Writings and observations

idaho RANDY
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Oregon

The headline on the March 5 (this year) press release from the U.S. Department of Interior, about the just-worked-out Klamath water agreement, was, “Historic Agreement Reached on Upper Klamath Basin Water.”

The release continued, “The Klamath Tribes, the U.S. Department of the Interior, Oregon Governor John Kitzhaber, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden, Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley, and Upper Klamath Basin irrigators announced today that they have completed negotiations on the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement.”

You might think that would be enough to seal the deal. And as it was, the deal was not wildly sweeping; it seems as much as anything else a level to keep the lid on things a while. Its leading elements were: “A Water Use Program that will increase stream flows in the tributaries above Upper Klamath Lake – adding at least 30,000 acre feet annually to inflows to the lake, while creating a stable, predictable setting for agriculture to continue in the Upper Klamath Basin; A Riparian Program that will improve and protect riparian conditions in order to help restore fisheries; and an Economic Development Program for the Klamath Tribes.”

But this is Klamath Falls, and the subject is water, and under those conditions it’s unwise to ever consider anything settled even if for just a little while.

Last month, the Klamath County Commission went on record against the congressional legislation intended to implement the agreement. Last month the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee okayed it, but since then odds of passage appear to have been diminished.

That doesn’t mean all the other participants, from the Klamath Tribes (which do have some bones to pick) to the Klamath Falls city council, have worked away.

The Medford Mail Tribune, editorializing, argued that “It’s vitally important to the Basin’s future that the agreements are approved, and that the best chance of doing it is in the lame-duck session of the current congress rather than waiting for a new congress, including new members unfamiliar with the Basin’s water issues.”

But the paper also noted that, for the near term at least, time may be running out. And it may.

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Oregon Oregon column

Tillicum

 
Starting December 4 a second test of the aesthetic lighting on the Tilikum Crossing, Bridge of the People will take place. It will test the full spectrum of colors and the subtle motion that will change with the seasons and the activity of the Willamette River. The aesthetic lighting was created by artists Douglas Hollis and the late Anna Valentina Murch for the Portland-Milwaukie Light Rail Transit Project’s Public Art Program. The public can view the lights from both sides of the Willamette River near the bridge. (photo/Tri-Met)

 
No lack of protests in the Seattle-Portland areas last week, not just up north in Seattle but plenty in Portland too. They may, in the Portland fashion, continue for a while.

With the Idaho legislature organized, lawmakers return home for a month of preparation for the three months or so of session. So too will the lobbyists, several times in number compared to the legislators. Bills are being readied for introduction. We’ll keep a look out.

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Briefings

news

Here’s what public affairs news made the front page of newspapers in the Northwest today, excluding local crime, features and sports stories. (Newspaper names contracted with location)

Boise looks at its eventual library building plan (Boise Statesman)
Cheatgrass tackled by feds and others (Boise Statesman, Nampa Press Tribune)
Nampa district may contract with Teach for America (Nampa Press Tribune)
Looking at Idaho Right to Work after 30 years (TF Times News)
TF will get plasma donor center (TF Times News)
Teach for America trying to start in Idaho (TF Times News)

New Junction City psych hospital almost done (Eugene Register Guard)
Timing running out for O&C bill (Medford Tribune)
Looking at anti-GMO history at San Juan islands (Medford Tribune)
Call to open supermarket inspection reports (Salem Statesman Journal)
Public asked to see statehouse renovation plan (Salem Statesman Journal)

No change in Port Orchard nuisance codes (Bremerton Sun)
Complex issues related to new geoduck farm (Bremerton Sun)
Is Koster impartial enough to be Snohomish ombudsman? (Everett Herald)
Waiting lists for jail are shortening (Everett Herald)
PUD officials fat contracts shot down after outrage (Longview News)
Mentally ill delays mostly not excessive (Olympian)
Another delay in reviving Bertha (Seattle Times)
King County man tested but has no Ebola (Seattle Times)
Car owners no longer have to replace license plates (Spokane Spokesman)

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First Take