KWSO News for 2/18/20

$4.5 Million in grants to 13 new fish passage, wildlife habitat and water quality improvement projects across central Oregon has been announced by Portland General Electric (PGE) and the Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs. As reported by, Over the past 15 years, PGE and the Confederated Tribes – co-managers of the three-dam Pelton Round Butte Hydroelectric Project near Madras – have distributed $26.5 million through a joint fund earmarked to support a healthy environment for fish and wildlife in the Deschutes basin. The 2020 cycle represents the fifth round of grants from this fund, which PGE and the Tribes established in 2005 during federal relicensing of the hydroelectric project. Pelton Round Butte is the largest hydro project located entirely within Oregon and generates enough emissions-free electric power to serve a city the size of Salem. Individual grants range in size from $51,000 to $1.25 million.  A link to the complete list will be on KWSO News posted today.

A group of rural Oregonians is pursuing local ballot initiatives to have most counties outside the Willamette Valley join the state of Idaho. JPR’s April Ehrlich reports. “The “Greater Idaho” movement is the latest separatist initiative to have some regions leave the state of Oregon. But volunteer petitioner Mike McCarter of La Pine says this one differs from similar movements, like the state of Jefferson or Cascadia, in that it’s asking individual counties if they want to join an already existing state. “And it’s not to build Idaho greater. It’s to take the rural conservative part of Oregon and put it under governance that is more conservative than what’s coming out of Salem right now.” If successful, 18 counties in southern and eastern Oregon would see ballot initiatives this November asking voters if they want to join Idaho. Next, they’ll have to see if Idaho will accept them.”

Livestock owners hit by this month’s devastating flooding in northeastern Oregon are getting bales of hay donated by other farmers and ranchers so they can feed their animals. Twenty bales of hay were delivered Thursday and more came over the weekend. A local club of off-roading enthusiasts named Tollgate Off-Road and Recovery Club is making deliveries to livestock owners along the Umatilla River and South Fork Walla Walla River who suffered flood damage on February 6.

State energy regulators have found a hazardous waste facility has been illegally dumping radioactive materials in Oregon for years. Monica Samayoa [sah-mah-YO-ah] reports. “Chemical Waste Management Arlington illegally dumped into its landfill over two million pounds of radioactive materials it received from a North Dakota company. The company — Goodnight Midstream is a provider to the fracking industry. It contracted a third party company, Oilfield Waste Logistics— known as OWL— to dispose of its solid wastes. Ken Niles with the Oregon Department of Energy says they received a tip from someone in North Dakota in September. OWL had in fact been sending waste for a period of about three years totally about 1284 tons of waste. The state had not issued any fines but expects Chemical Waste Management to complete a risk assessment plan by the end of April.  Parent company Waste Management Inc. did not respond to a request for comment. Reporting from Portland, I’m Monica Samayoa”

In Local Sports: The Madras High School Lady Buffs traveled to North Marion on Friday and fell 39-32, their leading scorers were Jiana Smith-Francis with 13 points and Dominique Walker with 8. Their next game is today, hosting Gladstone, tip-off is at 7pm, you can catch that game Live here on KWSO, with a victory the Lady Buffs would be tied for 2nd with Gladstone in the Tri-Valley Conference, they beat Gladstone earlier in the season 67-55. The Buff Boys Basketball hosted North Marion on Friday and lost 55-48, led by Dapri Miller with 19 points and Donnie Bagley with 11. Next up they are on the road to Gladstone today, with tip-off at 7pm, the Boys are currently 3rd in the Tri-Valley conference and 3 games behind Gladstone in the League, they fell to Gladstone earlier in the season 72-41. The Warm Springs K-8 Girls Basketball teams are in action today, hosting Maupin, with games starting at 3:45pm.

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