Klamath Basin News, Friday, 4/19 – Oregon’s Merkley and Wyden Weigh In on Lower Farmer Water Allotment By Bureau of Reclamation; Ragland’s Dancing With Your Klamath Stars Lineup Announced; Some Lawmakers Outraged That Oregon Is Allowing Biological Males To Compete in High School Sporting Events

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.

 

Friday, April 19, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

Today
Sunny, with a high near 70. West wind 3 to 7 mph.  Overnight, mostly clear, with a low around 36. Northwest wind 5 to 8 mph. 
Saturday
Sunny, with a high near 71. Light and variable wind becoming west southwest 9 to 14 mph in the afternoon. Winds could gust as high as 21 mph.  Areas of frost after 11pm, with overnight low around 34. 
Sunday
Widespread frost before 10am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 65. Northwest wind 6 to 9 mph.
Monday
Areas of frost before 11am. Otherwise, mostly sunny, with a high near 70.
Tuesday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 72.
Wednesday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 66.
Thursday
A chance of showers, with a high near 59.

Today’s Headlines

Oregon’s U.S. Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden released the following statement yesterday, following the Bureau of Reclamation’s recently announced 30% less water allocation for the Klamath Project.

On slate is $8.5 million in immediate drought relief aid for Klamath Basin communities and $5 million in technical assistance for Klamath Basin Tribes impacted by prolonged drought:

The statement reads, in part, that they “remain committed as ever to working together to ensure Klamath Basin communities have the resources they need to be successful. While the initial water allocation announced this year was less than expected, this immediate funding we secured and pushed the Biden administration to make available will go toward helping the region meet the challenges ahead.

“We are encouraged by the progress that Tribes and farmers in the basin have made in recent months, including the historic agreement between the Klamath Tribes, Yurok Tribe, Karuk Tribe, and Klamath Water Users Association, as well as the infusion of $72 million in new federal funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law for the basin’s recovery.

“Driven by the momentum of the cooperation paired with the robust investments that we secured, we are encouraged by the new ways folks are coming together to modernize agricultural operations, restore ecosystems and productive farms, and save the C’waam and Koptu fish from extinction. All these collective efforts are certainly building toward more comprehensive solutions where everyone in the Klamath Basin moves forward together toward a more resilient future.”

The U.S. Bureau of Reclamation’s decision to curtail water to farmers was met with frustration and dismay by ag leaders and Klamath County Commissioners this week.

Commissioner Derrick DeGroot labeled it an “absolute miss”.

Local irrigators will receive 35% less than the estimated need and the allocation is the fifth-worst in the Klamath Project’s 120-year history.

The allocation was determined based on management criteria outlined in the Bureau of Reclamation’s 2020 interim operations plan and on an analysis of existing hydrologic conditions and inflow forecasts conducted by the Natural Resource Conservation Service.

 

Rita Hepper, principal of Chiloquin Elementary School, has been named 2024 Oregon Elementary School Principal of the Year by the Coalition of Oregon School Administrators.

She was chosen for the award by her colleagues from more than 1,200 elementary schools across the state.

Klamath County School District Superintendent Glen Szymoniak announced the award today (April 17) during an all-school assembly, surprising Hepper, her staff, and her students. Craig Hawkins, executive director of COSA, KCSD administrators Dr. Doris Ellison and Jeff Bullock, and school board member John Rademacher were in attendance. All three of Hepper’s children – sixth-grader Dylan, seventh-grader Allie, and eighth-grader Adam – also attended the assembly.

Pictured with Chiloquin Elementary Principal Rita Hepper, center, are from left: COSA Executive Director Craig Hawkins, KCSD Elementary Curriculum Director Dr. Doris Ellison, Chiloquin Elementary Vice Principal Janelle Emard and KCSD Superintendent Glen Szymoniak.

Hepper grew up in Chiloquin, graduating in 2003 from Chiloquin Jr/Sr High School. She earned a degree in education from Western Oregon University and then returned to work as a high school math teacher, an instructional coach and interventionist. Seven years ago, she took the reins as principal of Chiloquin Elementary School, creating an environment where families feel safe and student achievement scores are steadily increasing.

Hepper will receive her award in front of fellow administrators at the COSA annual conference in June. In July, she will be honored at the national conference in Nashville, Tenn.

 

The Ross Ragland Theater once again hosts the highly anticipated “Dancing With Your Klamath Stars,” at 7:30 p.m. on Friday, May 10.

Voting is already open digitally through the event’s fundraising page. Vote for your favorite contestant, or just donate to help the cause, by visiting givebutter.com/dwyks2024.

