Klamath Basin News, Tuesday, 5/28/24 – Trail Blazers Legend Bill Walton Has Died; KF City Council President Mika Blain Resigns; Oregon State Takes Action Against pro-Palestinian Protestors

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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

Today
Mostly sunny, with a high near 73. West wind 6 to 14 mph, with higher gusts at times.  Overnight, mostly clear, with a low around 38 and gusty winds to 15 mph.

Wednesday
Sunny, with a high near 69. Overnight clear, low near 39 degrees.
Thursday
Sunny, with a high near 76. North wind 3 to 7 mph.
Friday
Sunny, with a high near 81.
Saturday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 76.
Sunday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 77.

Today’s Headlines

       
One of basketball’s greats, Bill Walton, who led the Portland Trail Blazers to their only NBA title in 1977, is dead at age 71.  The legendary center died of a long battle with cancer, the NBA announced yesterday.

Beloved by basketball fans in Oregon, Bill Walton was truly one of a kind statement. As a Hall of Fame player, he redefined the center position. His unique all-around skills made him a dominant force at UCLA and led to an NBA regular-season and Finals MVP, two NBA championships and a spot on the NBA’s 50th and 75th Anniversary Teams.

Blazers chair Jody Allen spoke to Walton’s leadership and tenacity that helped bring a championship to Rip City, defining “one of the most magical moments in franchise history.”

The 6-foot-11 Walton led the Blazers to the 1977 NBA championship, earning the NBA Finals Most Valuable Player award after averaging 18.5 points, 19 rebounds, 5.2 assists and 3.7 blocks while shooting 54.5% in a six-game series against the Philadelphia 76ers.

Before his time in Portland, Walton’s all-around skills made him a dominant force at UCLA, where he led the Bruins to back-to-back NCAA titles in 1972 and 1973.

During his four seasons under renowned coach John Wooden, Walton was selected as the Most Outstanding Player of the Final Four in each year and a three-time Player of the Year.

 

Klamath Falls City Council is one councilor short this week following the resignation of Council President Mika Blain.

Nearing the end of her first term, Blain made the announcement at a council meeting last Monday night.

Blair said, due to some personal changes her my life, she will be moving out of the ward as of this week and is resigning from her position as a city councilor effective immediately.

The councilor first ran for the city office in 2020 after previously serving as counsel to Klamath County officials. Blain has served as the council president for both 2023 and 2024, and for the majority of 2022, was one of only three remaining councilors in office following the resignations of then-councilors Todd Andres and Matt Dodson.

Today, she still serves the community from her law firm, Blain Law LLC.

Despite the strenuous circumstances, Blain told the Herald and News that the dynamics of council proved effective in their own manner, a success she accredits to the city’s staff.

I her final statement as councilor, Blain thanked the city staff, council and mayor for their time and effort during her time in office.

Section 13 of the city charter requires councilors to live within the ward they are elected to serve. The Ward 2 position is now vacant. In previous circumstances, such vacancies which occurred in the final months of an official’s prescribed term on council have remained vacant until the upcoming general election.

City staff was not available to speak with Herald and News about whether an application period for potential appointees will be opened.

In the coming November elections, the city will have four offices on the ballot this year. In addition to former Councilor Blain’s district of Ward 2, the seats of Councilor Phil Studenberg, Ward 1, and council-appointed Councilor Terra Russo, Ward 3, will soon be open for nominations.

 

For the second time this year, a representative from the Klamath Project has testified before Congress in Washington, D.C.

Last week, Klamath Water Users Association president and fourth-generation farmer Tracey Liskey testified before the Committee of Natural Resources Subcommittee on Water, Wildlife, and Fisheries.

Liskey testified on behalf of H.R. 7938, The Klamath Basin Water Agreement Support Act of 2024, introduced by U.S. Rep. Cliff Bentz (R-Oregon) on April 11, 2024. As chairman of the subcommittee in the House of Representatives having jurisdiction over the U.S. Bureau of Reclamation, Rep. Bentz conducted the hearing on the Klamath legislation and three other pending bills on Wednesday, May 22.

KWUA executive director Paul Simmons said that the bill is similar to the Klamath Power and Facilities Agreement Support Act, which was introduced in the Senate by U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) in February 2023.

Both bills include measures to protect irrigation water users from the negative consequences of removing hydropower dams on the Klamath River. The legislation would shield Klamath Project irrigators from any responsibility for payment for the costs of operating, maintaining, or improving the Link River Dam or Keno Dam.

PacifiCorp historically paid the costs associated with these facilities, but Reclamation is in the process of taking them over.

The bills also authorized federally funded construction of fish screens or similar devices needed for introducing salmon above the Keno dam, which have not historically been necessary in the Klamath Basin. The bills would also address specific past and future costs for infrastructure that should be borne by the federal government rather than irrigators.

