LWV Klamath New Observers Corps

What is it?

Protecting our right to know is integral to the health of our democracy. Decisions that determine how our schools will be run, at what level community safety programs will be funded, and how land in our towns will be used impact our lives and are vital to our well-being. These kinds of decisions need to be made with public input and oversight. One important way to ensure that is to observe government meetings.


The League has been a champion of government transparency since our founding in 1920. It is one of our core principles and a vital part of our mission. Our efforts in this area reinforce our reputation of fairness, nonpartisanship
and trust. League members attend governmental meetings to learn what their government is doing and to monitor whether those meetings are conducted in an open and transparent way. Experience has shown the importance of the League being present to watch—and to take action when necessary.

—from the LWV document, Observing Your Government in Action

How does it Work?

Why does The League have an Observer Corps?

  • To watch government in action
  • To let public bodies/agencies know that citizens are interested
  • To keep the League up-to-date with government
  • To uphold the public’s right to be present at meetings of public bodies/agencies
  • To learn about local government from the source
  • To establish good public relations for the League
  • To alert the League to possibilities for action on positions
  • To become aware of emerging issues for program planning
  • To be informed, enlightened and fascinated  

What does the Observer do?

  • Regularly attends (or watches on Public Access) meetings of any selected public body (some common examples are: City Councils, County Supervisors, School Boards)- see below
  • Acquires a background about the function, powers, and operations of that agency
  • Figures out where to find relevant documents in addition to agendas and minutes such as plans, ordinances, maps, references, etc.
  • Become familiar with League program positions
  • Factually reports on those selected public body meetings using an Observer report form and attaching any supporting documents

What is required of the Observer at one of these meetings?

  • Introduce yourself as a League Observer to the clerk or secretary
  • Wear a League button clearly identifying you as an Observer
  • Express no opinion (your own or the League’s) on any matter keeping as silent as possible
  • Keep an impartial and respectful attitude at all times  

What happens after?

  • Observer submits report to the Board
  • If the report states that action is needed then it is reviewed and a draft is presented to the board for approval
  • Action is taken or it is not taken
  • Action can only be taken if we have a local or vertical (State and National) position  

What happens to reports that do not recommend action?

  • The observers can use the information to keep the League membership abreast of emerging, continuing, and current issues
  • The reports can be used to continue to establish good public relations for the League

Who is involved?

A small group of members recently met to discuss how we would form an observers corps similar to what other state and local leagues do. We agreed that we would try to cover the following public meetings:

Klamath County Schools:

www.kcsd.k12.or.us/district/school-board.cfm – Can attend virtually

Board meetings are held at 3rd Thursday at 5 pm – 7 or 8 pm, depending on agenda length, at 2845 Greensprings Dr., Klamath Falls, OR

Klamath City Schools:  

www.kfalls.k12.or.us/page/board-of-education   – Can attend virtually –

Board meetings are held at 6:00 PM the 2nd Monday of each month (unless otherwise indicated) in the Boardroom of the Lucile O’Neill Education Center located at 1336 Avalon Street, Klamath Falls, Oregon

Klamath County Commissioners:

www.klamathcounty.org/151/Board-of-Commissioners 

Weekly Business Meeting held at 8:30 a.m. every Tuesday at Government Center 305 Main Street, Room 219, Klamath Falls, Oregon

Klamath Falls City Council:

www.klamathfalls.city/210/Mayor-Council

Held on the 1st and 3rd Monday of each month at 7pm, unless Monday is a legal Holiday, and then subsequently held on the following Tuesday at 7pm at City Hall Annex Building – Council Chambers, 500 Klamath Avenue, Klamath Falls, OR 97601

What Can You Do?

If you are available to go to even one of the meetings, that would be helpful.  Let us know.

This is the report form we’ve adopted for anyone observing a public meeting.

Health Reform and Social Justice: Opportunities for Reducing Inequity and Addressing Health Disparities

An Evening with Dr. Susan Rogers, President of Physicians for a National Health Program, October 6, 2021

LWV Klamath County was one of many leagues across the country which co-sponsored this ZOOM presentation.

For this event, the League hosted an evening with Dr. Susan Rogers, President of Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP). Dr. Rogers’s presentation included an overview of the U.S. health care system through a social justice lens, followed by a discussion highlighting disparities resulting from our current policies and opportunities to improve inequities through health reform. The forum concluded with an audience Q&A.

Dr. Rogers is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Rush University. She has recently retired from her hospitalist practice in Chicago at Stroger Hospital of Cook County. She has previously served as co-director of medical student teaching at Stroger and as Medical Director of Near North Health Service Corp, a Chicago FQHC. Most recently, Dr. Rogers spoke at the June California League of Women Voters Annual Convention, providing the presentation: “Health Care: Inequities and Opportunities”.

This forum aimed to educate voters about our current healthcare model and how it impacts local care access, affordability, quality and equity. Our guest speaker provideed insights into how health reform can improve each of these to optimize community health and wellness. The LWVDA supports the National League healthcare positions in support of an affordable, accessible, quality, and equitable health care system, critical for the health, safety and economic security of all communities. Becoming an informed voter is fundamental to ensuring the engagement needed to affect meaningful reform. The future of our community health and healthcare systems will rely upon votes cast by those with a better understanding of current needs and resources and our opportunities to enact needed change.