Modeled after the beloved television series, the event pairs prominent community figures with professional dancers from the Utah Ballroom Dance Company. Together, they’ll grace the stage in a friendly competition to raise funds for deserving causes in Klamath County.

This year’s lineup features six dynamic duos, each representing a different charity close to their hearts:

  • Lyle Ahrens, former reporter at KOBI-TV NBC5/KOTI-TV NBC2, dancing on behalf of United Way of Klamath County;
  • Nic Phair, branch principal at Highstreet Insurance & Financial Services, dancing on behalf of the David R. Kingsley Foundation;
  • Heidi Gaither, director at Klamath County Developmental Disability Services, dancing on behalf of SMART Reading of Klamath County;
  • Cora Christ, agency owner at Country Financial, dancing on behalf of the Assistance League;
  • Tessa Gutierrez, HEP director at Klamath Community College, dancing on behalf of the KCC Foundation;
  • Chris Benjamin, director of choirs at Henley High School, dancing on behalf of Youth Rising.

The real stars of the night are the audience members, who play a crucial role in determining the winner.

Through a voting system, attendees can support their favorite contestant by making a minimum $1 donation per vote. Whether through phone, in-person, or text-to-vote, every contribution counts toward the overall audience score.

Leading up to the main event, contestants will undergo rigorous rehearsals with the Utah Ballroom Dance Company to perfect their routines.

While votes are tallied, the audience will be treated to an exclusive performance by the talented dance troupe. The winner will walk away with a trophy and $500 towards the charity of their choosing.

The Ross Ragland Theater donates part of the proceeds to the charities from around the Klamath Basin that help this event be a success.

 

The National Park Service (NPS) has approved the transfer of the Crater Lake National Park concessions contract formerly held by Crater Lake Hospitality.

Hospitality company ExplorUS will take over providing visitor services under the contract immediately, including:  

  • Lodging at Crater Lake Lodge, The Cabins at Mazama Village, and Mazama Campground    
  • Food and Beverage at Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room, Annie Creek Restaurant, and Rim Village Café    
  • Retail at Rim Village Gift Shop, Annie Creek Gift Shop and Mazama Village Store (including gas pumps)   
  • Lake and Wizard Island Boat Tours 

NPS and ExplorUS are striving for a seamless transition of services but ask for flexibility and patience from park visitors. The majority of visitor services in Crater Lake National Park begin to open for the season in mid-May. Information about services currently available are available on the park website at https://www.nps.gov/crla.

Klamath Falls City officials tended to some “housekeeping” items at their meeting earlier this week, approving these issues:
  • Approved private general aviation hangar land lease policy for the Crater Lake — Klamath Regional Airport
  • Approved designation of city manager and city attorney to act upon future lease agreements for the private general aviation hangars at the regional airport
  • Approved construction services contract with Diversified Contractors, Inc., for the Ella Redkey Pool slide replacement project. Councilor Kelsey Mueller Wendt removed herself from the vote due to a conflict of interest.

 

Healthy Klamath needs as many able hands as possible to help improve the community with Give Back Day 2024.

Taking place on Saturday, April 27, help make a difference and join Healthy Klamath as they tackle community enrichment projects across Klamath County.

With several projects to volunteer for from brushing around Moore Park with the Klamath Trails Alliance to creating and gifting hand-made caring cards at the Alpine Estates Clubhouses with other projects like gardening, trail maintenance and clearing litter from downtown — there is a project for every interest.

Start times and locations of projects vary. For a complete listing, visithealthyklamath.com/givebackday

 

The Bureau of Land Management’s Klamath Falls Field Office announced the availability of firewood permits for purchase starting today, Monday.  A news release said firewood cutting permits will be available for personal use only and cost $5 per cord with a two cord minimum.

“It’s the woodcutter’s responsibility to obtain, understand and follow the rules in effect at the time and place where they are cutting firewood,” BLM acting field manager Mike Limb said in the release.

Commercial firewood permits are required for individuals who want more than eight cords and who intend to cut wood for resale or commercial use.

To purchase a permit online, visit forestproducts.blm.gov and select Oregon Field Office, followed by “Fuelwood.” Users will need to complete and submit the online application in order to receive their permits.

An email will be provided which lists all maps, stipulations, load tags and documents needed to cut and remove BLM products from the land in a safe manner.

For more information, contact the Klamath Falls Field Office at (541) 883-6916.

Friends of the Children – Klamath Basin invites the community to its annual fundraising dinner auction, Friend Raiser, presented by Lithia Ford of Klamath Falls, Thursday, May 30th. Doors open at Mike’s fieldhouse at Steen Sports Park at 5 p.m.

“This year’s event theme is ‘You Belong!” because we help children feel the belonging and value they need to develop hope and skills for bright futures,” said Executive Director Amanda Squibb. “Our community health depends on our kids’ well-being, and I’m excited to see everyone come out to support professional mentoring in the Klamath Basin.”  

Friend Raiser begins with dinner and cocktail stations, a silent auction, wine and bourbon games, and raffle sales. A seated program and live auction follow at 7 p.m.  

To reserve seats, visit friendsklamath.org or https://fckb.ejoinme.org/FR2024. Silent and live auction items will be added May 23rd for preview. 

Friends – Klamath Basin was established in 2000 to impact generational change by empowering youth facing the greatest obstacles. It pairs youth with professional mentors for 12+ years, no matter what, and will serve 72 youth this year. 

Each week, BasinLife.com features a Pet of the Week ready for adoption from the Klamath Animal Shelter.

This week’s pet is a dog named ” Vador “.   Vador is an 8 month old male Pit Bull and Border Collie mix, is black and white, and weighs about 40 pounds.
Vador’s family said that he had more energy than they were prepared for. They said that Vador is house-trained and lived with children as young as 3 years old, there were no other dogs in the home but at the Shelter he has had a doggy room mate. He is an energetic, happy dog that could be a great addition to an active family.
If you are interested in adopting Vador 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 awww.klamathanimalshelter.org

 

Around the State of Oregon

Some Republicans in the Oregon Legislature are calling for immediate action in high school sports after a biological male student competed against biological females in a track meet and finished second in two races and seventh in a third.

Some Oregon Republicans said the Oregon School Activities Association should only allow biological women to compete in women’s sports. 12 Republican women signed a letter that was sent to the executive director of the OSAA, Peter Weber. The legislators who signed the letter include Jamie Cate from Lebanon and Shelly Boshart Davis from Albany.

The legislators want the OSAA board to take immediate action to protect equal rights of women after what they call an “unfortunate situation” where a 10th-grade biological male student at McDaniel High School competed in the Sherwood Need for Speed Classic in the girl’s division. The athlete came in second place in the 200- and 400-meter races and 7th in the 100-meter relay.

Republican legislators said “Policy 38” in the OSAA handbook, a passage which deals with gender identity participation, claims the gender identity rule “promotes harmony and fair competition among member schools.” However, the letter said that instead of promoting harmony, the policy has sparked outrage and allowed a biological male to find a place in female sports record books.

Republican lawmakers said the OSAA’s policy leads them to believe the OSAA doesn’t deem girls’ sports worthy of protecting, and it creates opportunities for boys who can’t compete at the highest levels against their male peers to compete instead in female sports.

The Republican lawmakers said they want the OSAA to provide a solution for families who want answers. They said they will seek a statutory change in the 2025 session to remove all records set by biological male students allowed to compete in girls’ sports, and award those achievements to the biological female students they believe should have won. Legislators also said they’re going to encourage parents and girls to take a stand by withdrawing from competitions where biological male athletes are allowed to participate.

The OSAA confirmed that they had received the letter, and a response is forthcoming. [Governor Kotek and leaders of this state…get this fixed properly and SAVE girls and womens sports! – Editor, BasinLife.com]

 

Nonfarm Employment numbers increased across Oregon in March — with the biggest gains found in professional/business services, government and wholesale trade. 

According to a news release from the Oregon Employment Department, there were also declines in construction, retail trade and manufacturing. Construction was by far the biggest industry hit with a decrease in 2,300 jobs.

Oregon’s unemployment rate was 4.2% in both February and March. Its rise from a record low of 3.4% in May 2023 is a sign of a loosening labor market, the release said. Another indicator of a loosening labor market was the rise in the number of Oregonians employed part time for economic reasons, which rose to 73,000 in March from a low of 48,200 in September 2022.

According to data on the State of Oregon Employment Department website, Medford saw a 0.4% decrease in job numbers from February 2023 to February 2024. Grants Pass saw a 0.1% increase.

  • In The immediate area, here are the current unemployment rates:
    Klamath County: 5.1%
  • Josephine County: 5.3%
  • Lake County: 5.2%
  • Curry County: 4.9%
  • Jackson County: 4.5%

A group of Portland Public Schools parents have filed a lawsuit seeking $100 million against the Portland Association of Teachers (PAT) and the Oregon Education Association (OEA), alleging their 2023 teachers strike caused negative emotional and educational impacts on students as well as financial losses and work disruptions for parents.

From the attorneys it states “The Nov. 1 to Nov. 26, 2023, strike resulted in nearly a month of closed classrooms and missed extracurricular activities. Shutting down schools causes learning loss, cuts students off from activities such as sports and music, distances them from friends and peers, and induces anxiety and emotional distress. Parents are forced to pay for childcare out of pocket, take leave or skip shifts at work, and deal with abrupt changes and confusion. This lawsuit seeks compensation for the families who endured that disruption because of this illegal strike.”

“Study after study demonstrates the harmful and long-lasting negative effects teacher strikes have on students,” attorney Daniel Suhr claimed in the same release. “The PAT’s illegal strike especially hurt already vulnerable families from low-income households and children with learning disabilities. These families have a right to an uninterrupted education focused on student achievement and development, not union politics.”

The lawsuit claims that the strike was illegal, and that PAT violated Oregon law by “making bargaining demands on a number of topics specifically excluded by law from the mandatory bargaining process.”

Attorneys claim that the strike would have been much shorter if the bargaining only included mandatory subjects, lessening the impact on students and parents. The filing also alleges that much of what the strike sought, a ‘paradigm shift,’ is meant to be resolved by elected officials and not “closed-door union bargaining.”

The attorneys say that the lawsuit is seeking damages for families impacted by education, time, and financial loss, as well as anxiety and confusion. The complaint also seeks to cancel the new contract passed by the unions and school district, saying it was “only entered unto under duress.”

The four involved plaintiff families are asking to remain anonymous out of fear of retaliation, their attorneys say.  Stay tuned.

 

The Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve is back open after the winter season closure.

Tours will be offered five days a week, Thursday through Monday, on a limited basis. They will run on a first come, first served basis between the hours of 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.

Entry to the monument is free, however tickets for tours can be purchased on site or at the Illinois Valley Visitor Center.

Meanwhile, Crater Lake National Park visitors can enjoy a free visit this weekend. Saturday is the first day of National Park Week which means the National Park Service is offering free admission to over 400 parks nationwide.

That includes Crater Lake National Park, and it’s only on Saturday.

The next fee free day after that is June 19.

 

As temperatures heat up this spring, AAA is cautioning drivers to expect high gas prices.

AAA says the ongoing conflict in the Middle East, as well as seasonal factors like refinery maintenance and the switchover to summer blend fuel continue to send gas prices higher.

This week the national average gained another 3 cents, up to $3.64.

In California the average price for a tank of gas is $5.45. Meanwhile, in Oregon, gas is up 2 cents bringing the average up to $4.44 per gallon.

AAA Oregon Director of Government and Public Affairs, Marie Dodds says the price at the pump should settle down at some point.  AAA suggests using cell phone apps to compare and find the cheapest gas price.

 

With recent staffers dropping like flies, Gov. Tina Kotek has replaced them in her office with internal hires just weeks after three members of her executive leadership team departed in late March or early April.

Kotek announced Thursday that Chris Warner, previously one of Kotek’s deputy chiefs of staff, will permanently serve as her chief of staff. Warner replaces Andrea Cooper, who has moved to a temporary role at the Oregon Department of Administrative Services. Warner previously helmed the Portland Bureau of Transportation and has worked as a top aide to U.S. Sen. Ron Wyden and legislative director to former Gov. Ted Kulongoski.

Cooper, along with special adviser Abby Tibbs and deputy chief of staff Lindsey O’Brien, have left Kotek’s office, wiping away three-quarters of her executive team. Tibbs returned to Oregon Health & Sciences University earlier this month, where she worked as a lobbyist before joining Kotek’s office. O’Brien went on medical leave April 5 and is still on Kotek’s executive leadership list, but her office has not answered questions about the duration of the leave.

 

University of Oregon defensive back Daylen Austin was arrested on charges of a felony hit and run in connection to a fatal incident Monday night in the Whiteaker area.

A Eugene police department spokesperson said police are investigating a “fatal hit-and-run at W. 4th and Polk that occurred on April 15 around 9:10 p.m.” The victim is a 46-year-old man, according to police.

Austin, 19, was arrested at 11:45 p.m. Monday, according to police, and remains in custody at Lane County jail as of 10:20 a.m. Wednesday, according to jail records. He is scheduled to be arraigned at 1:30 p.m. at the Lane County jail.

The sophomore, who has been limited this spring while recovering from injury, was not at UO’s practice Tuesday morning.

Hit and run with a vehicle is a class C felony in Oregon.

 

The Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors is asking a federal agency to monitor the Klamath River Dams removal project. 

This week the board approved a written request to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission. It formally outlines concerns about the four Klamath River dams removal project.
It also requests FERC to address the concerns. The board’s letter has 11 pages of issues with the project.

Concerns include dead fish, downstream silt and large mud fields from now-drained lake beds.

The county declared a local emergency about the project and asked California governor Gavin Newsom for an emergency declaration.

 

The California Department of Fish and Wildlife released thousands of fish into the Klamath River Tuesday morning.

It’s the first major release of Coho salmon into the Klamath River since the Klamath Dam Removal Project began.

CDFW said they will be releasing over 500,000 Chinook and Coho salmon into the river over a two day period.

For local tribes, it’s a milestone event they have been working towards for decades.

Karuk Tribal Councilman Kenneth Brink said, “the river is our church and that salmon is the cross on top of our church.”

More than 100,000 Coho salmon and 400,000 Chinook salmon are being released into the Klamath River below the Iron Gate Dam.

For Councilman Brink, it’s more meaningful because of how intertwined his tribe is with the river and the salmon.

Brink said he’s spent the last 30 years campaigning for the Klamath River Dams to be removed, both as a biologist and as a member of the tribal council.

He said he’s never seen the Klamath River look this healthy.

CDFW’s Jason Roberts oversees a number of local fish hatcheries.

He said removing the dams and repopulating the river will benefit everyone.

 

Trout stocking in some southeast Oregon waterbodies will be delayed this year as ODFW crews adjust stocking schedules to make up for fish that were lost due to a novel parasite recently detected in several hatcheries.

Most of the fish lost will be backfilled with surplus fish from other facilities. But as these surplus fish were not intended to be stocked so early, they are still undersized (less than 8 inches) and not ready for release.

ODFW has moved some trout to the Klamath Hatchery to get faster growth from the facility’s warmer water but growth is still delayed. Many of the early stockings planned for April will not occur until later to give the fish time to grow.

The trout stocking schedule has been amended to reflect these changes, with fish now planned for stocking the last week of May, when they will reach legal size. ODFW will begin stocking trophy size trout the week of April 29 to get some fish out. While less fish will be stocked, these fish will be much larger.

Anglers should refer to the online schedule for stocking dates.

 

Oregon’s gray wolf population did not increase last year due in part to a large number of wolves killed by people, causing concern among conservationists and Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife officials.

The latest Annual Wolf Report found the population remained steady at 178 wolves, marking the first time in eight years that their numbers didn’t increase. Typically, the population has grown by 6% a year. Among the 36 wolf deaths in 2023, 33 were caused by people. The state sanctioned the killing of 16 wolves following livestock deaths and 12 were killed illegally, the report said.

“The amount of poaching and other suspicious deaths is alarming, impacts our conservation goals and could affect our ability to manage wolves in Oregon,” Bernadette Graham-Hudson, the agency’s wildlife division administrator, said in a news release.

The count is based on wolf tracks and other evidence, including appearance on wilderness cameras, and might be too low, officials said. It also doesn’t include the 10 wolves that were transported from Oregon to Colorado in December to help reestablish a wolf population there.

In addition to the steady numbers, the count cited two fewer wolf packs and successful breeding pairs in 2023 than in 2022 due to poaching.

Gray wolves are listed as endangered under the federal Species Act in most of central and western Oregon, and four of the illegal killings took place in places where they are federally protected. Seven of the wolves that were illegally killed were poisoned.

The state wildlife department, Oregon State Police and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service are investigating the poisonings and offering a $50,000 reward for more information on three of them. Other deaths were caused by vehicles, cancer, natural causes or undetermined causes. One was shot by a livestock owner in an act of self defense, according to the report.

 

A school district in Marion County is telling voters that if they don’t pass a bond next month, the district may have to close its doors for good.

The Gervais School District says it needs the money to make repairs to its high school, middle school and elementary school. They’re asking voters to pass a $28 million bond in the May 21 election.

The district has tried to pass eight bonds since 1997 to repair and update its schools, ranging from $4 million to $18 million. Those bonds have failed every time.

The last time a bond was passed in the district was in 1990 for $1.3 million. That bond helped to build the elementary school cafeteria and gym.

The district says in the last 10 years, they’ve had to sell off property to generate just over $3 million in revenue to help with repairs.

The district is warning that if another bond fails, they will consider closing the district. If that happens, students will have to attend neighboring districts. That means people who own property in the Gervais district would have to begin paying taxes into another district based on boundaries approved by the Marion County Commissioners.

 

It’s a wrap for the 60th winter season at Mount Ashland Ski Area. The last day for skiers and boarders to hit the slopes was Sunday.

According to the ski area, it finished with over 95,000 guest visits since January, when the season started due to limited snowfall.

Staff say they are already looking ahead to summer, with guided hikes, group rides and runs, movie nights, and Youth Alpine Adventure camps.

Additionally this summer the ski area has plans to begin construction of a new chairlift, improve beginner terrain, as well as adding a youth snow sports dome and rope tow for the terrain park.

The lodge will open to the public every Friday, Saturday, and Sunday starting Father’s Day weekend.

 

The Israeli-Palestine conflict got closer to home on Monday. In Eugene, the I-5 freeway became blocked by a large group of protesters representing Free Palestine Eugene. They walked onto the highway and completely blocked traffic, according to law enforcement.
Both Oregon State Police and the Lane County Sheriff’s Office were on scene, officials say protestors walked onto I-5 from Harlow Road, at milepost 194 in Eugene, around 10:00 a.m. Monday, April 15th.  Similar occurrences were happening acord the U.S. who some say were likely being paid.
At least 52 people were charged with disorderly conduct. Two people were additionally charged with conspiracy and theft and one charged with a possession of a firearm.
According to Oregon State Police, demonstrators were given continuous warnings to disperse before arresting dozens of people for disorderly conduct.
Traffic was stopped for approximately 45 minutes.
Law enforcement remained on scene while observers continued to gather along the highway.  The Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) reported that all lanes of Interstate 5 southbound were closed at the intersection with Eugene – Springfield Highway I-105, due to pedestrians protesting on the highway.

 

FALLEN OFFICERS’ NAMES ADDED TO OREGON FALLEN LAW ENFORCEMENT MEMORIAL

SALEM, Ore. — The names of two fallen law enforcement officers were added to the Oregon Fallen Law Enforcement Memorial during an engraving ceremony on Tuesday, April 16. An honor guard stood watch as the names of Jared J. Miller of the Marion County Sheriff’s Office and Joseph W. Johnson of the Nyssa Police Department were added to the memorial at the Oregon Public Safety Academy in Salem.

The additions of Sergeant Miller, end of watch Dec. 9, 2021, and Reserve Corporal Johnson, EOW April 15, 2023, were approved for addition to the state memorial by the Board on Public Safety Standards and Training. The memorial honors Oregon officers who have died in the line of duty since the 1860s. This includes law enforcement, corrections, and parole and probation officers from city, county, state, tribal and federal law enforcement agencies.

Sergeant Miller, Reserve Corporal Johnson and 194 previously fallen officers will be honored during the annual Oregon Law Enforcement Memorial Ceremony on Tuesday, May 7 at 1 p.m. at the academy, located at 4190 Aumsville Highway SE in Salem.

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.

 