 

Klamath County commissioner Derrick DeGroot will remain in office as a county commissioner following the primary election Tuesday.

DeGroot needed 51% of the vote to avoid a run-off in November.  He received 54%.

The commissioner position one race will be decided in November between Rejeana Jackson and Andrew Nichols.  Nichols received the most votes, with Jackson second in a close race.

Current Klamath County Commissioner David Henslee was seeking a bid for state senator, but Diane Linthicum received the republican nomination for the seat winning by a comfortable margin.  The seat is currently occupied by Diane’s husband, Dennis, who was not eligible for re-election. However, Dennis Linthicum looks to be one of two candidates to make the general ballot in November for Oregon Secretary of State, where he will represent the Republican party against Democrat Tobias Read.  Read is the current state treasurer.

Shane Mitchell was the clear front runner of the 8 Klamath County sheriff’s candidates.  He received about 37% of the total votes. Closest to him was Bryan Bryson, with Ryan Kaber a few dozen votes behind him.  It is not known if or when there will be a recount as only two will move on to the general election in November. The latest tabs show there are only 73 votes difference between Bryson and Kaber.

The Klamath County 911 levy barely passed, by less than 1 percent.  It is a 5-year operating levy.

 

Klamath County School District is offering a full-day summer school for elementary students (K-6) from June 24 to July 19. Space is limited and registration is on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Students will receive literacy, math, and STEAM (science, technology, engineering, art, and math) lessons by KCSD certified teachers. Small group instruction strategies will be a part of the day as well. Field trips will be available along with family engagement opportunities.

The locations will be:

Ferguson Elementary School: For students who attend Stearns, Shasta, Peterson, Henley, Keno, and Ferguson.

The other location is  Merrill Elementary School: For students who attend Malin and Merrill.

More information is available on the KCSD website.

 

A portion of U.S. Highway 97 in Klamath Falls will be fully closed for six weeks beginning Monday, July 8, with detours for a bridge replacement project.

U.S. 97 over Lakeport Boulevard will be fully closed while crews replace the Pelican Bridge as part of the U.S. 97: OR 58-California Border Bridge Retrofits project

The purpose of this project is to improve the seismic resiliency of bridges on U.S. 97 so the highway can continue its role as a primary north-south lifeline route in the aftermath of a major earthquake.

Detours have been established and drivers should expect delays when traveling through the area until late August.  All work is dependent on weather conditions, and schedules are subject to change.

The U.S. 97 northbound detour route will begin at Cross Road, turn left onto OR 39 following OR 39 as it becomes South 6th Street in Klamath Falls, turn right onto Crater Lake Parkway (OR 39) and return to U.S. 97.

 

Ross Ragland Theater and Cultural Center are on a mission to raise one million dollars to keep the theater running.

Following an in-depth financial and strategic planning review and restructuring of the organization, the beautiful Ross Ragland Theater launched the million-dollar campaign to ensure the theater’s preservation and that it remains open for the Klamath Community.

Donations can be made by cash, check, or credit card in person, or online by following this GiveButter link: https://givebutter.com/HiwyWw

Donating to the Ross Ragland Theater is easy. You can find the donation link pinned to the top of our Facebook page or on our website www.ragland.org. Just click on the “Giving Campaign” tab and follow the simple instructions. Your support is greatly appreciated.

The staff is eager to share more about their mission and the importance of this fundraising campaign. If you would like more information, please contact Krystal Perkins at (541) 887-8641, or email Fundraising@ragland.org

 

Klamath County Library Offers Many Summer Programs

As schools start to wind down parents might be planning activities for their kids to keep them busy this summer.

Klamath County Library is offering a great option with a reading program that offers some fun prizes and cool performances.

That includes a magic show, a close encounter with some reptiles, and even a border collie show.

You can learn more about the fun activities they have planned at the Klamath County Library website.

If kids complete the challenge of the reading program they get a t-shirt as well as many other prizes.

 

Friends of the Children – Klamath Basin invites the community to its annual fundraising dinner auction, Friend Raiser, presented by Lithia Ford of Klamath Falls, on 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. 

 

Around the State of Oregon

Republicans moved their long-awaited new farm bill through the U.S. House Agriculture Committee this week, despite opposition from most Democrats that could stall further advancement of the bill.

The massive $1.5 trillion legislation would set policy and funding levels for key food, agriculture and conservation programs for the next five years. After a marathon markup Thursday, the GOP-authored bill cleared the committee after midnight Friday, 33-21, with four Democratic votes.

The committee’s bill would increase farm “safety net” payments for some commodity crops, expand eligibility for disaster assistance and increase funding for speciality crops, organic farmers and dairy farmers.