The Health Reform Forum recording is available here:
https://lwvdavisarea.org
and on You tube:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=huDne6aR4W8

why the league of women voters?

LWV Position: Health Care Reform

Every U.S. resident should have access to affordable, quality health care, including birth control and the privacy to make reproductive choices.  

Why it matters

The U.S. health care system should provide a basic level of quality health care at an affordable cost to all U.S. residents. Basic care includes disease prevention, primary care (including prenatal and reproductive health), acute long-term care, mental health care, as well as health promotion and education. Health care policy goals should include the equitable distribution of services and delivery of care, advancement of medical research and technology, and a reasonable total national expenditure level. 

What we’re doing

Over the past 20 years, we have lobbied for health care policy solutions, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to control costs and ensure a basic level of care for all. Throughout the health care debates of the past few decades, Leagues worked to provide millions of Americans across the country with objective information about the health care system and its significant reforms. This included organizing community education projects, holding public forums and debates, creating and distributing resource materials, and engaging leading policy makers and analysts. 

From the LWV Davis, California study: Some Ways to Evaluate Health and Social Care Needs in Your Community

Health, Behavioral Health, Social Services and Care Information Matrix


What should health care, social services, and behavioral health look like in your community? In your region? Those are important questions for the League to address. If we had universal health and social care in your region, what would need to be improved? What changes would your League recommend?

To cut down the confusion of the complexity of health and social services, there seems to be a natural division: Children have the same developmental issues; Adults have the same issues, generally. Each has Acute Care, Institutional, Behavioral Health and Social Care needs; and the system data needs to be managed:

Children: Acute Care, Institutional, Behavioral Health, Social Care, Data/Information

Institutional: clinics, hospitals, emergency rooms, rehabilitation and physical therapy, board and care homes, prisons and jails, in home support services


Behavioral Health (kids, adults, institutions, social services, data/info)
Social Services: housing, employment, transportation, child care, access to health and social services


Data/Information: patient-focused clinic computer program with daily accountability to federal and state standards that are updated annually; document patient care; employee activity; finances; quality control; planning, audit, program evaluation: the daily data/information management structure of a single payer system.

For further information READ this Workbook for Social and Health Care: Questions, Studies, Educational Forums and Organizing

New LWV Oregon Study: PESTICIDES and BIOCIDES

Over the past two years, the LWV of Portland OR in cooperation with the state LWV has been working on a new study. This means that once local leagues reach consensus to support this study, it becomes an official platform that the League can use to advocate for various policy positions and actions. This is how the League works: we study an issue, reach consensus and then use that information to support or oppose various public policies and actions. We remain non-partisan; this is an issue, not a party or candidate. LWV Klamath County plans to support this study.

Summary of new study:

The use of pesticides is a balancing act between advantages and disadvantages. Understanding the impacts, both beneficial and adverse, requires a broad overview of prevailing policy and the effects that policy has had. This study reviews the environmental and health costs and benefits of pesticide use, the current state of regulation at the federal, state, and local level, and the practices and precautions presently in place for their use. It reviews potential improvements to regulations and changes to practices that could improve outcomes and protect the environment and human health while maintaining a stable, safe, and reliable supply of foods and other farmed products.

Five key areas of pesticide development, use, and policy were identified for review and potential improvements:

  1. Education, training, and labeling  
  2. Transparency and information gathering 
  3. Funding, research, and evaluation  
  4. Adaptive management and Integrated Pest Management  
  5. Burden of proof and the precautionary principle.

Impacts of and Issues Surrounding Pesticide Use


Because pesticides are essentially chemical poisons or biological agents that make compounds toxic to certain species, their use must be considered in the light of their overall effects…. While pesticides are brought to market after extensive research and testing, we constantly learn new information about environmental ecosystems and human and animal physiology that may cause us to reexamine how, when or if they should be used. As human populations have increased, the need to develop a safe and stable supply of food and non-food crops has also grown. Control of disease carrying insects and animal carriers is increasingly necessary, especially as the global climate changes. These benefits must be balanced with the potential harm their use may cause.

Read the entire study HERE.

You may also view a panel discussion held on this topic HERE.

Further Reading:

https://www.opb.org/article/2020/12/15/oregon-pesticides-chlorpyrifos-christimas-trees-chemicals/

https://www.oregon.gov/oda/programs/pesticides/pages/aboutpesticides.aspx

https://oregonforests.org/herbicides

Jordan Cove Project: Further News

August 19, 2021:

Jordan Cove LNG Forfeits Permits Required for Export Terminal & Pipeline 
Community members celebrate as Pembina misses the deadline to reapply for three permits, adding to the long list of setbacks for the proposed Jordan Cove LNG export terminal and Pacific Connector pipeline.  

Note the critical role Jackson County’s own attorney Tonia Moro played in these wins. And we are once again so grateful to the LWVOR for helping to support her work on these land use permits! And thanks, too, to Tonia’s partners in arms at the Crag Law Center–Courtney Johnson and Anu Sawkar–and to Citizens for Renewables and Oregon Shores for heading up and supporting this fight in the community. There are plenty of other kudos to go around, but we want to be sure to acknowledge the hard, often overlooked work of Dr. Christine Moffitt of the Coos County LWV and other scientists who provided factual proof of the horrendous harm to marine flora and fauna these permits ignored when they were granted.

September 8, 2021, from Inside Climate News:

To Meet Paris Accord Goal, Most of the World’s Fossil Fuel Reserves Must Stay in the Ground

A new study in Nature reports that oil, gas and coal production must begin falling immediately to have even a 50 percent chance of keeping global temperatures from rising more than 1.5 degrees Celsius.

September 12, 2021, from State of Oregon, Department of Environmental Quality Report:

Jordan Cove Energy Project (Coos Bay) The Jordan Cove Energy Project had indicated in recent court filings that they have put their project on pause, due to recent FERC decisions. Jordan Cove has not formally notified DEQ of any intent to withdraw currently pending applications, but has verbally indicated intent to withdraw Air Quality permit applications for the North Spit facility and Malin Compressor Station. Water Quality and Solid Waste permits are scheduled to be renewed whether the energy project goes forward or not, as both the NPDES permit and Solid Waste permit are associated with the site of the former Weyco facility. FERC clarified in a recent letter, excerpted below, that they consider the project to remain active, though paused. “Due to the uncertainty regarding a timeline for the Project and concerns with the Programmatic Agreement, commenters and signatories to the PA have requested that the PA be terminated or significant amendments be made to the PA. Although the project Item K 000011 Informational item: Director’s report Sept. 30-Oct. 1, 2021, EQC meeting Page 12 of 12 proponents have chosen to pause the development of the Project, the Commission’s March 19, 2020 Order granting Authorizations Under Sections 3 and 7 of the Natural Gas Act (Order) remains valid. Therefore, we have concluded that it would be inappropriate to terminate the PA at this time. We have also concluded that amendments to the PA at this time are premature, given the pause in project development. Should the project proponents choose to resume development of the Project, Commission environmental staff, in consultation with the SHPO and ACHP, and other concerned parties including federally-recognized Indian Tribes would reassess the status of the Programmatic Agreement and would at that time consider amendments to the PA to ensure that its aims and goals are successfully met and that any outstanding requirements are appropriately satisfied.”   

Interview with Klamath County School Superintendent Szymoniak

dated: September 13, 2021

ZOOM MEETING WITH GLEN SZYMONIAK, KLAMATH COUNTY SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT to answer questions from LWV and create relationship by which LWV can be of service to Klamath County Schools.

LWV Klamath and community members in attendance: Diane Eastman-Shockey, Leslie Lowe, Faith Leith, Sue Kreizenbeck, Mike Fitzgerald

AGENDA:

Introductory information about LWV Klamath

Who we are: Diane talked about LWV  national and local history of educating folks; Leslie talked about educational forums, including candidates nights; Diane spoke briefly about the Harvard Project in Klamath County schools.

Questions sent to Superintendent Szymoniak prior to meeting:

a)What “voice” does LWV Klamath have to share with our community regarding Klamath County Schools?

 Example: How can we help educate voters regarding school board elections, what school boards do, and how important it is to have representation from our community on the Board?

Example: What are your feelings about having LWV come into schools to help educate student voters? 

b) How does Superintendent Szymoniak propose to decrease the hostility and increase the coordination between City and County schools, especially regarding curriculum differences and communication issues?

c) Help us better understand the implementation of vaccine/mask mandates in the schools, given all the divisiveness in this county.

Specific comments Superintendent Szymoniak made in answer to the above questions:

1) Facebook has so much Mis-information and has already caused much chaos for the school district at Board meetings in particular.  LWV could possibly help with School Board elections and public awareness of the damage some few individuals are doing, especially around Covid issues and manner of expression of personal views.

2) LWV needs to have a connections with teachers in the District to be more useful.

3) A course on “Civil discourse” is NOT taught in the schools and they could use one taught by LWV Klamath?

4) Superintendent Szymoniak has been in Klamath 3 full school years.  He was trained in mediation.  He really works to solve problems with ALL the players. He pulled together a consortium of City and County School Boards, city council and county commissioners, etc to be proactive about the Covid protocols for reopening the schools.  He initiated a letter to Governor Brown asking for local Health Board control instead of the State.  This is indicative of his style of operation. He hopes to continue to work with City schools on other issues as well.

5) Discussion regarding “critical race training” in the schools.  He was adamant that this is NOT part of the curriculum, but he does not know if a specific teacher is doing something with this in a classroom.  He will deal with it when and IF he hears about it.

6) Superintendent Szymoniak has not looked at curriculum differences between city and county schools.

7) Superintendent Szymoniak is interested in helping re-establish the Harvard Project that was not completed because of the 2020 Covid 19 shutdown. 

Current Issue: Health Care Reform

Introduction: Why the League of Women Voters?

Because the LWV has studied this issue and taken an official position. As a local league, we follow under the umbrella of national positions on various issues of public interest. Health and medicine are fundamental human rights, not partisan talking points.

Health Care Reform: LWV Official Position

Every U.S. resident should have access to affordable, quality health care, including birth control and the privacy to make reproductive choices.  