Klamath National Forest Prepares for Spring Prescribed Burning
Klamath NF firefighter at Van Bremmer Rx spring 2023YREKA, Calif. — Klamath National Forest fire managers are shifting gears from pile burning operations to preparing for prescribed underburning this spring.
Fire managers use prescribed underburning to decrease fuel loadings and mimic the effects of the natural fire regime that local ecosystems evolved with. Historically, fire was ignited by lightning and by Indigenous people tending the land. Fire in its natural role reduces dead vegetation, replenishes nutrients in the soil, stimulates new growth, and maintains biological diversity.
Fire was effectively removed from these systems with the arrival of settlers. After many years of fire exclusion, an ecosystem that needs periodic fire becomes unhealthy. Trees become stressed by overcrowding, fire-dependent species disappear, and an unnatural buildup of flammable fuels that can become hazardous when wildfires occur. Over a century of fire suppression has resulted in wildfires burning more severely than they historically did, threatening communities and ecosystems.
“Prescribed fire is an excellent opportunity to reintroduce a natural process and critical element back into the ecosystem on our terms and in strategic locations,” said Kelsey Lofdahl, Assistant Forest Fire Management Officer on the Klamath National Forest. “It is one of the most useful tools to help reduce fuels, restore our forests, and protect our communities and natural resources.”
Recent research conducted by the Pacific Southwest Research Station on the Klamath National Forest has illustrated the effectiveness of prescribed burning at reducing the severity of wildfires within treated areas. The study, released in February of this year, found that where the 2021 Antelope Fire intersected with previously completed fuels treatments, including prescribed burning, the severity of the burned area decreased compared to untreated areas.
Several prescribed burns are planned across the Klamath National Forest this spring. Timing of implementation will be dependent on fuel and weather conditions at each specific project location.
Happy Camp/Oak Knoll Ranger District
  • The Cade Mountain prescribed burn (111 acres) is 3 miles northeast of Happy Camp in mixed conifer and hardwood forest. The project aims to reduce fuels in the area and enhance the growth of Hazel for Tribal use.
Salmon/Scott River Ranger District
  • Crews plan to pick up where they left off last fall continuing ignitions out at the Scott Bar Mountain prescribed burn (500 acres) about 12 miles west of Fort Jones. The burn goals are to improve defensibility of homes in the area, increase resiliency of the forested stand against future wildfire events, and improve wildlife habitat. Scott Bar Mountain connects to a series of ridgetop fuels treatments, many of which were planned and implemented through collaborative efforts with partners. These treatments create a landscape-scale fuel break that can be used during wildfire events to protect communities, infrastructure, and natural resources.
  • Just east of the Scott Bar Mountain project area lies the Singleton Project (500 acres), which is in mixed conifer stands and will tie in to the same strategic ridgetop fuel break.
Goosenest Ranger District
  • The Van Bremmer (160 acres) and Tamarack (369 acres) underburns are two adjacent projects located three miles northeast of Tennant. The projects’ goals are to reduce hazardous fuels, promote browse for big game, and increase stand resilience against the effects of insects, disease, and wildfire. Both projects are in ponderosa pine stands with an understory of brush and white fir saplings.
  • The First Creek prescribed burn (up to 1,174 acres) project is north of the Grass Lake Rest Area in mixed conifer with an understory of bitterbrush, manzanita, and snowbrush. Prescribed fire is being used to reduce surface fuel loads and reducing fire-intolerant white fir to create openings that favor fire-tolerant ponderosa pine regeneration.
  • The Cedar Mountain prescribed burn (up to 3,650 acres) is just north of Antelope Sink, in ponderosa pine stands with areas of juniper and brush. Prescribed fire will be used to reduce fuels to improve defensible space for the community of Tennant and outlying residences. Other goals for the burn are to improve big game habitat, reduce juniper, encourage aspen regeneration, and promote forested stands that are resilient against drought, wildfire, and forest pests.
Prescribed burning activities on the Klamath National Forest are in conjunction with the efforts of Klamath River Basin Landscape, which is part of the USDA Forest Service’s Wildfire Crisis Strategy. The strategy, with funding from the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law and the Inflation Reduction Act, aims to reduce risk to communities, critical infrastructure, and natural resources from the ongoing wildfire crisis.
For more information on Klamath National Forest’s spring prescribed burning projects, contact Jennifer Erickson, Forest Fire Prevention Officer at 530-841-4469.
Monitor the Klamath National Forest’s Facebook site for more timely information about these projects as they are implemented.

 

Over 80 Portland neighborhoods are demanding action from government leaders to avoid a toxic disaster on the banks of the Willamette River. Northwest Portland is populated by over 600 aging gasoline and jet fuel storage tanks and residents want something done about them.

The six-mile stretch of tank farms is known as the Critical Energy Infrastructure Hub (or CEI Hub). A 2020 study commissioned by the City of Portland and Multnomah County found that a Cascadia Subduction Zone Earthquake could spell environmental disaster for this area.

Representatives from dozens of neighborhoods gathered at the Augustana Lutheran Church in Northeast Portland Tuesday night, to talk about their concerns. They sent a letter to Portland and Oregon government leaders saying they have to work on a plan for the CEI Hub.

 

April 30th is the deadline for people registering to vote in Oregon for the first time or for those who wish to change party affiliation.

The upcoming May 21st election is a closed-party primary election for registered Democrats and Republicans.

That means that Democrats will be voting for Democrat and nonpartisan candidates and measures and Republicans will be voting for Republican and nonpartisan candidates and measures.

Non-affiliated and all other voters will be voting on nonpartisan candidates and measures.

You can register to vote at oregonvotes.gov.

 

Britt Music & Arts Festival is excited to announce the next slate of 12 Britt Presents shows for the 2024 summer season.

With more announcements to come, this group of shows features a wide array of musical artists, including country legend Willie Nelson. Britt-newcomers will include Shaggy, Dirty Heads, Walker Hayes, Paul Cauthen, Classic Albums Live: Fleetwood Mac “Rumors”, and Jason Bonham’s Led Zeppelin Evening.

