60.55 F
Klamath Falls
April 24, 2024

Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 3/21 – Concerns About Flooding At Link River Dam Could Be Coming; Budget Concerns Say Klamath County Commissioners; Oregon Gas Prices Rising

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.

Thursday, March 21, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

Today
Partly sunny, with a high near 61. Calm wind becoming south 5 to 8 mph in the afternoon. Overnight, mostly cloudy, with a low around 38. West southwest wind 5 to 9 mph becoming southeast after midnight.
 
Friday
A 50 percent chance of rain. Snow level 5600 feet rising to 6100 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 55. South wind 8 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Overnight, rain and snow likely. Snow level 6200 feet lowering to 4500 feet after midnight . Low around 30. South southwest wind 7 to 15 mph.  Chance of precipitation is 80%. Little or no snow accumulation expected. 
Saturday
A chance of snow before 11am, then rain and snow likely between 11am and 2pm, then rain likely after 2pm. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 46. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Little or no snow accumulation expected. Overnight rain mixed with snow, with a low around 30. Chance of precipitation is 40%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
Sunday
A chance of snow before 2pm, then a slight chance of rain. Partly sunny, with a high near 47. Chance of precipitation is 30%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Monday
A slight chance of snow before 11am, then a chance of rain. Snow level rising to 4600 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 47.
 

See Road Camera Views around the Klamath Basin:

With Upper Klamath Lake quickly approaching full pool, there are growing concerns about the potential for flood releases at Link River Dam in the coming weeks.

Klamath Project irrigation districts are preparing their systems to move water, which will help mitigate complications downriver with unsafe dam removal worksites.

This water movement includes filling portions of Tule Lake and Lower Klamath National Wildlife Refuges – placing water on wetlands and landscapes that have been void of water for several years.

A decision to begin moving water is anticipated next week after district managers meet with representatives from tribal governments and federal agencies. 

Last fall, the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation (Reclamation) required districts to leave extra water in Upper Klamath Lake. Throughout winter, Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA) and its members have been identifying the potential for a full pool situation, and opportunities that would exist if that were to occur.

For several weeks, KWUA and its member districts have been concerned with the management of water levels in Upper Klamath Lake, given this year’s unique operational considerations. 

 

Along the topic of water, despite widespread concerns about the initial impact of removing the three remaining Klamath River hydroelectric dams, the organization coordinating the removals says the project is moving ahead as expected.

Several groups, especially in Siskiyou County, have expressed fear the removals are creating significant damage to the river’s water quality, have resulted in huge kills of non-native fish and caused deer and other wildlife to die after becoming stuck and unable to escape from extremely muddy areas because of the drawdown of reservoirs.

A statement from the Klamath River Renewal Corporation, which is overseeing removal of the dams, restoring lands exposed by the dam removal to “restore the health of the Klamath River and the communities that depend on it,” explained the ongoing process.

On responding to concerns about the sediment created by the drawdown process and ongoing dam removals, the statement says, “The Klamath River is experiencing a period of poor water quality as sediment is evacuated from the former reservoirs. This short-term impact will be small, relative to the long-term improvements to water quality and fisheries habitat. We expect to see fluctuations in turbidity/suspended sediment levels in the coming weeks and months.”

Copco 2, was removed last year. Happening now are steps aimed at removing the other three dams — John C Boyle, Copco 1 and Iron Gate.

 

Klamath County Commissioner Derrick DeGroot had some heavy words to say about the future of the county’s budget Tuesday afternoon.

For the past few weeks, the Board of Klamath County Commissioners has been occupied with a series of budget-related meetings and workshops to create the 2024-25 fiscal year budget by June 30. During the commissioner’s weekly business meeting, DeGroot did not sugarcoat the budget situation.

DeGroot said the revenue Klamath County earns from taxes, goods and/or services remains flat, within an expected range annually, but rising labor costs are beginning to take a toll on the budget.

Degroot said it is the priority of the commissioners to continue to grow and develop the Klamath Basin, thus earning more revenue, but that process is slow moving

Also during the meeting, the board approved three fire preparedness and prevention projects that are ongoing across the county starting with Keno Rural Fire Protection District’s Situation Analyst Program.

The next was approving Klamath County Fire District 1’s five-year mitigation program to establish up to seven fire-wise communities in Klamath County and safely dispose of over two million pounds of hazardous fuels.

The seven target areas will be the Running Y, Sunset Beach, Pine Grove, Shield Crest, Ridgewater, Old Fort and Lynnewood.

 
Eighteen businesses in Klamath Falls will be awarded funds for beautification and building improvement projects through the city’s downtown business grant program.

City council approved the 2024 downtown building and façade improvement grant awards during their regular meeting Monday evening. Councilor Kelsey Mueller Wendt recused herself from the proceedings to avoid conflict of interest.

The 2023-2025 biennium budget for Klamath Falls established a total of $250,000 for the grant program with an additional $10,000 provided by the Klamath Falls Downtown Association.

City Planning Manager Joe Wall said applications for the grant funding this year exceeded years prior with a combined ask of more than $500,000.

Instead of awarding the full amounts requested, city planning staff recommended awarding partial funds to “spread it out” to provide for more local businesses.

Of the 18 recipients, Skyline Brewing received the largest sum in a $40,000 grant.

Instead of awarding the full amounts requested, city planning staff recommended awarding partial funds to “spread it out” to provide for more local businesses.

Of the 18 recipients, Skyline Brewing received the largest sum in a $40,000 grant.

 
The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said Tuesday that it has killed 160,000 rainbow trout after a novel parasite was found in the fish raised at three hatcheries, including at Klamath Falls. The detection came after an increase in deaths of trout at Klamath Falls, Rock Creek and Elk River hatcheries.

ODFW’s fish health lab has detected a novel parasite in sick rainbow trout that were raised at Klamath Falls, Rock Creek and Elk River hatcheries. The detection marks the first time this parasite has been associated with disease symptoms in Oregon’s fish.

Late last year, ODFW fish health and hatchery staff noticed increased mortality in several raceways of rainbow trout at the three hatcheries. Staff from ODFW’s fish health lab tested the fish for bacteria and viruses but did not detect any known pathogens. Hatchery staff treated the trout with two rounds of antibiotics and other supportive care but the fish did not respond.

To determine what was causing the fish to get sick, ODFW began working with Oregon State University’s College of Veterinary Medicine and Department of Microbiology. They identified an unknown parasite within the blood vessels, gills, and kidney tissue of the affected trout. Preliminary genetic testing places this parasite as a Myxidium species in the class Myxozoa which includes over 2,400 parasitic organisms.

This parasite has a two-host life cycle. It first infects an invertebrate host such as an aquatic worm, then moves into the water where it infects fish, then leaves the fish to infect a worm again. Sometimes these parasites are associated with disease in the fish.

 

One of winter’s most popular tourist events, ranger-guided snowshoe walks, are on again at Crater Lake National Park.

Park spokesmen said the salks will be offered on Saturdays and Sundays through Sunday, April 28, and on weekdays from Monday, March 25, through Friday, March 29. Snowshoes will be provided free of charge and no previous snowshoeing experience is necessary.

The walks will start at 1 p.m. and last 2 hours. Participants will cover 1 to 2 miles of moderate-to-strenuous terrain. Routes vary, but the walks typically begin at Rim Village and explore the forests and meadows along and near Crater Lake’s rim.

Crater Lake National Park is one of the snowiest inhabited places in America, receiving an average of 42 feet of snow per year. Snowshoeing with a ranger is a fun way to experience this winter wonderland, especially this winter because the park has been deluged with heavy snow.

Space on each tour is limited so advance reservations are required. For more information and to sign up, call the park’s visitor information line at 541-594-3100.

 

A northern California man has been banned from the Lava Beds National Monument after trying to take over 100 artifacts. 

According to a news release from the monument, 44-year-old Joseph Todero has been banned for five years. He is also on probation and must pay a $500 fine. 

“In November 2023, park maintenance staff observed Todero picking up items and placing them in his pockets in a location known to contain sensitive archeological material. The employees reported the incident to federal law enforcement and rangers responded quickly. They retrieved around 100 artifacts from Todero’s possession,” the release said. “Lava Beds cultural resources staff had intensively documented the site after the 2021 Antelope Fire and were able to pinpoint the location that many of the artifacts were removed from.”

His five-year ban is the maximum for this kind of violation, the release said. 

The monument said that residents who see something suspicious at any National Park Service location should report it here.

 

Wyden Announces Five Town Halls 

U.S. Senator Ron Wyden today announced he will hold in-person town halls in Klamath, Lake, Harney, Grant and Wheeler counties from March 23-25.

Heading into these five town halls, Wyden will have held 1,076 town halls throughout Oregon – including 11 so far this year — in fulfillment of his pledge to hold at least one town hall each year in each of our state’s 36 counties. 

“I promised to hold open-to-all town halls every year in every county so every Oregonian has the face-to-face opportunity to ask me questions, offer opinions and share ideas,” Wyden said. “There is no substitute for those direct conversations in the true spirit of the ‘Oregon Way’ focusing on solutions, and I am very eager to hear from Oregonians in rural communities on this upcoming swing through these five counties.”

  • Klamath County, 5 pm, Saturday, March 23, Oregon Institute of Technology, Mt. Mazama Conference Room, 2nd Floor of the College Union, 3201 Campus Dr, Klamath Falls
  • Lake County, 12 pm, Sunday, March 24,  Lake County Courthouse, Memorial Hall, 513 Center St, Lakeview
  • Harney County, 4 pm, Sunday, March 24,  Harney Chamber of Commerce Community Room, 484 N Broadway, Burns
  • Grant County, 9:30 am Monday March 25 Grant County Regional Airport, 720 Airport Road, John Day
  • Wheeler County, 2 pm Monday, March 25,  Mitchell School, 340 SE High St, Mitchell
  •  

Klamath Trails Alliance Has Big Plans for Spring and Summer

Plans for a busy spring and summer are in full swing for mountain biking and hiking areas that are part of the ever-expanding Klamath Trails Alliance trails network.

The KTA’s most visible project in upcoming months will be the expansion of the two Spence Mountain trailheads, one off Highway 140, 145 miles west of Klamath Falls by Doak Mountain, and the second at Shoalwater Bay.

Thanks to a $240,000 American Rescue Plan (ARPA) grant from Klamath County, both trailheads will be doubled from their current sizes. The Highway 140 site will add 25 sites while the Shoalwater Bay location will add another 55. In addition, both will have new vault toilets.

Weather permitting, construction is scheduled to begin this spring. Both trailheads will remain open during the construction but trail users are asked to “steer clear of the construction area for your safety.” The construction is expected to be finished before the Spence Mountain Run on June 1 and the Spence Mountain Mayhem bike event on June 8.

More trail work is again planned on Spence Mountain, which currently has 51 miles of professionally built mountain biking and hiking trails. Following last year’s extension of the popular Queen of the Lake Trail, which offers spectacular views of Upper Klamath Lake, the eastern end of the Queen will be connected to the North Star Trail. Other trail work includes starting construction of the Eagle Ridge Trail and finishing the Chinquapin Trail.

The trail work will be done by Dirt Mechanics and Tera Velo Consulting, the two contractors that have designed and built the ever-expanding network of Spence Mountain trails. This year’s work will add four miles to Spence’s existing trails network.

Along with Spence Mountain, KTA works with the city of Klamath Falls in building and maintaining multi-use trails in Moore Park and with the Forest Service on the Rye Spur, High Lakes and Brown Mountain trails.  https://www.facebook.com/KlamathTrailsAlliance

 

Klamath County has another candidate in the race for Position 1 on the Board of County Commissioners.

Moss Driscoll, director of water policy for the Klamath Water Users Association, announced his candidacy early Wednesday morning. “My ultimate decision to run is based on a sense of obligation to public service and to my community,” Driscoll said in a post on social media. Driscoll said he does not take the decision lightly and has spoken with numerous local entities and leaders, including all members of the BoCC. The current holder of the title, Dave Henslee, announced his withdrawal from the race earlier this year.

As of Wednesday afternoon, Driscoll is one of nine candidates who’ve filed to run for the county government position.  The nomination also lists certification in criminal law and construction. To view the current candidacy filings for elected county positions, visit klamathcounty.org/692/Election-Calendar-Candidates.

 

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. 

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)

 

The 2024 Benefit for the Basin Scholarship is Now Open

Two scholarships of $ 50 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?

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.
 

 

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.

 

                  Coming to Ross Ragland Theater!

The prehistoric age is going futuristic for an upcoming show at the Ross
Ragland Theater, April 4th

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!

 

 

 

Oregon had the sixth-largest weekly jump in gas prices across the country.

The Oregon average increased 15 cents to $4.10 a gallon. The national average jumped a dime to $3.49. Prices are increasing, because of refinery maintenance and the switch to more expensive summer blends of fuel that produce less pollution.

The price of crude oil is also up, because of drone attacks on Russian oil refineries. Russia is one of the world’s major oil producers and the attacks are causing prices to rise as the supply might be threatened.

 

In February, Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment rose by 4,400 jobs, following a revised loss of 5,700 jobs in January.

February’s gains were largest in professional and business services (+1,000 jobs) and in health care and social assistance (+900 jobs). Five other major industries each expanded by between 600 and 700 jobs. Manufacturing (-600 jobs) was the only major industry with a substantial number of job cuts in February. 

 Health care and social assistance continued its robust expansion, employing 292,300 jobs in February, which was a gain of 25,900 jobs in the past 24 months. Nursing and residential care facilities and social assistance both grew by 8% in the past 12 months.

 Over the most recent 12 months, jobs edged lower. Oregon’s seasonally adjusted nonfarm payroll employment dropped by 1,900 jobs, or -0.1%, between February 2023 and February 2024. The private sector cut 11,300 jobs, or -0.7%, over the most recent 12-month period. Job losses in four major industries stood out, each down by between 3,400 and 9,300 jobs. These industries are informationprofessional and business servicesmanufacturing; and retail trade. Four other major industries had smaller losses, between 500 and 1,900 jobs. In contrast, health care and social assistance was up 13,800 jobs, or 5.0%, while government was up 9,400 jobs, or 3.1%, in the 12 months through February.

 While Oregon’s job growth has been close to flat in the 12 months ending in February, with a decline of 0.1%, U.S. jobs grew by 1.8% with gains in every month of that period. 

 Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.2% in February and 4.1% in January. It has remained in a historically low range between 3.4% and 4.2% for more than two years, back to October 2021. The U.S. unemployment rate was 3.9% in February and 3.7% in January.

 

Nike co-founder Phil Knight recently pumped $2 million into a political action committee aimed at electing Republicans to the Oregon Legislature.

The contribution, made in February, was only the third $2 million contribution to an Oregon political campaign or committee since fall 2019 – and all three of those were made by Knight, the richest person in Oregon.

His latest gift, made to the Bring Balance to Salem PAC and first reported by Oregon Capital Chronicle, brings the committee’s cash on hand to nearly $5.1 million.

In 2022, the committee spent $5 million, $2 million of it from Knight, including for targeted voter outreach and get-out-the-vote efforts. That year, Republicans gained two seats in the 60-member House and one in the 30-member Senate. The wins were just enough to end the Democrats’ super majorities in each chamber.

 

Oregon’s K-12 public schools will receive a record $74.2 million from the Common School Fund in 2024, state officials announced today. 

Every one of Oregon’s 197 public school districts receives money from the Common School Fund every year. How much each district receives depends on the number of students served. 

The average 2024 distribution is approximately $376,000. Astoria School District will receive about $230,000. Bend La-Pine Schools will receive $2.3 million. Klamath Falls City Schools will receive nearly $344,000. See how much every Oregon school district will receive from the Common School Fund in 2024.  

 

294,000 Kids will Receive Food Assistance this Summer

Oregon’s legislature has secured participation in the federal Summer EBT program for this summer and beyond, benefiting 294,000 children and families with an extra $40 per month for groceries during the summer months. This initiative supports kids who rely on free school meals during the school year but don’t have this critical support during the summer.

Oregon joins 37 states, five territories and three tribal nations in implementing this program, which previously reduced child hunger by one third among participating families during its pilot. While some families will automatically receive the benefit, others will need to apply. We will share information on the application process when available.

The legislature passed a pathway for Oregon to participate in the Restaurant Meals Program, an exciting addition to the Federal Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). This option enables individuals facing difficulties in meal preparation, including seniors and those experiencing houselessness, to use SNAP benefits to buy prepared food at select retailers. Oregon Food Bank eagerly anticipates playing a role in implementing this program. (SOURCE)

 

DCSO and SAR Continue Efforts to Locate Glide Teacher Rachel Merchant-Ly

𝐈𝐃𝐋𝐄𝐘𝐋𝐃 𝐏𝐀𝐑𝐊, 𝐎𝐫𝐞. – Search and Rescue efforts continue in the search for Rachel Merchant-Ly, a Glide Elementary kindergarten teacher whose vehicle was found crashed in the North Umpqua River.

Merchant-Ly was reported missing on Thursday, February 29th when she didn’t arrive at school. A Douglas County Sheriff’s deputy located signs of a motor vehicle crash near milepost 41 on Highway 138E.

On Friday, March 1, 2024, Merchant-Ly’s vehicle was recovered from the North Umpqua River, but she was not found inside.

Since that time, nearly 300 hours volunteer hours of searching has taken place. Douglas County Search and Rescue has been using various methods of searching to include drone, ground and K9. The Sheriff’s Office Marine Patrol has conducted water searches as well. Volunteers have searched along the riverbank from the crash site to Idleyld Park Trading Post; approximately 21 miles.

“We all want to find Mrs. Merchant-Ly and return her to her family,” Sheriff John Hanlin said. “Our deputies are in constant communication with her family and providing them with updates as to our efforts. We will continue searching and using all means necessary to accomplish our mission,” Hanlin added.

In addition to the efforts of DCSO and Search and Rescue volunteers, several community members have been actively looking for Merchant-Ly.

“We are aware of rafting guides and groups of rafters who have been launching all in an attempt to assist in finding her. We have also been contacting community members who are walking along the North Umpqua Trail and the highway,” Hanlin said. “As always this community steps forward to care for each other.”

As the weather turns more springlike, the Sheriff’s Office encourages those recreating around the area to be aware Merchant-Ly is still missing and to report anything which may assist in concluding this missing person case.

 

OHA has released an online dashboard that will chronicle the ongoing progress from more than $230 million in behavioral health investments

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Health Authority (OHA) has released a supplemental online dashboard that will chronicle the ongoing progress from more than $230 million in behavioral health investments.

The emerging capacity was funded through legislation in 2021, that is projected to create more than 1,000 behavioral health housing units and residential treatment beds by the end of 2025.

OHA distributed these funds to providers over the past two years to bolster behavioral health housing and residential treatment throughout the state.

This dashboard spotlights the two recent major behavioral health housing funding streams.

It is an offshoot of the Behavioral Housing and Treatment dashboard  that was unveiled last November.

When completed, the projects will increase the state’s behavioral health housing capacity by about 20 percent.

The dashboard will track two separate funding streams:

  • Approximately $100 million in grants awarded to every Oregon county. And approximately $130 million awarded to statewide social service providers.
  • Together those revenues will yield nearly 500 residential treatment beds and more than 550 behavioral health housing units.

Residential treatment beds are licensed by the state and are round the clock services and supports for people with chronic behavioral health challenges. Behavioral health housing units are not licensed by the state and serve as transitional settings from people experiencing homelessness to stable housing.

The new supplemental dashboard details spending by funding source and by county, along with timelines, projected outcomes and populations being served.

The earlier dashboard includes the full portfolio of behavioral housing investments. Those include the investments highlighted in the new dashboard, along with new funding sources such as Measure 110, and historical investments.   

Timelines for such projects can typically take years to complete because of the complexities of acquiring sites, building expenses and other construction-related factors. The calculations include development costs such as purchasing real estate, facility renovations, not operating revenues.

 

Marine Reserves Protection Plan Awaits Governor’s Signature

The Oregon Senate has passed House Bill 4132, which builds on the success of Oregon’s marine reserves program.

Based on the recommendations from the Oregon State University10-year review study, the bill calls on the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW) to create a management plan for Oregon’s five marine reserves that will continue to protect the Oregon Coast, a vital economic and cultural hub for the state, according to a release from the Oregon Senate and House Republicans’ offices.

Sen. Dick Anderson (R – Lincoln City), carried HB 4132 on the Senate floor.

“This bill builds on the findings of the Marine Reserves Program by communicating vital scientific research back to communities to ensure collaboration between coastal stakeholders – yielding informed policy decisions in the future,” Anderson said. “This is the Oregon way.”

The bill also directs ODFW to work with tribes, fisheries, and local communities to make sure that the scientific work being done on the reserves incorporates regional knowledge and is usable for the communities on the coast.

“Oregon’s marine reserves are so important to the long-term health and stability of our beautiful coast. This bill is going to help this program stay flexible and adaptive, which is especially important as our coastal communities navigate the uncertainties of climate change,” Senate Energy and Environment Committee Chair Senator Janeen Sollman (D – Hillsboro) said.

Both Senate Democrats and Republicans agree that protecting Oregon’s vital natural resources is a key priority for the 2024 session, according to the release. HB 4132 now heads to the Governor’s desk. (SOURCE)

 

Boeing Plane Found With Missing Panel After Landing In Medford

A post-flight inspection revealed a missing panel on an older Boeing 737-800 that had just arrived at its destination in southern Oregon on Friday after flying from San Francisco, officials said, the latest in a series of recent incidents involving aircraft manufactured by the company.

United Flight 433 left San Francisco at 10:20 a.m. and landed at Rogue Valley International-Medford Airport in Medford shortly before noon, according to FlightAware. The airport’s director, Amber Judd, said the plane landed safely without incident and the external panel was discovered missing during a post-flight inspection. No injuries were reported.

 

Child Killed in Tragic Accident in Grants Pass

On March 16, 2024, at about 1124 hours, the Grants Pass Police Dispatch received calls about a child who was struck in the parking lot of a business on Fruitdale Drive near Highway 238.  Grants Pass Police officers responded to the scene, along with first responders from the Josephine County Sheriff’s Office, American Medical Response, and Grants Pass Fire/Rescue.

A five-year old female was found seriously injured in the parking lot and emergency medical aid was immediately rendered.  The child was transported to Three Rivers Medical Center by AMR.  Despite medical efforts, the girl succumbed to her injuries.  Due to her age, the name of the girl will not be released by our Department.

Grants Pass Police Detectives, along with an UAS pilot and police crash reconstructionist, took over the investigation at the scene of the crash.  With the assistance of witnesses, it was determined the vehicle that struck her was unoccupied.  The owner of the car, a 74-year old man, had parked the car and exited it in the parking lot.  He quickly realized his truck was rolling backwards and attempted to open the door and stop it from continuing its path backward.  The man was unable to stop the truck.

The truck struck the girl before coming to a rest against a parked vehicle. The owner has been cooperating with the detectives.  Alcohol and other controlled substances are not believed to be a factor at this time.

The investigation is still on-going.  Anyone with information on this incident is requested to contact the Grants Pass Police at 541-450-6260.  

 

Oregon’s Final Presidential Primary List Released by Secretary Griffin-Valade

Oregon Secretary of State LaVonne Griffin-Valade released the final list of candidates to appear on the 2024 Democratic and Republican Presidential Primary today for Oregon’s primary election on May 21st.

Democratic Candidates:
Joseph Biden
Marianne Williamson

Republican Candidates:
Donald Trump

ORS 249.078 (1)(a) states that a Secretary of State may place the name of a candidate on a major party Presidential primary ballot if the Secretary, in their “sole discretion, has determined that the candidate’s candidacy is generally advocated or is recognized in national news media.” Candidates may also access the ballot by nominating petition as provided in ORS 249.078 (1)(b).

Oregon law allows major parties to decide whether to hold “open” or “closed” primaries. In this year’s May Primary, both the Democratic and Republican parties will hold “closed” primaries — meaning that a voter must be registered with that party by April 30th to participate in its primary election. Oregonians can register to vote or change their party registration at OregonVotes.gov.

“Oregonians are voters,” said Secretary Griffin-Valade. “In 2022 we had the highest voter turnout in the county. We have been trailblazers in creating modern and secure elections through our vote-by-mail system, which we’ve operated for more than 20 years without a single instance of widespread voter fraud. We are taking every precaution to ensure the 2024 elections will be no different.”

 

OHCS to launch first phase of the Homeowner Assistance and Reconstruction Program on March 25th

Call center and local partners will be available to help 2020 Labor Day Disaster survivors with application process 

SALEM, Ore. — Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS) is going to launch the intake phase of the Homeowner Assistance and Reconstruction Program (HARP) for survivors of the 2020 Labor Day wildfires and straight-line winds on March 25. Phase 1 of HARP will help low- and moderate-income homeowners who still need assistance to repair, rebuild, or replace their homes.  

Beginning on March 25, applicants can fill out an Eligibility Questionnaire on the re.oregon.gov website where eligibility requirements are listed. OHCS will notify applicants who are eligible to apply for the first phase of HARP. Those who may not be eligible during this first phase may qualify in later phases if there are still funds available.  

“We are excited to announce this first step in the process to get survivors the help they need to fix existing homes or get new ones,” said Alex Campbell, chief external affairs officer of the Disaster Recovery and Resilience Division at OHCS. “We have been working with local partners to make resources available that we hope will make the application process easier for survivors.” 

OHCS opened a call center, which is ready to take questions. Applicants can call or text 1-877-510-6800 or 541-250-0938. They can also email t@oregon.org“>housingsupport@oregon.org. Additionally, OHCS is partnering with community-based organizations to provide in-person support. A full list of these partners is on the re.oregon.gov website

Survivors can help make the process as smooth as possible by making sure they have the correct documents on hand when they are invited to apply. No documents are needed to complete the Eligibility Questionnaire.  

HARP applicants need the following: 

  • Personal identification such as a photo ID or driver’s license (U.S. citizenship is not required.)   
  • Proof applicant is the homeowner, and the damaged home was their primary residence   
  • Records of damages from the 2020 Labor Day Disasters  
  • Proof of the applicant’s current income  
  • Receipts of recovery expenses for repair, replacement, or construction  
  • Property tax and mortgage information, if applicable  
  • Record of any disaster assistance payments, loans, or insurance benefits received  
  • Power of attorney, if applicable  

HARP is part of ReOregon, which is funded by a $422 million Community Development Block Grant-Disaster Recovery from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD). To stay up to date on ReOregon programs in various stages of development, survivors can sign up for email updates and visit re.oregon.gov

About Oregon Housing and Community Services (OHCS)  – OHCS is Oregon’s housing finance agency. The state agency provides financial and program support to create and preserve opportunities for quality, affordable housing for Oregonians of low and moderate income. OHCS administers programs that provide housing stabilization. OHCS delivers these programs primarily through grants, contracts, and loan agreements with local partners and community-based providers. For more information, please visit: oregon.gov/ohcs.  

 

Cherry blossoms illuminated at State Capitol State Park March 16-April 6

Salem, OR—Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will host “Yozakura,” night viewing of the Akebono cherry blossoms, March 16 through April 6 in the North Mall at State Capitol State Park.

Parks staff will illuminate the cherry blossoms with Japanese lanterns and lights nightly 6-9 p.m. Visitors may bring blankets, camping chairs or an evening picnic to enjoy under the canopy of the illuminated trees.
The lanterns and lights create a striking and beautiful scene inside the park at night.

The Focal Point Photography Club of Dallas will be in the park March 23 at 7 p.m. to help photographers capture the perfect shot of the illuminated blossoms. SamaZama, a koto and cello duo, will perform in the park March 30 at 7 p.m. The duo will also perform March 16 as part of the Cherry Blossom Day,https://oregoncapitol.com/event/cherry-blossom-day… , sponsored by the Oregon State Capitol Foundation and the City of Salem.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department will livestream the cherry blossoms on YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/@OregonParks beginning March 16 during the day and evening through April 6.

Park staff ask that tree limbs and blossoms are left as is so everyone can view them throughout the bloom. Alcohol is not allowed in State Capitol State Park (without permits) and the park closes at 10 p.m.

For more information on events at the Capitol, call Visitor Services at 503-986-1388 or visit the events page, https://oregoncapitol.com/events/ .

 

Spring Whale Watch Week returns to the Oregon coast for spring break 2024

OREGON COAST, Oregon— Oregon State Parks will host Spring Whale Watch Week along the Oregon Coast Saturday, March 23 through Sunday, March 31.

Trained Oregon State Park volunteers will be stationed at 15 sites along the Oregon Coast to help visitors spot whales and their calves and answer questions from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily March 23-31. The sites are some of the best places to watch for whales on the Oregon Coast. 

The spring event is three days longer than last year and might include better odds of seeing gray whales on their journey home from the calving lagoons in Mexico in light of today’s announcement from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). 

NOAA announced the end of an Unusual Mortality Event, a significant die-off of the gray whale population, that had affected the marine mammals since 2019.

“The latest counts indicate that the gray whale population has likely turned the corner and is beginning to recover. It’s a perfect time for people to see them as they swim north with new calves to feed,” said Michael Milstein, public affairs officer with NOAA Fisheries.

Researchers counted about 412 calves last year, which was almost double the number from the year before. That helped signal an end to the Unusual Mortality Event and a likely turnaround in numbers as the species begins to rebound.

An estimated 14,500 gray whales are expected to swim past Oregon’s shores from late winter through June as part of their annual migration back to Alaska.

“Spring is a great time for whale watching because the gray whales are usually closer to shore on their return trip, typically around a mile or so out, and the weather can be better for viewing. But don’t forget your rain gear just in case,” said Park Ranger Peter McBride.

A map of volunteer-staffed sites is available online on the official event webpage: https://oregonstateparks.org/index.cfm?do=thingstodo.dsp_whaleWatching

The Whale Watching Center in Depoe Bay will be open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. March 23-31. Visitors to the center can enjoy interactive whale exhibits and take in the panoramic ocean views. Binoculars are provided. Rangers from Oregon State Parks will also be on hand to answer questions about the whales.

All Whale Watch Week visitors are encouraged to dress for the weather, to bring binoculars and to follow beach safety guidelines such as remaining out of fenced areas, knowing the tide schedule and keeping an eye on the surf at all times. Go to https://visittheoregoncoast.com/beach-safety/ for a list of safety tips.

For more information about coast parks and campgrounds, visit oregonstateparks.org.

Visitors are encouraged to share their photos and videos from Spring Whale Watch on social media using #OregonStateParks and #ORWhaleWatch24.

 

Respect nesting areas to protect threatened snowy plover March 15 – Sept. 15

OREGON COAST, OR – The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department and Siuslaw National Forest remind visitors that it is plover nesting season on the Oregon coast March 15 to Sept. 15 ­— visitors can help recovery efforts for the threatened western snowy plover by observing recreation restrictions in designated plover areas.

Sensitive plover nesting areas will be roped off or identified by signs with rules and limits, such as staying on the wet sand, to help protect the small shorebirds and their exposed nests during this crucial period.
Recreation restrictions occur in designated plover management areas: stretches of beach along the coastline where plovers nest or might nest. These areas combined make up about 40 miles of Oregon’s 362 miles of shoreline.

Seasonal recreation restrictions have helped protect these small birds that nest on open sand. Nests, and especially chicks, are well-camouflaged. During the nesting season, human disturbances can flush adult plovers away from their nests as they attempt to defend their young. Left alone too long, or too often, eggs or chicks can die from exposure, predators or people.

Reminders for recreation on designated plover beaches March 15-Sept. 15:

*The following are not permitted: dogs (even on a leash), driving a vehicle, riding a bicycle, camping, burning wood, flying kites or operating drones.

*Foot and equestrian traffic is permitted below the high-tide line on wet, packed sand.

*Respect signs and barriers to protect nesting habitat.

“We’re making great strides in reversing the decline of this species,” said Cindy Burns, Siuslaw National Forest wildlife biologist. “But it takes all of us, so we urge people to do their part to understand nesting season rules and to share the beach this spring and summer.”

The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service listed western snowy plovers as a threatened species in 1993, when officials counted only 45 breeding adults. The numbers of breeding adults have steadily increased since then due to ongoing efforts. Officials counted 433 during the breeding season survey in 2023.

“We appreciate visitors’ support in keeping these shorebirds safe in the combined 40 miles of protected area along the coast. We invite visitors to enjoy permitted recreation in those areas or to recreate without seasonal restrictions on the hundreds of miles of beaches not designated as plover nesting areas,” said Laurel Hillmann, ocean shore specialist for Oregon Parks and Recreation Department.

More information on the snowy plover, including detailed maps of nesting sites, can be found on the Oregon State Parks website https://www.oregon.gov/oprd/pcb/pages/pcb-plovers…. and on the Siuslaw National Forest website https://t.ly/AKPAN

Visitors to the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area can review Off-highway Vehicle (OHV) maps at its website to identify unrestricted recreation areas and information on riding motor vehicles on the sand: https://www.fs.usda.gov/recarea/siuslaw/recreation…

New plover activity — The increase in plover numbers may result in nesting occurring in new or historical nesting sites. For example, visitors to Sand Lake Recreation Area may see small roped off areas near the lake’s inlet to protect active nests, and may encounter plovers on the beach. Beachgoers are encouraged to protect these birds by restricting recreation activities to wet sand areas, avoiding roped off nesting areas, packing all trash out and keeping dogs on leash.

Background on plover protections — Several land managers oversee beach activity for plover protection, primarily the U.S. Forest Service (USFS), the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) and Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD).

Habitat loss from invasive plants — as well as human disturbances, including litter and discarded food scraps that attract predators — have contributed to the birds’ decline. The Oregon Dunes Restoration Collaborative, http://www.saveoregondunes.org/ , is working with land managers on a restoration strategy and to raise public awareness about the need to restore the dunes ecosystem for western snowy plovers, rare plants and animals and the unique recreation opportunities offered here.

 

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.

 

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. 

 

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