Recent News and Events, July, 2019

ACLU Oregon
Victory for youth justice reform

Oregon’s youth justice reform bill signed into law

Governor Kate Brown recently signed the historic juvenile justice reform bill — Senate Bill 1008 — into law, ensuring that our youth justice system focuses on education, rehabilitation, and opportunity, not prison. People like you made hundreds of phone calls and sent thousands of emails to legislators to help pass this important legislation.

Oregonians believe that our youth justice system should focus on prevention and rehabilitation, and value forgiveness and second chances. Senate Bill 1008 passed with bipartisan support. Now Oregon will end the practice of automatically trying youth as adults for certain crimes, will ensure all youth convicted of a crime will receive a chance at parole, and provide youth with the best chance to repair the damage they’ve caused, while also healing their own trauma and getting them the help they need.

Thanks for sticking with us,

ACLU of Oregon

Note that our Klamath County League engaged in a year-long study on criminal justice and immigration issues, including juvenile justice, in 2018-19, which will be presented as a complete report by the end of 2019.

Medford Guest View

Jordan Cove has underestimated Oregonians

Pembina Pipeline Corporation, the Canadian company behind the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas (LNG) terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline, thought it had Oregon pegged. Since inheriting the project from Veresen in 2017, Pembina has taken the attitude of a benevolent benefactor taking pity on a rural, economically depressed region.

On July 5, the comment period on the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for the project ended. Many of the original comments, submitted by state agencies, county commissioners, tribal members, landowners, fishermen, conservation organizations, climate activists and Oregon citizens, pointed out inaccuracies, errors and vague or inadequate statements about how the company plans to mitigate the project’s negative impacts. Looks like Pembina has some ’splaining to do.

During an investors meeting in May, Pembina CEO Michael Dilger said he thought Oregon state agencies were “overwhelmed” by the project application for Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector. “ they haven’t seen billion-dollar projects, let alone billion-dollar hydrocarbon projects,” he said. “Their regulators aren’t quite capable of this.”

In fact, Oregon agencies, including the Department of Geology and Mineral Industries (DOGAMI), Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ), and Department of State Lands (DSL) have consistently pushed the company to supply additional information, correct inaccuracies and supplement vague statements with specific details. In late 2017, DOGAMI submitted comments to the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), pointing out “insufficiencies in the scientific and engineering analyses related to geologic hazards.” This spring, DEQ denied the project water quality certification, and DSL sent Pembina a nine-page letter requesting additional information. Most recently, Oregon agencies collectively submitted over 200 pages of comments to FERC, stating numerous concerns about the project’s safety, environmental consequences and impacts to landowners, and recommending that FERC balance the project’s predicted economic benefits with its negative consequences, which include higher domestic natural gas prices and property devalued by the pipeline.

Pembina has sent land agents to ply landowners with ever-increasing offers for easements for the 36-inch pipeline. Some landowners report these agents used underhanded tactics to persuade them to sell: misrepresenting the percentage of easements already secured, declaring that the project was a “done deal,” and even threatening some property owners with eminent domain.

Nonetheless, at least 90 private landowners have refused to sign easement agreements. Over the protracted process, several have become skilled organizers and experts on the regulatory process — a great expenditure of time, money and emotional energy. In its information request, the DSL referred to the “substantial comments” of several individuals, many of them landowners, and it was the arguments of landowners that contributed to FERC’s denial of the project in 2016.

Before the 2018 election, the company donated heavily to Oregon Political Action Committees (PACs) and to several individual candidates in Coos County. While some elected officials have capitulated, others maintain the project is bad for their constituents. Jackson County commissioners decided the project is not worth the risks, even though the county would receive an estimated $5.3 million annually in property tax revenue from Pembina. In comments to FERC, commissioners summarized their concerns, which include negative impacts to waterways and drinking water wells, the lack of a wildfire mitigation plan, and the use of eminent domain in exchange for no clear public benefits.

In fall of 2018, Pembina launched a multi-million dollar PR blitz. In a blizzard of glossy brochures and deluge of radio and television ads, Pembina presented itself as a friendly “neighbor” blessing southwest Oregon with an environmentally benign project and promising a windfall of jobs.

