Klamath Basin News, Thursday, 5/30/24 – County Increasing Land Use & Commercial Solar Fees; Investigation Continues off Death of Bly Mountain Man, Ted Tipton; Sharp rise in Oregon Pertussis Cases Prompts Public Health Warning; Ashland Parents Demanding Accountability To Prevent School Shootings

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.

Thursday, May 30, 2024

Klamath Basin Weather

Today
Sunny, with a high near 75. North northwest winds 5 to 8 mph. Overnight, mostly clear, with a low around 43. North winds 8 to 10 mph.

Friday
Sunny, with a high near 83. North wind around 5 mph becoming calm. Overnight, cloudy with a low of 48.
Saturday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 76. Light west northwest wind increasing to 6 to 11 mph in the morning.
Sunday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 78.
Monday
A chance of showers. Mostly cloudy, with a high near 68.
Tuesday
Mostly sunny, with a high near 79.
Wednesday
Sunny, with a high near 86.

Today’s Headlines

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.

 

More than 400 high school students descended on the Klamath Community College campus May 23, for its annual Career Day, showcasing what the college has to offer and connecting employers with prospective workers.

Students learned to draw blood from lifelike dummies, tried their hands at CPR, used the Jaws of Life to peel back rooftops of wrecked vehicles, and built birdhouses; all part of the hands-on experience the college offers in a variety of disciplines.

About 50 local employers, ranging from forest products to law enforcement, were kept busy speaking with students about career choices, too. Nearly 100 KCC students signed up to visit the booths as well.

Students got to partake in aviation and driving simulations, experience augmented and virtual reality programs, study anatomy on a virtual patient and run the gauntlet of a physical testing course.

Alex Battis is studying aviation to become a commercial helicopter pilot under the KCC program in partnership with Pureflight. She and instructor James Wiganowsky landed a training helicopter on the lawn between buildings much to the awe of students.

“Not to brag, but this is one of the best training helicopters in the world,” said Wiganowsky, who had also attended KCC.

For more information about KCC and its programs, visit www.klamathcc.edu.

 

 

On May 15th, the Klamath County Sheriff’s Office responded to the report of a deceased male identified as Ted Foltz Tipton (age 53 on Kodiak Lane, near Bly Mountain.

This location is a rural area approximately 11 miles north of Bonanza, Oregon. The Klamath County Major Crime Team, consisting of investigators from a number of state and local agencies, responded to the area. The investigation is being investigated as a homicide.

On Saturday, May 25th, friends and community members held a gathering in remembrance of Ted Foltz Tipton. Many in the community have expressed their loss and questions directly to investigators.

While the investigation into the death of the victim is ongoing, there is very little information which can be shared publicly. The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office has received numerous tips and continues to follow-up on tips.

Interviews, community tips, evidence collection, and area canvasses have been conducted. Follow-up interviews have revealed some clarifying information. Many subjects have been cleared of involvement while some remain of interest. Forensic evidence has been collected which may hold key information. This evidence has been delivered to or collected by the OSP-Crime Lab and investigators are awaiting results of their analysis.

There have been many social media accusations published within the local community, which does not help the investigation. However, there is a strong indication the person responsible for the death was known to the victim and that there are residents in the area who have relevant information which has yet to be shared with investigators.       

The Klamath County Sheriff’s Office and the Klamath County Major Crime team request that anyone with information regarding this investigation phone (541) 850-5380 and provide that information to the investigators.

 

file photo

The Board of Klamath County Commissioners increased the fees for land-use applications on Tuesday, saying the fees aren’t keeping up with expenses.

“The way (the department) pays for salaries, materials, postage — all those things are from the fees that we collect. At the current rate, planning’s reserve funds will only last through the fiscal year,” county Planning Director Erik Nobel told the board.

Nobel said Klamath County still maintains the lowest cost for services compared to surrounding counties (Deschutes, Crook, Harney, Morrow) except Lake County.

Having not modified the fee schedule since 2021, the planning department has been operating at an estimated monthly loss of $15,000, and is down to $60,000 left in its reserve fund. Nobel said that the department started the year with $200,000.

The biggest change in fees is in commercial solar. Before the changes, there was only one flat fee across all land types. Moving forward they have been categorized and fined according to the current land use, high-value farmland, non-high-value farmland, forest, non-resource and vacant industrial/commercial.

A few other changes and increases were to land partitions, property line adjustments, site plan review(s), septic system evaluation, wells and home occupation.

Noting the need to increase the fee schedule, commission Vice-chair Kelley Minty said she is pro-development and that part of being pro-development is keeping the fees low.

A public hearing was held on the matter, which received neither support nor opposition. Minty chose to abstain while the motion passed. The new fee schedule goes into effect July 1; the complete schedule can be found on the county website.

In other matters, Klamath County Public Works requested bids for the rehabilitation of the substructure of the Saddle Mountain Pit Road bridge in Chiloquin due to rotting.

The bridge is a 150-foot, 5-span, single-lane timber bridge that is currently weight-restricted to 10 tons. Through making improvements to the bridge, the county looks to remove the weight restriction and extend the bridge’s use.

The work will include replacing the existing timber substructure with a new steel substructure at the four interior bridge bents which includes at each bent the driving of still piles, and the swapping of timber caps with steel caps.

All bids must be submitted to the Klamath County Public Works Department by 10 a.m. on June 18, 2024.

 

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 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

Sharp rise in Oregon Pertussis Cases Prompts Public Health Warning

Vaccine-preventable disease known as whooping cough can be deadly for infants

PORTLAND, Ore.—Oregon health officials are concerned about a sharp increase in cases of pertussis – known as whooping cough – across nine counties and are encouraging people to get vaccinated against the disease.

As of May 29, 178 pertussis cases have been reported to Oregon Health Authority’s Public Health Division. That’s a 770% increase from the 20 cases reported by that date in 2023. However, the 2024 numbers are roughly in line with those seen during similar time frames in the immediate pre-pandemic years, including 2019, when there were 93 cases, and 2018, which saw 248 cases.

Pertussis is cyclical, and before the COVID-19 pandemic – when restrictions that included masking requirements and school closures were in effect – pertussis peaked every three to five years. In 2012, 910 cases were reported, the highest annual count since 1953.

“Our concern is with how quickly we jumped to such a high number of pertussis cases, which tell us that the disease is doing what it does best: spreading fast and taking a greater toll on undervaccinated persons,” said Paul Cieslak, M.D., medical director for communicable diseases and immunizations at the Public Health Division.

Among the nine counties with reported pertussis to date in 2024, Lane County leads with 64 cases, followed by Multnomah (41), Clackamas (33), Deschutes (15), Washington (13), and Jefferson (8). Three other counties have also seen cases. School-aged children and adolescents account for 92 (52%) of cases. Among them, only 51 (55%) are up to date with recommended pertussis vaccinations.

Infants are at highest risk of pertussis-related complications and death, and they have the highest reported incidence rate. Between 2003 and 2023, infants accounted for 12% of cases and 76% of pertussis hospitalizations. And Oregon pertussis deaths have been limited to infants – five have occurred since 2003.

Babies too young to have been fully vaccinated are most likely to be hospitalized with pertussis. Cieslak said that pregnant people can protect their young babies by getting Tdap vaccine – which protects a person against tetanus, diphtheria and pertussis – at 27–36 weeks’ gestation. The mothers will make antibodies and pass them to their babies across the placenta, protecting them from birth. Among 16 infant cases reported in Oregon to date in 2024, only one mother had a documented dose of Tdap during the pregnancy.

When an infant or pregnant person is in the household of someone with pertussis, all household members should receive a course of antibiotics effective against Bordetella pertussis – typically, a five-day course of azithromycin.

Vaccination against pertussis is routinely recommended for infants, children, adolescents and adults. Children should receive the DTaP vaccine against diphtheria, tetanus and pertussis at 2, 4, 6 and 15 to 18 months, and again at age 4 to kindergarten age.

All persons ages 10 and older should receive a single dose of Tdap.

 

An organization formally known as “Parents Demanding School Shooting Safety” has sent a notice to the Ashland School District of their intention for legal action.

A coalition of concerned parents is set to hold a press conference outside the Ashland School District offices, where they will publicly address multiple legal actions against the Ashland School District and the Oregon Department of Education on Wednesday.

The coalition is focusing on three key issues: neglecting recommended safety assessments, preventing school shooting exercises and blocking qualified school shooting safety plans.

“We allege the school board and/or school authorities was reported by multiple anecdotal accounts that the Ashland School District hindered the Ashland Police Department’s ability to carry out shooting exercises on school premises outside of regular school hours,” the coalition wrote. “By denying permission for the Ashland Police Department to practice their response to a school tragedy, the school district has put our students in even greater danger. (The Ashland School District) has failed to comply with the guidelines and recommendations set by the Oregon Department of Education.”

Officials from the Ashland School District did not immediately comment.

 

Campbell Soup Company announced this week that they will close their Tualatin plant and lay off all 330 workers over the next year.

The company says the facility will close by July 26, 2026, and will happen in three phases.

According to a press release from Campbell, the closure is part of a plan to invest in and transform its supply chain to fuel business growth, improve return on invested capital, and enhance the overall effectiveness and efficiency of its manufacturing and distribution network.

Officials say the aging facility and inefficient nature of the site’s configuration can no longer support the increased consumer demand and continued business growth.

The first phase is set to happen by August 2nd of this year. The company says 120 employees will be laid off on that day.
Dozens of Oregon wineries and vineyards have sued PacifiCorp over the deadly 2020 wildfires that ravaged the state, alleging that the utility’s decision to not turn off power during the Labor Day windstorm contributed to blazes whose smoke and soot damaged their grapes and reduced their harvest and sales.

In the latest lawsuit to hit the utility over the fires, some 30 wineries and vineyards in the Willamette Valley accused PacifiCorp of negligence and requested over $100 million in damages. The suit was filed in Multnomah County Circuit Court last week.

In an emailed statement, PacifiCorp said it is “committed to settling all reasonable claims for damages as provided under Oregon law.”

“The safety of our customers and communities remains our top priority,” the statement said.

The wine producers named as plaintiffs in the suit are located in the Willamette Valley, home to two-thirds of Oregon wineries and vineyards and the oldest wine region in the state, according to the Oregon Wine Board.

In their complaint, the wine producers say the fires “produced harmful smoke particles that landed on and infused themselves into the grapes.”

Vineyards couldn’t sell their grapes to winemakers, and wineries have been unable to sell their wines, resulting in lost revenue and damaged reputations, the complaint says.

 

At least 20 people have been sickened after eating mussels they gathered at Short Beach near Oceanside, Hug Point, and near Seaside.

Oregon Fish and Wildlife has shut down mussel harvesting from Washington to Seal Rock State Park because high levels of a naturally occurring biotoxin has been found in mussels. The Oregon Health Authority says anyone with mussels harvested from that area should throw them away.

Anyone experiencing symptoms after eating mussels that include numbness of the mouth and lips, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, weakness and in severe cases shortness of breath or irregular heartbeat should immediately get medical help.

 

The state of Oregon has a goal of keeping health care cost increases in line with inflation. Between 2021 and 2022, health care costs in Oregon grew three-point-six percent, which is slightly above the cost growth target of three-point-four percent.

The increases were driven by higher hospital outpatient services, behavioral health services, and changes in how providers were paid. Retail pharmacy spending increased two-point-nine percent, despite more than one-billion dollars in pharmacy rebates.

 

Fish For Free on June 1st

Everyone can fish, clam and crab for free this weekend in Oregon. No fishing, shellfish licenses or tags are required on June 1st or 2nd. You do need to following regulations, closures and bag limits. The Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife has increased stocking of rainbow trout in ponds and lakes. Oregon State Parks also offers free parking and camping on Saturday June 1st.

 

A weekend fight involving dozens of prisoners at Oregon’s largest prison prompted security officials to fire back-to-back warning shots in a recreation yard and sent a portion of the prison into lockdown, corrections officials said.

Nearly 240 men were in one of the three recreation yards at Snake River Correctional Institution in Ontario when a fight broke out Saturday afternoon between two of them, Oregon Department of Corrections spokesperson Amber Campbell said.

The two were removed from the yard and a larger fight between nearly 70 other prisoners ensued, she said.

Corrections officers verbally ordered the men to stop “the aggressive behavior,” she said. An officer then fired a single shot into a designated pit in the yard. The brawl continued, prompting the officer to fire a second warning, which broke up the fight.

The agency notified the Oregon State Police, which reviewed the fight and turned the matter back to the Department of Corrections for an internal administrative investigation. Corrections officials opened an internal security review of the firing of warning shots, Campbell said.

 

       
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 on Monday, the NBA announced.

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.

 

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.

       
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.

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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