Democrats Don Davis of North Carolina, Sanford Bishop of Georgia, Yadira Caraveo of Colorado and Eric Sorenson of Illinois joined all committee Republicans to vote to advance the bill.

After hours of heated debate and criticism from Democrats, support from the four lawmakers across the aisle seemed to surprise House Agriculture Chair Glenn “GT” Thompson, a Pennsylvania Republican who was the bill’s primary sponsor.

His microphone picked up his aside as the vote concluded: “That was bipartisan. I did not see that one coming.”

But the tepid Democratic support is likely not enough to see this version of the bill through to final passage in the House.

A handful of Republicans typically oppose farm bills over fiscal concerns. And even Democrats who voted for the bill in the House committee said it needs major changes before it could make it into law.

The measure does not have support of Democrats in the Senate or the White House.

 

A man was arrested on Wednesday for transporting over 330 pounds of illegally-grown marijuana and 30 pounds of psilocybin, the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Office said. 

On Wednesday, during a probable cause search of a Sprinter van exiting the Shasta Vista area, a deputy found six large duffel bags and six large trash bags of illicit marijuana and psilocybin, the sheriff’s office said. 

The driver was identified as 27-year-old Jaime Corona Barragan, the sheriff’s office said. Barragan is from Santa Rosa. 

Barragan was arrested for possession and transportation of marijuana and controlled substances, the sheriff’s office said. He was booked into the Siskiyou County Jail.

 

The Oregon Health Authority is announcing the list of recreation areas along the Oregon Coast that fall under it’s beach monitoring program this summer.

According to OHA, the list, which is published by the Oregon Beach Monitoring Program, includes some of the state’s most popular beaches as well as where bacteria has found or where community members have requested monitoring to be conducted.

Criteria for beaches that need to be monitored include pollution hazards, previous beach monitoring data that indicate water quality concerns, type and amount of beach use, as well as public input.

While most of the areas are in the northern part of the state, there are several that are on the South Coast, including Sunset Bay, Hubbard Creek, and Harris Beach.

Beaches will be monitored from May to September. During this time advisories will only be issued for beaches actively being monitored.

More information can be found on the Oregon Health Authority website.

 

Officials are urging people to avoid a stretch of the north Oregon coast after a dead humpback whale washed ashore Monday morning.

The whale came ashore on the sands of Nehalem Bay State Park, just south of Manzanita, prompting warnings from the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

All three agencies issued warnings Monday on posts to social media as well as signs on the beach. The area where the whale washed ashore is also a protected area for endangered snowy plovers, making it especially vulnerable to intrusions.

The dead whale arrives as authorities are still busy investigating the source of a mysterious tar-like substance that has been washing up on Oregon beaches and endangering wildlife.

On Monday, the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife said the substance has been determined to be petroleum based, but offered no other details, as responders continue to survey beaches in Oregon and Washington.

 

The maternity ward might feel a little lonely these days, as Oregon has one of the lowest birth rates in the nation, according to newly released federal data from 2022.

The state had just about 9 births for each 1,000 residents. Only Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont — the latter being the lowest in the nation at 8.2 births per 1,000 residents — had fewer.

Utah was tops at 13.5. The national average is 11.0.

Oregon’s schools, restaurants and factories figure to be emptier in the years ahead unless something changes in the state’s anemic migration levels or something big changes in its birth rates.

Oregon’s birth rates have long been among the nation’s lowest. The continued decline is in line with trends across the country and — increasingly — around the world.

Families are waiting longer to have children and choosing to have fewer children overall, Vaidya said. He attributes that partly to women taking time to get settled into careers and partly to the cost of raising kids.

Already, deaths outnumber births in Oregon.

Over time, fewer births might ease traffic congestion and the state’s housing crunch. But a shrinking Oregon could have serious economic and cultural implications in the generations to come.

 

Well believe it or not, the Pac 12 is over. Arizona beat USC in Saturday’s Pac-12 baseball title game, marking the end of the Conference as many teams are leaving.

Now, Washington State and Oregon State will be the only remaining Pac-12 members beginning this fall, when four schools join the Big Ten (UCLA, USC, Oregon, Washington), four join the Big 12 (Colorado, Arizona, Arizona State, Utah) and two join the ACC (Stanford, Cal).

The Pac-12 won 561 team national championships — over 200 more than the Big Ten in second place. In fact, Stanford (135 titles), UCLA (123) and USC (113) alone have more combined titles than any other league. The Pac-12 dominated individual championships, too, with four of the top seven schools.

The 109-year-old league — which began as the Pacific Coast Conference in 1915 before becoming the Pacific-8 (1968), then the Pac-10 (1978) and finally the Pac-12 (2011) — continued its winning ways in its final year of existence.