Britt favorites returning to the stage include reggae rock bands Iration & Pepper with special guests DENM and Artikal Sound System, American jam band Umphrey’s McGee, world famous Cuban ensemble Buena Vista Social Orchestra, pop icons Colbie Caillat & Gavin DeGraw, jazz and funk fusion artist Trombone Shorty, and reggae band SOJA.

The community is also invited to the hill for a night of laughter with Colin Mochrie & Brad Sherwood: Asking for Trouble. But it doesn’t end there; throughout the next month, Britt will continue to announce more shows for the 2024 Britt Presents season!

With this announcement, there will be a Member pre-sale before tickets go on sale to the general public at 10:00 AM on Friday, April 26.

 

 

Spring into action: Give blood or platelets with the Red Cross 

Make an appointment now to help save lives during National Volunteer Month

During National Volunteer Month in April, the American Red Cross asks donors to help protect the blood supply by making and keeping blood or platelet donation appointments in the weeks ahead. Donors of all blood types – especially type O blood donors and those giving platelets – are needed now to keep the blood supply strong enough to support critical patient care this spring.

The Red Cross depends on thousands of volunteer blood donors to collect about 12,000 blood donations every single day. With no substitute for blood and no way to manufacture it, volunteer donors are essential in transfusion care. Blood drives and donation centers also depend on the generosity and valuable time of those who make it possible for the Red Cross to help people in need. 

Spring into action – book a time to give lifesaving blood or platelets now by visiting RedCrossBlood.org, calling 1-800-RED CROSS or by using the Red Cross Blood Donor App. Those who come to give April 8-28, 2024, will receive a $10 e-gift card to a merchant of choice, plus be automatically entered to win a $7,000 gift card. There will be two lucky winners. See RedCrossBlood.org/Spring for details.

Visit RedCrossBlood.org and enter your zip code to find additional blood donation opportunities near you.

Oregon River Trip Planning Made Easier

Oregon river information is now more accessible than ever on the National Rivers Project’s recreational river map. In collaboration with the Bureau of Land Management, the River Management Society recently added or updated over 1,000 miles of Oregon rivers to the NRP website. This includes nearly 700 miles of Wild and Scenic Rivers, iconic whitewater reaches, and beginner-friendly sections.

“Whether you want to paddle through Oregon’s high deserts and canyons or explore the rainforests and coastal waterways, the National Rivers Project is a really convenient first stop in the planning process,” says David Ballenger, BLM Oregon/Washington Recreation Lead.

The NRP website offers intuitive search features for both beginners and experienced paddlers. Users can sort sections by difficulty and recreational amenities such as fishing, camping and boat ramps. Each listing provides river access and permit details, with links to more information.

“Recreating on Oregon rivers gives people a stronger sense of stewardship,” says Lauren Pidot, BLM Oregon/Washington National Conservation Lands Program Lead. “Visitors are interested in protecting these public resources. We’re excited to help people more easily find these opportunities.”

Some of the recently added sections are very accessible with developed launches, while others are more wild and remote. BLM rangers remind boaters to check local weather conditions, water levels and permit requirements before departing on a river trip.

“All of our river and access information is sourced and reviewed by managing agencies, so boaters can feel confident when they begin their trip planning on our website,” says James Major, NRP Coordinator. “We want to give special thanks to BLM Oregon for their invaluable assistance on this project.”

 

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

SOLVE Oregon Spring Cleanup at Cannon Beach 2023

Through 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.

 

EARTH DAY VOLUNTEERS NEEDED

COOS BAY, Oregon— Celebrate Earth Day this year at a volunteer event dedicated to removing invasive English ivy at Yoakum Point 10 a.m. to noon April 22. 

Invasive species of ivy are prevalent throughout the pacific northwest and tend outcompete native plants. Assist park rangers in identifying and eradicating the weed from the park property. Afterward, Ranger Jake will present an interpretation program.

Participants should be prepared to travel on uneven ground at service site. Service will take place outdoors and volunteers should be comfortable wearing work gloves and using hand tools. Snacks will be provided.

  • Dress for the weather.
  • Closed-toed shoes are recommended.
  • Wear something you don’t mind getting dirty.
  • Remember to bring a water bottle, sack lunch and work gloves if you have them (some will be provided if not).

Yoakum Point is a roadside pull off for a trailhead that takes visitors to the beach. The address is 90064 Cape Arago Hwy, Coos Bay. 

Register for the volunteer event at https://form.jotform.com/230546054450045

If you need to contact staff on the day of the event, please call Park Ranger Jake, 541-294-0644, Park Ranger Jess, 541-888-3732 or Park Specialist Janet at 541-888-3778.

 

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