KWSO News for 4/16/20

The Confederated Tribes of Warm Springs Branch of Public Utilities has announced that the Kah-Nee-Ta Hamlets are without water until later today, due to a water main break.  To conduct repairs safely, an electric power pole needs to be de-energized and removed.  It is located over the water main that needs to be fixed to restore water flow.  Wasco Electric will be on site to take care of the power pole today.  Warm Springs Public Utilities water crew can then make the repair to the water main.  Once repairs are made and water is restored, a boil water notice will be issued for the Kah-Nee-Ta Hamlets, and Bac-T testing will be done with samples sent to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The EPA will review test results and once samples are good to go – they will lift the boil water notice.

The 509-J school district issued a letter to the Madras High School Seniors on April 9th, letting them know how graduation will be handled moving forward. If you had met all graduation credit requirements as of March 13th, you will be granted a diploma. If you still need to earn credit towards graduation, a teacher and counselor will be in touch with you to describe how to complete all requirements. There have been no decisions on graduation ceremonies yet, the school will be in contact with Seniors as they gather more information. The Madras High School will be letting Madras High School students check out a chromebook if needed to complete coursework or if you are a Senior taking college level or AP course. You may check one out at the Madras High School today from 9:30am-11am. Just a reminder, chromebooks will be checked out to Madras High School students only.

The Largest dam-removal project in history could restore salmon runs on the Klamath River, where numbers are far below historic averages. Advocates for salmon hope the timeline holds for the dam removal, saying it’s a race against time to make sure some salmon species don’t go extinct. It’s the largest removal project in U-S history and will demolish four dams in southern Oregon and northern California. In the Klamath Basin, coho salmon populations have fallen as much as 95 percent and the spring chinook run has dropped by 98 percent. Wild Salmon Center science director Matthew Sloat says fish face additional pressure from a warming climate. He notes that not long ago, the Klamath River was the third most productive salmon system on the West Coast. “It has the potential to regain a large part of that productive potential if we’re smart about how we manage the system and diligent about recovering the habitat in the fish populations there.” The removal is supported by dam owner PacifiCorp because of the crumbling conditions of the dams. But farmers in southern Oregon worry it could set a dangerous precedent for the two dams that aren’t slated for removal and are important for irrigation. Demolition could begin as soon as 2022.

Cascades East Transit (CET) has announced changes to service that will be effective starting on Monday April 20th. Passengers will be required to wear a face covering such as a mask, scarf, or bandana when boarding a CET Bus. Community Connector services will operate on Saturday schedules during weekdays. All Saturday Bend fixed route and Community Connector Services are suspended as well as Saturday and Sunday Dial a ride service. Bend fixed route weekday service will continue to operate on a Saturday schedule, which went into effect on April 6th. Route 10 is suspended until further notice. Schedule information and notices can be found on the CET website at

COVID-19 relief funds need to be administered quickly – and fairly – to Native American tribes, say Oregon lawmakers. As KLCC’s Brian Bull reports, Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden want stimulus aid to not adhere to a population-based formula. “The Oregon Democrats argue that such a formula limits tribes’ abilities to help their respective communities. Most are small, scattered, and in rural areas where infrastructure and services are often underfunded and dated. Senator Wyden: Ron Wyden: “The tribes have been hit very hard, both from a health and economic standpoint.” Chris Mercier [mer-seer] is a tribal councilmember with the Confederated Tribes of the Grand Ronde. He says because of pandemic measures, they’ve had to close down their casino which was their primary economic generator. Chris Mercier: “There’s a lot of uncertainty and we feel comfortable with where we’re at right now, but staying closed indefinitely could have some pretty dire consequences for our tribal government.” Mercier says he’s not sure what form direct aid from the federal government will look like, just that they’re hoping it arrives soon. I’m Brian Bull reporting in Eugene.

For those who prefer to listen to their KWSO News Broadcast, Press Play Below: