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April 24, 2024

Klamath Basin News, Monday, 3/25 – Local Tribes To Work With Klamath Water Users on Klamath Basin Restoration Memorandom of Understanding Signed; KF Man Killed on Highway 97 After Crash with Semi-Truck

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. Call 541-882-6476.

Monday, March 25, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

Mostly cloudy, then gradually becoming sunny, with a high near 50. West northwest wind 5 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph. Overnight, cloudy with a low around 30. West wind 6 to 14 mph, with gusts as high as 21 mph.
Mostly sunny, with a high near 51. Light west southwest wind becoming west 8 to 13 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 20 mph. Slight chance of snow overnigh, low near 33, Snow level 5000 feet.
A slight chance of rain and snow before 8am, then rain likely. Snow level 4900 feet rising to 6000 feet in the afternoon. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 51. South wind 10 to 18 mph, with gusts as high as 28 mph. Chance of precipitation is 70%. Little or no snow accumulation expected.
Snow likely before 5pm, then snow likely, possibly mixed with rain. Partly sunny, with a high near 46. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New snow accumulation of less than a half inch possible.
A chance of snow before 2pm, then a chance of rain and snow. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 46.
A slight chance of rain and snow. Snow level rising to 4900 feet in the afternoon. Mostly sunny, with a high near 51.

See Road Camera Views around the Klamath Basin:

A 67-year-old Klamath Falls man was killed Thursday when the vehicle he was riding in collided with a semi-truck on Highway. 97, south of Klamath Falls near the Miller Island Wildlife refuge.

Oregon State Police said in a news release that a southbound Econoline van that Scott Lane Nelson was a passenger in — driven by Carl Francis Kollmar, 44, also of Klamath Falls — attempted to turn left into a driveway. The van entered the path of a northbound Peterbilt commercial motor vehicle, driven by Donny Kart Starr, 51, of Turlock, Calif.

The vehicles collided head-on, and the Ford van was pushed backward into a southbound Ford Focus, driven by Kessandra Malan Boyd Zambrano, 29, of Hoquaim, Wash.

Nelson was transported to a local hospital where he was later declared dead. Kollmar suffered minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital, the release said.

The operator of the Peterbilt was not injured.

The operator of the Ford Focus, Boyd Zambrano, suffered minor injuries and was transported to a local hospital, according to OSP.

The highway was impacted for about an hour during the on-scene investigation.  OSP was assisted by District 1 Fire and ODOT.


Meetings are underway after a historic Memorandum of Understanding was signed into agreement earlier this month, marking the official collaboration between Tribal, agricultural and federal stakeholders in Klamath Basin restoration.

Enacted as part of Klamath Basin Drought Resilience Keystone Initiative, the MOU recognizes a partnership between the Klamath Tribes, Yurok Tribe, Karuk Tribe and the Klamath Water Users Association for ongoing and future cooperative restoration projects.

“The parties shall share the common goals of achieving sustainability and resilience for the Basin, its communities, fisheries and tribal trust and other natural resources,” the MOU reads.

The MOU mandates the parties to conduct meetings at which they are to discuss potential “priority projects” (projects that can be initiated and completed within one to two years) in the scope of ecosystem and habitat restoration as well as effective water management.

Over the past month, the parties have met several times, most recently in Ashland earlier this week.

Tracey Liskey, president of the KWUA, thanked the Klamath, Karuk and Yurok Tribes as well as the Bureau of Reclamation for their engagement and presence at this week’s meeting.

Representatives on behalf of the Klamath Tribes and local Bureau of Reclamation have not yet responded to comment on the meetings.



Klamath County Public Works Department announced three major projects set to begin the week of March 25:

  • Drainage canal maintenance along Summers Lane near the intersections of Sturdivant and Ezell Avenues. Watch for trucks entering roadway.
  • City of Klamath Falls water main replacement work to begin next week along Eberlein Avenue between Patterson Street and Hilton Drive. Work expected to conclude in July.
  • Bridge maintenance road closure March 25-27 of Cheyne Road between Matney Way and Buesing Road. 

For more information, contact the Public Works Department at 541-883-4696.


BTS Bus Service Reduced

Public transportation serves many in the Klamath Basin, but starting April 1, some of the regular riders with BTS will have to find a new mode of travel when BTS reduces services across the board in order to continue a sustainable operation. Daily hours will be reduced. Weekends will have no service.

The necessary consolidation and reduction of public transportation services comes a little less than a year after a short-term tax levy on the ballot failed.

Ballot Measure 18-130 defined a tax rate of $0.29 per $1,000 assessed property value for five-year period which would have started July 2023.

So, a local property owner with a home or land that is valued at $100,000 would pay $29 per year for five consecutive years.

The majority — roughly 30% — of the funding comes from a local tax rate of $0.48 which was made permanent by voters in 1997.

Measure 18-130 marked the first request for additional local tax funding in 27 years.

But Klamath County residents voted against the ballot measure, leaving BTS in serious financial peril.

Ridership in the Klamath Basin continues to increase each year, but revenue from ridership only makes up a very small portion of the funding — about 3%.


In mid-January, a now mud-crusted area where crews are planting tree and other native seedlings, was part of the Topsy Reservoir.

The landscape behind the reservoir was altered when a 10- by 10-foot hole was blasted a short distance upstream at the John C. Boyle. Within seven hours water from the reservoir, created in the mid-1950s by the dam, had mostly drained, leaving behind broad mudflats bordering the now free-flowing Klamath River.

Areas where the Topsy Reservoir, which held up to 4,200-acre feet of water, existed are being planted by revegetation crews from the Yurok Tribe, a task that should be completed next week. On a sunny day earlier this week, 14 people were working on both sides of the river, digging holes for a variety of tree species, including Ponderosa and lodgepole pines, Douglas and “true” firs, and incense cedar along with snowberry and tall Oregon grape shrubs.

The planting is part of an effort along the Klamath River to restore areas where reservoirs created behind the Boyle, Copco 1 and Iron Gate dams were drained earlier this year. Some of the 20 billion-plus seeds that were collected or grown in nurseries since 2018 are being spread across newly exposed landscapes this season through fall 2025. Revegetation was done earlier this winter at the lower reservoirs.

Because removal of the three remaining dams — Copco 2 was removed late last year — didn’t happen until January, restoration efforts didn’t begin until a few days after the drawdown began at Iron Gate, the furthest downstream dam where the first drawdown began.

When this season’s restoration work is completed, about 75,000 native seedlings will be planted. The goal is to plant 250,000 over the next couple of years goal so, “We’re less than a third of the way there,” said Joshua Chenoweth, senior riparian ecologist for the Yurok Tribe. He said the revegetation work was temporally “paused” earlier this year when it was feared heavy rains might refill the reservoirs. “We’ve been full-tilt after that.”


In pursuit of more cohesive, effective governing, Klamath County’s Board of Commissioners has proposed the formation of a council of governments for county, which is one of Oregon’s largest in terms of land, with small communities spread throughout its boundaries.

Klamath Tribes leadership and officials representing each of the county’s incorporated cities — Klamath Falls, Chiloquin, Bonanza, Merrill and Malin — were all in attendance.

County Commissioner Derrick DeGroot said the proposed council is intended to create a more cohesive, cooperative countywide team that could tackle the pressing issues throughout the county.

Klamath Tribal Council Vice Chairwoman Gail Hatcher asked how the Tribes fit into the council of governments given the differences in the Tribal process compared to that of a city council.

Klamath Falls City Councilor Mika Blain asked how the council would vote and whether each of the cities and Tribes would have appointed representatives from their bodies.

As the council of governments is still in the planning phase, it will fall to the Tribes and the incorporated cities to return to the next meeting with possible changes to the language in its description.

Over the course of the next few quarterly meetings by the group, leaders will discuss the language and define their parameters, and bring a list of each community’s priorities they hope to address with the council of governments.

Among the top priorities for many communities in Klamath County is finding the means to provide sufficient, equitable law enforcement for all residents, an item which was included on the meeting agenda. Stay tuned.

Oregon Tech Environmental Sciences and Klamath Outdoor Science School will collaborate in environmental education.

 On March 8, representatives of Oregon Tech Environmental Sciences and Klamath Outdoor Science School (KOSS) signed an agreement to collaborate on environmental education initiatives in the Klamath Basin.

The collaboration will focus on several key areas, including promoting research-based educational practices, providing professional development opportunities, creating standards-aligned curriculum for K-12 students, and providing quality environmental educational experiences for diverse audiences in the community.

 In 2023, Oregon Tech added a Recreation and Science Ambassador track within its Environmental Sciences program. As part of developing the track, Oregon Tech faculty reached out to KOSS, a nonprofit that provides youth with residential and day outdoor school experiences, to learn how Oregon Tech students could support KOSS programs through teaching, curriculum development, and volunteer work.

 Students currently enrolled in Oregon Tech ENV 466 Environmental Education are revising select curriculum for KOSS to share at one of its outdoor programs.

 For more information about Oregon Tech Environmental Sciences, visit www.oit.edu/environmental-sciences.