Most Oregonians saw through the slick messaging. In fact, recent polling shows that opposition to the project across the state, regardless of political affiliation, is stronger than ever. The poll, yet to be released, includes a question about Jordan Cove that is worded similarly to a question from a 2018 poll. While the percentage of those opposing the project held steady at 57 percent, the portion of those who strongly oppose the project grew from 30 to 35 percent. At the same time, support fell from 22 to 19 percent, and only 4 percent say they strongly support the project.

By the time FERC makes its final decision on Jordan Cove next January, Oregon will have been dealing with the threat of this project for 15 years. The protracted process is not only testing our mettle, it is showing us who we are. Whether rural or urban, young or old, conservative, liberal or something in between, Oregonians can’t be bought, and we can’t be fooled.

Deb Evans is an affected landowner who owns timber property in Klamath County. Juliet Grable is a writer who lives in Jackson County.

–originally published Sunday, July 21st 2019 in the Medford Oregon Mail Tribune. The authors are LWV members.

Klamath and Rogue members meet for lunch

Klamath County and Rogue valley Women meet for joint discussions

On July 21, 2019 nearly 20 women and men from Klamath County and Rogue Valley met for lunch and discussions at the Greensprings Inn on Highway 66. Friendships were made and renewed, mutual concerns were discussed, and connections were made for mutual support. Everyone enjoyed the lunch and relaxed atmosphere so much that they agreed to try to make this an annual summer event.

statewide health care coverage law, July 17, 2019

SB 770 was in the logjam of bills while the Senate Rs walked out. But yesterday and today the Senate and House managed to pass, under suspension of the rules, our bill. To get the details go to
https://olis.leg.state.or.us/liz/2019R1/Measures/Overview/SB770?pubDate=2019-06-30-16-11
You can see the history and who voted how at various points.
This is great news. When the Governor signs it and starts to appoint members of the Taskforce/Commission we can monitor the process and hopefully be involved at appropriate times.

LWV Klamath Joins in DEIS pipeline comments

On July 4, a joint statement in opposition to the Jordan Cover Pipeline was submitted by four local LWV chapters, including Klamath County. You may read the introduction to the document below and read the complete document HERE. We are proud of our participation in this important work and will remain active in following up on all developments until this issue is resolved.

We write representing the League of Women Voters of Coos County (LWVCC), LWV of
Umpqua Valley (LWVUV), LWV of Rogue Valley (LWVRV), and LWV of Klamath County
(LWVKC). We are grassroots nonpartisan, political organizations operating in the four counties in Oregon that would be directly affected by the construction and operations of the proposed Jordan Cove Liquefied Natural Gas (JCLNG) and Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline (PCGP), commonly referred to collectively as the Jordan Cove Energy Project (JCEP). Our detailed review of the Draft Environmental Impact Statement (DEIS) for this project shows that the projects are in direct conflict with many of the state and national League of Women Voters positions.

Since the 1950s, the League has been in the forefront of efforts to protect air, land, and water resources. The League of Women Voters of the United States (LWVUS) “believes that natural resources should be managed as interrelated parts of life-supporting ecosystems. Resources should be conserved and protected to assure their future availability. Pollution of these resources should be controlled in order to preserve the physical, chemical and biological integrity of ecosystems and to protect public health.” The League of Women Voters of Oregon (LWVOR) “ . . . opposes degradation of all of Oregon’s surface and ground water. . . .” and declares that climate change is the greatest environmental challenge of our generation. The following resolution passed almost unanimously at the 2018 National LWV Convention: “The League of Women Voters supports a set of climate assessment criteria that ensures that energy
policies align with current climate science. These criteria require that the latest climate science be used to evaluate proposed energy policies and major projects [emphasis added] in light of the globally-agreed-upon goal of limiting global warming to 1.5 degrees C, informed by the successful spirit of global cooperation as affirmed in the UN COP 21 Paris agreement.” Finally, at the 2019 LWVOR Convention, a resolution declaring a “climate emergency” passed unanimously. We, as local Leagues, are part of the national and state LWV. Based on these positions and our understanding of the likely impacts of the proposed JCEP on critical environmental resources and communities in our areas, the LWVCC, LWVUV, LWVRV, and LWVKC submit jointly this comment on the DEIS for the JCEP project.