  • The Pac-12 was one of the biggest winners of the college football season, with the CFP runner-up (Washington), two Heisman finalists (Michael Penix Jr., Bo Nix od the Ducks) and the No. 1 draft pick (Caleb Williams) all hailing from the conference.
  • The winning continued for winter sports: Five women’s basketball teams made the Sweet 16, Cal claimed its third straight men’s water polo championship, and Arizona State won the swimming & diving title.
  • Five more Pac-12 teams have won national titles this spring, and they may not be finished: UCLA and Stanford are among the eight teams left in the Women’s College World Series, and Arizona, Oregon and Oregon State all made the 64-team baseball tournament.

Washington State and Oregon State will comprise a “Pac-2” this fall, aligning with the Mountain West for football and the WCC for other sports. But new commissioner Teresa Gould must figure out next steps quickly, as the NCAA offers just a two-year grace period for conferences to remain active with fewer than seven members.

 

OSU Administration takes action against pro-Palestinian protestors

In Corvallis, Oregon State University administrators issued a formal statement last Wednesday regarding the ongoing pro-Palestinian encampment on the campus near Memorial Union.

That online statement informed students and employees the camp violates university policy, and the university will begin holding participants accountable:
The overnight encampment on Oregon State University’s Corvallis campus is violating university policy, draining limited public safety resources, creating safety risks for protestors and others, and forcing the cancelation of student-sponsored events, impacting thousands of other community members.
The university has begun a process of holding participants accountable under the Code of Student Conduct, other applicable university policies, and criminal statutes. Today, the OSU Department of Public Safety submitted reports referring employees to University Human Resources for potential disciplinary action and students to the Office of Student Conduct and Community Standards for violations of the Code of Student Conduct.

Protestors at OSU began setting up the encampment on May 15. Members of the administration had previous issued at least three deadlines for the encampment to be cleared out, the first being announced in a statement from President Jayathi Murthy on Monday May 20. Administration officials haven’t gone into further detail about how the violated criminal statutes by protestors would be handled.

 

Several police agencies around the state are focusing on seat belt use during the Click It, Or Ticket enforcement that’s going on through Sunday June 2nd.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration helps fund overtime for the officers who watch for drivers wearing seat belts. About half of the drivers who are killed in crashes weren’t wearing seat belts. In Oregon, children are required to be in rear-facing safety seats until they are at least two years old. Children older than two need to ride in a car seat with a harness or booster seat until they’re four-feet nine-inches in height.

 

Many forest visitors look forward to spending time at Forest Service campgrounds in the summer to enjoy a relaxing, peaceful time with their families and the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest has scores of campgrounds to choose from.

Whether it’s spending time along the upper Rogue River corridor, in the Applegate Valley, near the Illinois River, or the Coquille or Chetco Rivers.

A favorite campground for many on the High Cascades Ranger District is known as “Farewell Bend”, located along the upper Rogue River corridor. This summer season, campers at Farewell Bend will notice large amounts of limbs, brush and other slash in and adjacent to the campground. The debris is the result of a recent timber sale that was necessary to remove diseased and dying trees that threatened the health of the forest and were a safety concern for the public. Although the timber sale is complete within the confines of the campground, treatment of logging slash and fuels reduction will continue through the Fall of 2024. A notification has been sent to all campers who have reservations at Farewell Bend on Recreation.gov.

Currently the water system at the Farewell Bend campground is down and will require professional repair. Water pressure is low, and the water is currently not safe for drinking. This issue could also potentially impact several local businesses in the recreation corridor. To address this issue, the campground is being temporarily closed and all reservations through Rec.gov will be cancelled; all who made reservations are being notified. Those who are looking for an alternative location to camp are encouraged to take advantage of the plentiful dispersed camping opportunities in the area.

The Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest is committed to providing a safe environment for visitors to recreate. Due to changing climates and an increase in diseases and pests, we have witnessed increased damage and mortality to trees within our campgrounds. Trees within the Farewell Bend Campground began exhibiting symptoms of forest pests and diseases resulting in tree mortality, creating an unsafe environment for visitors of the campground.

 

Celebrate State Parks Day with free parking and free RV and tent site camping at all Oregon State Parks June 1st as well as special events at selected parks.

Oregon Parks and Recreation Department (OPRD) will waive day-use parking fees at the 25 locations that charge them and camping fees for all tent, RV and horse campsites June 1.

OPRD will also waive day-use parking fees June 2, to support Free Fishing Days offered by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife.

State Parks Day has been a tradition since 1998 to thank Oregonians for their support of the state park system over many decades.

Visit the stateparks.oregon.gov event calendar for a list of additional events this summer.

For camping availability, please check oregonstateparks.reserveamerica.com

 

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