oregon policymakers and other groups to help build the health care workforce, explore ways to increase capacity outside of hospitals and stabilize the state’s health care system. 

“The economists who predicted that 2023 would be another difficult year for hospitals turned out to be correct,” Hultberg said. “We must continue to make progress on these complex policy issues in the 2025 legislative session.”  

About the Hospital Association of Oregon — Founded in 1934, the Hospital Association of Oregon (HAO) is a mission-driven, nonprofit trade association representing Oregon’s 61 hospitals. Together, hospitals are the sixth largest private employer statewide, employing more than 70,000 employees. Committed to fostering a stronger, safer, more equitable Oregon where all people have access to the high-quality care they need, the hospital association supports Oregon’s hospitals so they can support their communities; educates government officials and the public on the state’s health landscape and works collaboratively with policymakers, community based organizations and the health care community to build consensus on and advance health care policy benefiting the state’s four million residents.

Oregon to Honor Fallen Law Enforcement Officers May 7th, 2024

Every year, the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony honors the state’s law enforcement officers who have died in the line of duty. This year’s ceremony will be held Tuesday, May 7 at 1 p.m. at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem.

The annual event commemorates the more than 190 fallen officers who have made the ultimate sacrifice in service to the state of Oregon since the 1860s. This includes law enforcement, corrections, and parole and probation officers from city, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies.

The Department of Public Safety Standards and Training is proud to host the ceremony in partnership with the Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Fund, Oregon Concerns of Police Survivors (C.O.P.S.), Oregon Fallen Badge Foundation, and various statewide law enforcement associations.

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.”

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)

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.

SOLVE invites volunteers to register for their annual Earth Day celebration: The Oregon Spring Cleanup

SOLVE Oregon Spring Cleanup at Cannon Beach 2023

Portland, Ore., March 12, 2024 – From April 13 to April 22, families, community members, neighborhood associations, and environmental enthusiasts are invited to engage in a signature event in SOLVE’s annual calendar: The Oregon Spring Cleanup, presented by Portland General ElectricRegistration for this environmentally conscious event series is now open.

Participants are invited to join SOLVE, event leaders, and partners from across the Pacific Northwest in a collective celebration of Earth Day. The SOLVE calendar showcases a variety of events throughout Oregon and SW Washington between April 13 and April 22, with the majority of events culminating on April 20. Diverse initiatives address specific environmental needs with opportunities ranging from beach cleanups to neighborhood and city litter pickups. Further activities include restoring natural habitats through native tree and shrub plantings, weed pulls, and mulching projects. Each project contributes to the enhancement of our shared surroundings.

With a variety of projects already online, the Oregon Spring Cleanup invites enthusiastic volunteers to contribute to a cleaner, greener, and brighter planet. Interested individuals can browse the map of projects to find events near them, learn about each opportunityand sign up for a meaningful contribution to the environment. Participating in the Oregon Spring Cleanup provides an excellent opportunity to bond with family members, coworkers, and neighbors, while collectively contributing to preserving some of Oregon’s most stunning locations.

As SOLVE anticipates another successful event, valued partner Portland General Electric, shares their commitment to the cause: ” PGE proudly supports SOLVE’s efforts to make our communities cleaner and greener. In 2023, our employees and their families volunteered with SOLVE for more than 220 hours. We’re excited to join community members again this Earth Day to help improve our beautiful state.” said Kristen Sheeran, Senior Director of Policy Planning and Sustainability, Portland General Electric.

For those inspired to host an event, SOLVE is still accepting new volunteer-led projects. The sooner projects are submitted, the faster SOLVE can care for the rest. Event leaders receive full support, including free supplies, access to project funding, disposal assistance, and help with volunteer recruitment

For more information, please visit solveoregon.org/oregon-spring and be part of the collective effort to create a cleaner, greener planet.

Along with Portland General Electric, other event sponsors include Clean Water Services, AAA Oregon/Idaho, Fred Meyer, Metro, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, KOIN, The Standard, Swire Coca-Cola, Holman, Demarini-Wilson, Trimet, and PepsiCo.

About SOLVE 

SOLVE is a statewide non-profit organization that brings people together to improve our environment and build a legacy of stewardship. Since 1969, the organization has grown from a small, grassroots group to a national model for volunteer action. Today, SOLVE mobilizes and trains tens of thousands of volunteers of all ages across Oregon and Southwest Washington to clean and restore our neighborhoods and natural areas and to build a legacy of stewardship for our state. Visit solveoregon.org for more 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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