Mathematics, engineering, science and technology is alive and well at Ponderosa Middle School. A mixture of Ponderosa seventh and eighth grade students impressed Mathematics, Engineering, Science and Technology (MESA) Oregon judges during a competition March 5 at Oregon Tech against students across Klamath County.

The competition, named MESA Oregon Demo Day 2024, was a competition many of the Ponderosa students remembered well from a year ago.

Ponderosa science instructor Elizabeth Neuman has been working with students after school to prepare for the event after bringing back MESA to the middle school last year.

For the second consecutive year, Ponderosa took the honor of top middle school. All Ponderosa MESA students placed in this year’s regional competition.

The team of Jazzlyn Pineda, Audriana Morehouse, Alyson Giese Maeva, Lucy Chase and Azalea Weiser took first place. The recognitions kept coming as Jacob Culp, Lizzie Childress, Lexie Childress and Lilla Perkins earned second place for Ponderosa.

The MESA spirit award went to seventh graders Oliver Case, Alex Brown, Lily Rumsey, Kaden Flowers and Kingston Clark.

Morehouse, Lizzie Childress, Lexie Childress, Giese Maeva and Pineda were brought back to the same feeling of success after earning first place in the regional competition last year.


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. 


                  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)



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


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 is joining 15 states and the federal government in a lawsuit against one of the biggest companies in America, Apple. It claims Apple has a monopoly over the smart phone market.

Oregon Attorney General Ellen Rosenblum says the action is to protect consumers and the integrity of the marketplace. She says Big Tech companies have to play by the same rules as everybody else. The lawsuit accuses Apple of having tight controls over iPhone software that prevents competition.


Left-wing Gov. Tina Kotek will bring on a state-funded adviser this week to explore the possibility of forming an Office of the First Spouse.

Meliah Masiba will join the governor’s office from the Department of Administrative Services on a six-month rotation beginning Monday to both explore establishing the new office and to support and assist Kotek’s wife, Aimee Kotek Wilson, “in her official capacity in support of the administration,” said Elisabeth Shepard, a spokesperson for the governor. Shepard said “many other states” have offices of the first spouse.

Staffers of Kotek are leaving like flies. Three high-level staffers are departing the governor’s office. Chief of Staff Andrea Cooper will leave Kotek’s office effective Friday, Deputy Chief of Staff Lindsey O’Brien will go on leave April 5 and Special Advisor Abby Tibbs will leave Kotek’s office to return to Oregon Health & Sciences University effective March 31. Deputy Chief of Staff for Public Administration Chris Warner will take over as Kotek’s chief of staff, her office announced last week.


Consumer spending has been strong in the years after the pandemic recession. But that spending hasn’t extended to new vehicle purchases which have soared in price in recent years.

Oregonians registered about 170,000 new vehicles in 2023. That’s little change from the prior year and down about 18% from the average in the five years before COVID-19. National data paints a similar picture for new car sales across the U.S.

Economists and auto industry officials say there are several explanations for why car sales haven’t bounded back as quickly as other sectors. They’re optimistic a rebound may finally be in the offing in Oregon and elsewhere.

Driving habits changed, too. Those working from home didn’t put as many miles on their cars. Donaca said some families realized they didn’t need a second vehicle at all when they sold an old one, or when it gave out.


California’s Yurok Tribe, which had 90% of its territory taken from it during the Gold Rush of the mid-1800s, will be getting a slice of its land back to serve as a new gateway to Redwood National and State Parks visited by 1 million people a year.

The Yurok will be the first Native people to manage tribal land with the National Park Service under a historic memorandum of understanding signed Tuesday by the tribe, Redwood National and State Parks and the nonprofit Save the Redwoods League.

The agreement “starts the process of changing the narrative about how, by whom and for whom we steward natural lands,” Sam Hodder, president and CEO of Save the Redwoods League, said in a statement.

The tribe will take ownership in 2026 of 125 acres (50 hectares) near the tiny Northern California community of Orick in Humboldt County after restoration of a local tributary, Prairie Creek, is complete under the deal. The site will introduce visitors to Yurok customs, culture and history, the tribe said.


The treasurer for two junior baseball organizations in Oregon was arrested this week on allegations of embezzling over $700,000 after an audit found money had been transferred to personal accounts and spent in casinos, Sherwood police said Friday.

Terrence Haimoto, 52, who served as treasurer for the Sherwood Junior Baseball Organization and Oregon’s Junior Baseball Organization, faces 10 theft charges, according to Sherwood police and court records.

Investigators found multiple instances where the Sherwood baseball organization’s funds were transferred to Haimoto’s personal and business bank accounts dating back as far as 2017, police said. That money was then spent at casinos in Oregon and Washington, according to police. Detectives found other “suspicious transactions” in the state’s bank account as well, police said.


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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