On the basis of LWV positions and for reasons we provide in this comment, we respectfully but strenuously urge the FERC to deny with prejudice any and all permits and approvals sought by the JCEP within your jurisdiction.

Recent news and events: May- June, 2019

Recent news: DC statehood push

House committee to hold hearing on DC statehood bill this summer

Read the article at CNN HERE. This is an example of a non-partisan voter support issue that the League endorses and promotes.

Get Off Your Duff: Political Volunteering With a Disability

Read this article at New Mobility. The League actively supports voter rights and action at every level. Learn how you can help promote voting rights at the local or state level.

LWV Klamath county supports climate change lawsuit: June 4, 2019

Several members of the LWV Klamath County including Leslie Lowe, Diane Eastman-Shockey, and Courtney Neubauer gathered in front of the LNG pipeline offices to hand out 25 copies of this HANDOUT.

They received lots of thumbs up from drivers.  Even better, they observed no negative behaviors in pedestrians or drivers.  7 people total came to hold signs.  They accomplished what they set out to do, which was bring awareness of this lawsuit to our community. 
Event Signage was created by Teresa Wilson and Leslie Lowe.

lwv Oregon State Convention, Ashland, OR may 17-19

Two members of the LWV Klamath County attended the recent state convention to represent our rural area. Emily Strauss and Julie Ryder attended the day-and-a half- series of meetings to share, listen, and vote on business. Read a summary of the convention HERE.

League Endorses Creation of National Democracy Month

LWV-US takes action for democracy

6/5/2019

The League recently sent a letter to U.S. Senators encouraging them to support and pass a resolution making September National Democracy Month. This is an example of how the League works to promote democracy and voting rights for everyone. If you’re interested in supporting this work, contribute to the League, contact your Senator, or keep informed about the progress of this initiative.

letter to u.s. senators


Dear Senator:

The League of Women Voters, with affiliates in communities across your state, joins four former Senate Majority Leaders, Bob Dole, George Mitchell, Tom Daschle, and Trent Lott, who serve on the board of the American Democracy Month Council (ADMC) in urging your co-sponsorship of a bipartisan Senate resolution to establish September 2019 as National Democracy Month. Also joining in this effort are many distinguished members of the ADMC’s Advisory Board, including George Stephanopoulos, John Negroponte, Tony Blinken, Norm Ornstein, Olympia Snowe, and Tom Korologos, among others.

The Resolution is being introduced by the Chairman and Ranking Minority Member of the Senate Judiciary Committee, Lindsey Graham and Dianne Feinstein, respectively. The similar resolution passed last year with 25% of the Senate joining as co-sponsors.

history of the league of women voters

Born out of the movement that gave women the right to vote, the League of Women Voters is the only organization founded before the 19th Amendment that is still in existence today. Our mission of empowering voters and defending democracy puts us on the front lines of civic engagement and voter empowerment. There is growing awareness of the need to reform and support our democracy in our country. The 2018 election was a referendum in support of our democracy, but there is still much work to be done. We believe that the declaration of September as Democracy Month will also pair well with National Voter Registration Day (NVRD), a day where grassroots organizations work together to register voters. The League has maintained the status as the largest on the ground partner when registering voters in communities across the country on this day. Just as Black History Month helped educate Americans about African American history, so too National Democracy Month will focus American citizens on a revitalization of civic education and understanding and appreciation for our democracy.

To co-sponsor the resolution, please contact Blair Bjellos of Chairman Graham’s staff at Blair_Bjellos@judiciary-rep.senate.gov or Christopher Gaspar in Senator Feinstein’s office at Christopher_Gaspar@feinstein.senate.gov.

We look forward to hearing of your co-sponsorship of this important resolution.

                                                                Sincerely,

                                                                Chris Carson

                                                                President

Fundraising luncheon

  • Good news: We’re not raising our dues next year!
  • Good news: We’re working hard on our new website and Newsletter.
  • Result: We need $660 next year to operate.
  • Result: We need to raise funds! We’ve already received two contributions for a total of $160, leaving only $500 more to raise! WILL YOU HELP US?

We’re having a luncheon.

Who: The first 16 people who contribute $50 or more by August

Where: Leslie Lowe’s home and garden

When: September, 2019 date to be announced

What: Home catered food from our wonderful member-chefs

How: Write a check to “LWV Klamath County” and send to:

8880 Tingley Lane, Klamath Falls OR 97603

Don’t want to attend but want to help?

You can still contribute any amount by sending a check to the address above. We are happy for any contribution– $5? $10?

Rural Organizing Project, Community Action

rural organizing project

The Rural Organizing Project is a grass-roots organization that seeks to advocate democracy in Rural Oregon. It began in 1991 and today works in many areas. These include

  • Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement. ROP in partnership with Political Research Associates is releasing Up in Arms: A Guide to Oregon’s Patriot Movement. This is a groundbreaking toolkit designed to provide resources and tools to Oregon’s small towns and rural communities. These towns are under often siege from militias and other Patriot movements.
  • Rural Organizing Voices. Rural Organizing Voices is an oral history project to document and share the stories, lessons, organizing tools and wisdom amassed through ROP’s 26-year history of grassroots organizing in rural and small town Oregon.
  • Democracy & Civic Participation. ROP and Human Dignity Groups promote year-round rural civic engagement. This builds power on local, state and national levels and facilitates democratic participation in our communities.

upcoming local action

Courtney Neubauer, local organizer working with ROP and newly seated on the LWV Klamath County Board, is putting on a policy and karaoke night at El Palacio’s Mexican Restaurant May 18th, 2019 6-10pm. She will have tables set up so the public can learn about Paid Family Medical Leave, Driver’s Licenses for All, and No-LNG. All of the tables will be set up so that anyone can send their representative a postcard and share their opinion. There will also be an opportunity for folks to say what policy issues they want to learn about in the future! The RSVP form is: http://bit.ly/MayPolicyParty and the FB event is: https://www.facebook.com/events/1250988618384238/?active_tab=about

You may contact Courtney directly by email for further information.

Results of Annual meeting, 2019

Results of the annual meeting: our members and board met on April 18, 2019 for dinner and the annual meeting at the delightful new Terra Veg vegan restaurant on E. Main St. Our guest speaker was Klamath Falls mayor Carol Westfall, who spoke to us about city issues and what’s it’s like to be a woman in power in this traditionally male-dominated city political structure.

new study approved

During the meeting, members and board voted to begin a new study project next year. This will deal with the issue of merging the Klamath Falls city boundary with the “Urban Growth” boundary. The concept is to merge these two boundaries to form a single entity.

The League understands that various people in Klamath Falls have discussed this issue for many years but it has always faced partisan opposition from various groups due to a number of issues including taxation, provision of infrastructure, and public safety. Now the league would like to focus on identifying major stakeholders who should ultimately meet to resolve this issue. The goal would be to speak to all the relevant parties to try to form a basis for a committee to work together. This committee could bring issues to the ballot or otherwise work to merge these boundaries.

other decisions

The board will consider new board members and officers at the next regular meeting. Courtney Neubauer was elected to serve on the board. Leslie Lowe will continue as Treasurer, Karen Kunz will continue as Secretary. The position of President will become open and will be determined at the meeting of May 16.

LWV’s Position Paper on Climate Change

position paper on climate change, US map

position paper on climate change

The LWV’s position on climate change is important for all league members and voters interested in this issue.

Recently the LWV US has added a Toolkit of information for league members and other interested parties regarding the League’s position on Climate Change. The recent League Update included Talking Points on the Green New Deal, which can be found HERE.

Here you can read about the League’s Position Paper on climate change as of January, 2019. It includes several resolutions that provide further guidance and emphasis for Leagues wishing to engage in climate action. Here is where state and local leagues may find information and language to use when contacting local legislators. It also gives guidance on how to influence their support of federal legislation on climate change.

This is another example of how national and state leagues work together to support position papers developed after close study. When you join our Klamath County League, you also join the national league and lend your voice to discussions of national issues such as climate change.

climate change

Annual Meeting April 18, 2019

April 18, 2019 6:30 PM Terra Veg vegan restaurant, 249 E. Main Street, Klamath Falls

Join us for an informal dinner and meeting to elect officers and decide on major study issues for the upcoming year. This year we will visit the newly-opened vegan restaurant, created by the former chef at Leap of Taste, Liz Arraj, featuring Mediterranean, Spanish, Greek, Middle Eastern, Central-Italian cuisines. We will be there after regular hours, and will order from a list of special items. Expect dinner to cost around $10-$15. For more information and to RSVP, contact Leslie Lowe.

LWV joins LNG demonstration

LWV joins with Indivisible Klamath in demonstration
Demonstrating against LNG pipeline

On Thursday March 28, 2019, several members of LWV Klamath County joined with others to demonstrate against the proposed LNG pipeline. This was part of our continuing efforts to engage in activities relevant to our community. Attending were Valerie Lenardson, Diane Eastman -Shockey, Christina Pasillas, Julie Ryder, Leslie Lowe,  and former LWV member Barbara Turk. 

For further information: Indivisible Klamath

According to a recent Klamath Indivisible press release:

  • The proposed Pacific Connector gas pipeline would be built across public and private lands. After 13 years, 60 landowners object to this pipeline and could have their land seized by eminent domain;
  • The pipeline would cross 485 rivers, streams and wetlands including the Rogue, Klamath and Umpqua rivers, and impact the fishing and tourist industries;
  • Constructing the pipeline would require clear-cutting a 95-foot buffer through public lands, impacting a region with significant fire and earthquake hazards;
  • The pipeline would carry 1.6 billion cubic feet of fracked gas per year;
  • Despite Pembina’s claims in its thousands of TV ads and mailers, LNG pipelines are not safe. Gas pipelines and facilities are highly explosive, and have resulted in injuries, deaths and evacuations;
  • The pipeline would end at a huge refinery called Jordan Cove, built at Coos Bay, on our pristine and protected Oregon coast;
  • The project threatens cultural resources, traditional tribal territories and burial grounds of the Karuk, Yurok and Klamath Tribes. They oppose the project;
  • The project would not result in additional jobs. An estimated 1,000 temporary workers would be involved with the construction, most from out of state;
  • Promoting more Liquified Natural Gas is a huge step backward for fighting climate change. Fracking wells produce substantial amounts of methane which could be worse than coal in a 20-year timeframe. The U.S. Department of Energy says shipping natural gas from the U.S. to Asia could end up being worse than if China simply built a new power plant and burned its own coal supplies. And the terminal would become the largest source of climate pollution in the state;
  • The project benefits two foreign interests: Pembina, a Canadian fossil fuels company, and the Asian markets that will receive the LNG shipped from Jordan Cove.

Here is information from Pembina, Inc. Pipeline proposal

Pembina continues to progress its proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal in Coos Bay, Oregon, and the related Pacific Connector Gas Pipeline that will transport natural gas from the Malin Hub in southern Oregon to the export terminal. In September 2017, the Company filed applications with the United States Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC) for the construction and operation of Jordan Cove.  The Company received a FERC Notice of Schedule during Q3 2018 and based on that notice, currently anticipates a final FERC decision on Jordan Cove in November of 2019.  Pembina continues to anticipate first gas in 2024, pending the receipt of the necessary regulatory approvals, a positive final investment decision and other requirements.

Project highlights:

  • 7.8 MMTPA (~1.3 Bcf/d) greenfield liquefied natural gas export facility
  • Price competitive with USGC brownfield on a delivered into Tokyo basis
  • 9 days shipping to Tokyo with no hurricane risk or Panama Canal risk
  • Access to long-term and diverse natural gas supply from WCSB and US Rockies
  • Large-scale existing regional gas transportation network
  • ~229 mile (~369 km) greenfield pipeline to connect Malin Hub in southern Oregon to Jordan Cove Terminal