Why it matters

The U.S. health care system should provide a basic level of quality health care at an affordable cost to all U.S. residents. Basic care includes disease prevention, primary care (including prenatal and reproductive health), acute long-term care, mental health care, as well as health promotion and education. Health care policy goals should include the equitable distribution of services and delivery of care, advancement of medical research and technology, and a reasonable total national expenditure level. 

What we’re doing

Over the past 20 years, we have lobbied for health care policy solutions, including the Affordable Care Act (ACA), to control costs and ensure a basic level of care for all. Throughout the health care debates of the past few decades, Leagues worked to provide millions of Americans across the country with objective information about the health care system and its significant reforms. This included organizing community education projects, holding public forums and debates, creating and distributing resource materials, and engaging leading policy makers and analysts. 

How does universal health coverage work? An International View

Who’s Involved in this?

A number of groups are focusing on reforming health care at the national and state levels. Here are several:

Physicians for a National Health Care Plan** (see below)

Physicians for a National Health Care Plan OREGON

American Association of Family Practitioners

Health Care Reform and LWV Klamath County**

On Wednesday October 6, 2021 from 6:00pm – 8:00pm PT, the League of Women Voters Davis Area will be hosting a virtual Community Forum, “Health Reform & Social Justice: Opportunities for Reducing Inequity and Addressing Health Disparities”. LWV Klamath County will be one of many co-sponsors of this event.

Register at https://lwvdaforum.eventbrite.com

For this event, the League will be hosting an evening with Dr. Susan Rogers, President of Physicians for a National Health Plan (PNHP). Dr. Rogers’s presentation will include an overview of the U.S. health care system through a social justice lens, followed by a discussion highlighting disparities resulting from our current policies and opportunities to improve inequities through health reform. The forum will conclude with an audience Q&A.


Dr. Rogers is a Fellow of the American College of Physicians and currently an Assistant Professor of Medicine at Rush University. She has recently retired from her hospitalist practice in Chicago at Stroger Hospital of Cook County. She has previously served as co-director of medical student teaching at Stroger and as Medical Director of Near North Health Service Corp, a Chicago FQHC. Most recently, Dr. Rogers spoke at the June California League of Women Voters Annual Convention, providing the presentation: “Health Care: Inequities and Opportunities”.


This forum aims to educate voters about our current healthcare model and how it impacts local care access, affordability, quality and equity. Our guest speaker provides insights into how health reform can improve each of these to optimize community health and wellness. The LWVDA supports the National League healthcare positions in support of an affordable, accessible, quality, and equitable health care system, critical for the health, safety and economic security of all communities. Becoming an informed voter is fundamental to ensuring the engagement needed to affect meaningful reform. The future of our community health and healthcare systems will rely upon votes cast by those with a better understanding of current needs and resources and our opportunities to enact needed change.


To help speakers best address your concerns, questions, and issues, we encourage attendees to please submit them in advance to komalh@lwvdavisarea.org before October 4.

We encourage you to sign up for this virtual forum and hope that you will spread the word to other voters you know. Health and Medicine aren’t partisan issues, but fundamental human rights.

Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI)

LWV policy applies to all leagues

LWV Klamath County, as part of the state and national league organizations, has been introduced to the topic of DEL in a summer workshop, and we plan to include relevant language in our by-laws at an upcoming meeting. Below you will see the LWV national policy, definitions, and a list of further resources.

what can you do?

First you should watch this LWV US training webinar HERE.

Second you can learn about the LWV US policy and relevant definitions.

Then you can read up on this topic from articles and books listed below.

Finally you can JOIN US as we work to incorporate these concepts into our local LWV Klamath County and our work here. Attend an upcoming meeting to speak up on DEI.

LWV Policy

LWV is an organization fully committed to diversity, equity, and inclusion in principle and in practice. Diversity, equity, and inclusion are central to the organization’s current and future success in engaging all individuals, households, communities, and policy makers in creating a more perfect democracy.

There shall be no barriers to full participation in this organization on the basis of gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, native or indigenous origin, age, generation, sexual orientation, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, language, accent, ability status, mental health, educational level or background, geography, nationality, work style, work experience, job role function, thinking style, personality type, physical appearance, political perspective or affiliation and/or any other characteristic that can be identified as recognizing or illustrating diversity.

Defining DEI

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are mutually reinforcing. Increased inclusion is associated with increased equity; the majority of organizations with higher inclusion and equity also have greater demographic diversity.

DIVERSITY

Diversity includes all of the similarities and differences among people, not limited to: gender, gender identity, ethnicity, race, native or indigenous origin, age, generation, sexual orientation, culture, religion, belief system, marital status, parental status, socioeconomic status, appearance, language, accent, ability status, mental health, education, geography, nationality, work style, work experience, job role function, thinking style, personality type, physical appearance, and political perspective or affiliation.

Diversity refers to population groups that have been historically underrepresented in socially, politically, or economically powerful institutions and organizations. These groups include but are not restricted to populations of color, such as African Americans and Blacks, Latinx, Native Americans and Alaska Natives, Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. They may also include lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender populations, people with disabilities, women, and other groups.

A team can be diverse and so can an organization. A person is not diverse. Diversity is about a collective or a group and can only exist in relationship to others. A candidate is not diverse—they are a unique, individual unit. They may bring diversity to your team, but they in themselves are not diverse. They are a woman; they are a person of color; they are part of the LGBTQ community.

We commit to increase diversity in the recruitment, retention, and retainment at the national, state, and local level, and in the leadership and executive roles.

EQUITY

Equity is an approach based in fairness to ensuring everyone is given equal opportunity; this means that resources may be divided and shared unequally to make sure that each person has a fair chance to succeed. Equity takes into account that people have different access to resources because of system of oppression and privilege. Equity seeks to balance that disparity.

Improving equity involves increasing justice and fairness within the procedures and processes of institutions or systems, as well as in their distribution of resources, including professional growth opportunities. Tackling equity issues requires an understanding of the root causes of outcome disparities within our society.

Equity prioritizes efforts to ensure the most underserved and marginalized among us has as much of an opportunity to succeed as the most well-served and advantaged. By taking into account the various advantages and disadvantages that people face, we work to ensure every person has an equal opportunity to succeed.

We commit to prioritizing equity in the work of the LWV staff, board, and members.

INCLUSION

Inclusion is an ongoing process, not a static state of being.

Inclusion is the dynamic state of operating in which diversity is leveraged to create a healthy, high-performing organization and community.

Inclusion refers to the degree to which diverse individuals are able to participate fully in the decision-making processes within an organization or group.

An inclusive environment ensures equitable access to resources and opportunities for all. It also enables individuals and groups to feel safe, respected, engaged, motivated, and valued for who they are and for their contributions toward organizational and societal goals.

While an inclusive group is by definition diverse, a diverse group is not always inclusive. Being aware of unconscious or implicit bias can help organizations better address issues of inclusivity.

We commit to making deliberate efforts to ensure LWV is a place where differences are welcomed, different perspectives are respectfully heard, and every individual feels a sense of belonging and inclusion. We know that by creating a vibrant climate of inclusiveness, we can more effectively leverage our resources to advance our collective capabilities.

We commit to working actively to challenge and respond to bias, harassment, and discrimination.

Seeing our work through a DEI Lens

A DEI lens is a way of examining a program, a process, a product, etc. with regards to how it is perceived by a variety of communities, voices, and perspectives, and what, if any, barriers may exist that is preventing it from being equitable or inclusive of everyone.

What To Ask When Examining Your Work Through a DEI Lens

  • Who is involved in the process?
    • Are key stakeholders meaningfully included?
    • Is this work that impacts a group or community? If so, is their voice represented?
    • How diverse is the group of decision makers? Is it diverse enough?
  • Who will be impacted?
    • Who benefits from this?
    • Who is burdened by this?
    • Does this help us meet the needs of underserved voters?
    • Have we considered various, specific marginalized groups and how they might be impacted?
  • What are the intended and unintended outcomes?
    • What issue are we trying to solve?
    • What do we hope will happen?
    • What are the potential negative impacts? Who could be hurt by this?
    • What data or evidence supports this?
    • How might this be perceived by others?
  • Does this align with our vision for an equitable and inclusive organization?
    • How is equity addressed?
    • What barriers might this place in the way of achieving equity?
    • How does this impact the League’s culture?
  • What changes could be made to make this more equitable?
    • What are the short term goals?
    • What are the long term goals?
    • What, if any, policies or bylaws need to be added or amended?
    • What are the benefits for members?
    • What are the benefits for partners and/or members of the community?

Learn More

Articles

Books

  • Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
  • Blindspot: Hidden Biases of Good People, Mahzarin Banaji
  • Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking, Malcolm Gladwell
  • Braving the Wilderness, Brené Brown
  • Everyday Bias, Howard Ross
  • The Hate U Give, Angie Thomas
  • The Hillbilly Elegy, JD Vance
  • Predictably Irrational: The Hidden Forces that Shape Our Decisions, Arielly, Daniel
  • Waking Up White, Debby Irving
  • The Warmth of Other Suns, Isabel Wilkerson

Audio

TED Talks

The Danger of a Single Story: TED Talk by Chimamanda Adichie on the theme of how only knowing one story of a culture can enhance our implicit biases and create incomplete pictures of those different from us. 

Other Learning Resources

What is DEI?

Approved Study for 2020-21: Consolidating the Urban Growth Boundaries

Quick: What does “consolidation” mean?(OUR NEWEST STUDY)

APPROVED STUDY FOR 2021: Expansion of Klamath Falls City Limits to Coincide with Urban Growth Boundaries

At some point, as our community grows, the city limits of Klamath Falls will have to expand to include what is now defined as the UGB (urban growth boundary). This is a regional boundary, set in an attempt to control urban sprawl by, in its simplest form, mandating that the area inside the boundary be used for urban development and the area outside be preserved in its natural state or used for agriculture.

IMAGE 1. MAP OF KLAMATH FALLS AND URBAN GROWTH BOUNDARIES

LWV Klamath has looked at previous unsuccessful efforts to expand city limits to the UGB in the last 15 years. Our question now is not “Should we expand” but rather our question is “when?”.

There are many factors to consider when looking at this question.  We propose to educate ourselves regarding these factors and then share what we learn with the people who are affected by the answers.

The major factors we are considering include the following differences between the services offered in the city of Klamath Falls and those in the unincorporated areas within the UGB:

  1. Police work
  2. Water/Sewer services, pricing, long term issues
  3. Taxes: city and county; the services each covers and what is NOT covered
  4. Voter representation at decision making bodies (City Council, County Commissioners, South Suburban Sanitary District, County schools, city schools, other Boards that control services)
  5. School Districts (City and County)
  6. Other service differences for ambulance, 911, Fire District #1, airport, etc
  7. Roads
  8. Parks

While we all want to get the greatest number of services for the lowest tax dollar, it is our assumption that we are too frequently focused on the $1 we spend today rather than what it will cost if we wait to spend that $1.  We propose to ask questions about what service delivery will look like as the population grows in the greater Klamath Falls area and what the projected costs are to deliver those services.  We hope that the information we gather and share will assist our community members in being prepared for the changes that are bound to come.

our results:

Committee members: Karen Kunz, Diane Eastman-Shockey, Emily Strauss, Leslie Lowe, Jody Daniels

After some research by each committee member and much discussion about the Klamath Falls Urban Area Comprehensive Plan – Volume I – June 2020 which each of us reviewed, we decided that enough had already changed regarding the issues of consolidation of city boundaries and urban growth boundaries since Jeff Ball’s report in 2003 that further study of these issues by LWV Klamath was no longer useful to our community.

Another contributing factor to ceasing this study came from the interviews done with Mike Griffith, Board Member South Suburban Sanitary District on 6-3-2021, Klamath County School Superintendent Glen Szymoniak on 6-17-21, and Superintendent of Klamath Falls City Schools (since 2010 but now retiring) Dr. Paul Hilyer on 6-3-2021. Those interviews helped us see that the divisive community issues between the 2 school districts alone would overwhelm any possible financial or service benefits from boundary consolidation at this time.

Also, because there are numerous places throughout the Plan that refer to collaboration, cooperation, and consistency between City and County, we felt the trajectory was moving in a very positive direction. Following are a few of the specific changes as they relate to the unincorporated Urban Area or those parts of the County that fit between city boundaries and the UGB. The City and County must follow state land use laws and update their plans accordingly, which is the basis of this Plan.

From the Klamath Falls Urban Area Comprehensive Plan – Volume I – June 2020

Page 1: Since the mid-1990s, the city and county have cooperated on several planning and public facilities planning projects. The recent adoption of the Klamath Falls Urban Area Transportation System Plan (TSP) is a great example of such a cooperative effort. The city and county have also adopted or amended intergovernmental agreements with each other and with special service districts with the goal of increased coordination and efficiency in providing public facilities to serve planned growth in the Urban Area.

In April of 2018, the Klamath Falls City Council and the Klamath Board of County Commissioners agreed in principle to move forward with the adoption of the Klamath Falls Urban Area Plan (Urban Area Plan) that applies to the entire Urban Area.

Page 6: The city and county have entered into intergovernmental agreements with other partners in land use planning, including but not limited to the following:

  • • Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT)
  • • Klamath County Fire District 1
  • • South Suburban Sanitary District (SSSD)- 2003
  • • Klamath County Drainage District
  • • Wiard Park District

Page 41: In unincorporated areas within the Klamath Falls UGB, the City and County should collaborate to ensure that new development occurs at urban densities consistent with agreed on urban densities.

Page 46-47: Both the Klamath County and the Klamath Falls Comprehensive Plans recognize the critical importance of providing adequate public facilities to serve planned urban development. As documented in Volume III Public Facilities Masters of the Urban Area Plan, the city and special districts that provide services within the Urban Area have prepared a series master plans for sanitary sewer, water, transportation, parks and irrigation/drainage over the last 40 years. These plans include the following:

A. Klamath Falls Wastewater Collection System Master Plan (2006)

B. Klamath Falls Wastewater Collection System Master Plan Update (2014)

C. South Suburban Sanitary District Facilities Plan (2010)

D. Klamath Falls Water Master Plan (2010)

E. Klamath Falls Water Tank Vulnerability Assessment (2018)

F. Klamath Falls Urban Area Transportation System Plan (2012)

G. OR 66 Green Springs Highway Interchange Area Management Plan (2012)

H. Campus Sub-Area Transportation Master Plan (2008)

I. Klamath Falls Urban Trails Master Plan (2016)

J. Basin Transit Service Development Plan (2013)

K. Klamath Falls Safe Routes to School Master Plan (2018)

L. Klamath Falls Parks Master Plan (2019)

M. Wiard Park District Master Plan (2013)

N. Kingsley Field Joint Land Use Study and Background Report (2016)

O. Klamath Falls Airport Master Plan (2004)

Page 62: See OAR 660-024 to learn more about how UGBs are created and expanded. Each city in Oregon has an Urban Growth Boundary, or UGB. A UGB is used to designate where a city expects to grow over the next 20 years. Cities and counties may amend their UGB as needed to accommodate city growth. The use of UGB’s, and the review process for UGB expansion, helps to preserve Oregon’s agriculture, forest, and open space, and to help ensure compact urban growth.

Page 63: The urbanization element of Klamath Falls Comprehensive Plan has not changed since it was prepared in 1980. This information is not useful in evaluating 2040 land need and supply but does have some historical value; for this reason, the old comprehensive plan is included as a background document in Volume II of the Urban Area Plan. However, the Urban Area EOA includes revised employment land need and supply information. In late 2019, housing land need and supply estimates will be revised and available for public review.

The Klamath Falls Urban Area (Urban Area) has approximately 45,000 people, with roughly half living within the City Limits and half living within unincorporated urban areas – primarily the South Suburban Area. Klamath Falls provides the full range of urban services to support urban development within the City Limits. Except for water service (which is provided by the city), Klamath County, through special service districts, separately provides urban services within the unincorporated Urban Area.

Page 64: Since the mid-1990s, the city and county have cooperated on several planning and public facilities planning projects, including the Urban Area Economic Opportunities Analysis (EOA) and the Urban Area Transportation System Plan (TSP). The city and county have also adopted or amended intergovernmental agreements with each other and with special service districts with the goal of increased coordination and efficiency in providing public facilities to serve planned growth in the Urban Area.

In April of 2018, the Klamath Falls City Council and the Klamath Board of County Commissioners agreed in principle to move forward with the adoption of the Klamath Falls Urban Area Plan (Urban Area Plan) and Public Facilities Plan that will apply to the entire Urban Area. These plans will be implemented primarily by the Klamath Falls CDO within the City Limits and the Klamath County LDC within the unincorporated Urban Area.

FINAL OUTCOME OF STUDY:

We agreed:

  • This study was a good education for those involved, namely Leslie Lowe, chair; Diane Eastman-Shockey, LWV President; Karen Kunz, Secretary/V.P.; Emily Strauss, Board member; Jody Daniels, LWV member.
  • We should monitor this Plan, as nothing in it is binding. This means attending Klamath Falls City Council meetings, Klamath County Commissioner meetings, and checking up on the progress of their collaborations, etc.
  • More citizen awareness of this Plan would be useful. We will put this info on our website and Facebook page. We will write letters to the editor of the Herald and News about what we have learned and encourage citizen awareness of the Plan.
  • We will invite Klamath County School Superintendent Glen Szymoniak to our September 16 Board/Member meeting to talk about:

a) How does Glen Szymoniak propose to decrease the hostility and increase the coordination between City and County schools, especially regarding curriculum differences and communication issues?

b) What “voice” does LWV Klamath have to share with our community regarding Klamath County Schools?

The Human Rights Special Interest Group

The LWV of Klamath County links its work with both the Oregon and US Leagues in many areas. Here is a relatively new effort to link national and local league efforts toward the goal of promoting Human Rights. This particular effort originated with the Mid-Hudson (NY) Region LWV. They are motivated to inspire local community efforts to educate, advocate and implement international human rights policies and goals.

Who we are


The Human Rights Special Interest Group (HR-SIG) is a non-profit, research- based, independent entity.  Our mission is to inspire local community efforts to educate, advocate, and implement international human rights policies and goals. (Please see our bios on page 74.)


You may know of our Human Rights Special Interest Group through our recent presentations on “Inspirational Works of Art at the UN”  and our Briefing Book on Human Rights: The Synergy Between UN Human Rights Conventions and Policies of the League of Women Voters.

Ways we Promote United Nations Goals

We are delighted to share our latest publication:
Human Rights Approach to Achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals
Inspiration for Program Planners and Human Rights Advocates

In a reader-friendly format, this publication reviews the 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) that constitute the UN’s 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—the UN’s blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all. Please read the inspirational words on human rights by UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, on the 75th  anniversary of the United Nations in September 2020 (page 5). 


The 17 SDG reviews are designed to guide readers using the T.I.P.S. approach (Targets, Indicators, Policies, and Suggestions). The TIPS approach was developed by the Human Rights Special Interest Group. For each review, we have added relevant links to priorities presented in the League of Women Voters’ Impact on Issues; we conclude each review with a set of suggestions for how Leagues and community groups can implement the goals at the local level.

LWV Klamath County and Human Rights

What have we been doing here? Last summer the LWV Oregon presented a virtual caucus at the LWV Convention, entitled “Climate Migration, Immigration, and Human Rights”. Watch the video presentation HERE.

HERE are further notes and resources compiled the LWV Oregon.

If you would like to get involved, join us, come to our meetings, offer suggestions, volunteer to help, help us connect with local, regional, and other groups which focus on human rights.

Closing the book on the Jordan Cove pipeline?

LWV Klamath County has been updating our community on the status of the proposed Jordan Cove pipeline for several years now. As one of the four Southern Oregon local leagues which have been fighting this development, we felt it important to keep our members informed about all the ups and downs of this project.

Now it appears we may be at the end of the road. Several developments have occurred in the past couple of months that indicate this project is not going to move forward. Below is a wrap-up of some of the recent activities by a number of stakeholder parties. Unless we receive significant new information about this project, there will be no further updates.


This notice is from Pembina, the Canadian developer of this pipeline:

Pembina Pipeline Corporation has decided to pause the development of Jordan Cove LNG while we reassess the impact of recent regulatory decisions.

While we continue to believe in the strategic rationale of Jordan Cove, in light of current regulatory and political uncertainty, our decision reflects our steadfast commitment to our financial guardrails, our disciplined and prudent approach to capital allocation, and our commitment to comprehensively mitigating risk on this project.

We are thankful for the incredible support from community members across southern Oregon and the Rockies Basin.

For more information, visit the Media Centre on Pembina’s website.

Here is the letter that Pembina recently sent to FERC, the regulatory agency.

Here is a recent article on the continued legal fight over Jordan Cove:

NATURAL GAS: Court denies FERC request to halt Ore. pipeline lawsuit

Niina H. Farah, E&E News reporter Published: Tuesday, June 8, 2021

A federal appeals court is charging ahead with a challenge to a controversial West Coast natural gas export facility — despite calls to freeze the case.

The U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit yesterday denied requests from the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and the developer of the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project to stall litigation over a federal approval for a pipeline associated with the Oregon facility.

Pembina Pipeline Corp., the developer, told the court in April that it was temporarily halting the $10 billion project after failing to gain the necessary permits for the Pacific Connector pipeline that would carry natural gas to the facility. The company argued that landowners challenging the project had not been able to show that they would be harmed by a pause in the legal proceedings.

FERC had also asked the D.C. Circuit to put the case on hold, or alternatively to throw out the dispute altogether.

“Landowner Petitioners do not meaningfully engage with the Project Developers’ commitment not to file any condemnation actions during an abeyance, or with this Court’s invitation to renew their request for interim relief if takings become imminent,” Pembina wrote in a May brief.

The focus of the litigation is whether FERC can convey its eminent domain authority to allow Pembina to seize private land to build its project.

A ruling in the case could answer questions about whether FERC can grant a certificate of public convenience and necessity for a pipeline serving a project with a product that is destined for foreign markets, said David Bookbinder, chief counsel at the Niskanen Center and a lawyer for the landowner challengers.

The D.C. Circuit’s decision to move forward with the case came as a surprise, he said.

“What this means is that [the judges] understood and accepted our argument that even if they decide not to build the project, they will have a valid certificate authorizing eminent domain,” Bookbinder said of Pembina.

He noted that the company has already attempted to build the project on three separate occasions. While Pembina had committed not to build during a pause in the litigation, landowners had not received any assurances that the company would not seek to build again in the future.

“There is every reason to believe there will be a fourth attempt,” Bookbinder said.

The D.C. Circuit’s order yesterday comes as the fate of the project itself has become more tenuous.

Earlier this year, FERC denied the company’s bid to override Oregon’s refusal to certify the facility under Clean Water Act Section 401, which allows states to determine whether federally approved projects comply with state water quality standards.

The Commerce Department has also determined the project is “inconsistent” with the Coastal Zone Management Act (Greenwire, April 23).

Pembina did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The lawsuit is before D.C. Circuit Judges Patricia Millett and Robert Wilkins. Both are Obama appointees.


Some Background Reading on FERC’s review and approval processes:

ENERGY POLICY: ‘Self-dealing’ loophole could upend FERC pipeline reviews

Miranda Willson, E&E News reporter Published: Friday, May 28, 2021

A worker steps out of a car to inspect a natural gas pipeline under construction near Cadiz, Ohio, in this 2012 file photo. Chris Fitzgerald / Candidate Photos/Newscom

As the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission weighs changes to its natural gas pipeline reviews, it’s grappling with a key question: How should it determine whether a project is needed?

For years, the agency has signed off on proposals if developers could prove they had customers ready to reserve capacity on their pipeline. But critics say these so-called precedent agreements have a glaring loophole: Different units of the same company can act as both seller and buyer — winning a green light from FERC in the process.

The commission’s reliance on precedent agreements is one of many topics included in FERC’s ongoing review of how it considers and approves new natural gas pipelines.

The outcome could shape the future direction of the independent agency, which regulates power markets and large-scale energy projects. Analysts say FERC’s approach to large-scale natural gas projects could make or break many of the Biden administration’s clean energy goals.

“For as much attention as the commission’s climate reviews have gotten, FERC’s dependence on precedent agreements is the single most problematic part of its reviews today,” said Gillian Giannetti, an attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council’s Sustainable FERC Project.

The agency has also sought comments about landowner interests, environmental impacts, effects on environmental justice communities and the transparency of its pipeline approval process. Comments for the proceeding closed this week.

“This decision is probably not going to happen overnight,” said Suzanne Mattei, an energy policy analyst at the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis, which advocates for sustainable energy. “It’s a lot to grapple with, but it’s all very, very important for the energy future of the country.”

When a developer applies with FERC to build a new natural gas pipeline, it typically includes one or more precedent agreements with prospective companies seeking to reserve capacity on the pipeline. While FERC’s current policy is to consider “all relevant factors” to determine the need for a given project, it has in practice relied on the existence of these agreements as proof of necessity, even when the parties that signed a contract are affiliates of the same parent company, according to longtime agency observers.

Between October 2008 and February 2020, FERC issued 480 certificates — allowing pipeline companies to begin construction for a project — and denied three, according to commission records. All recent projects that have been approved included precedent agreements in their applications, while the handful of projects that have been denied certificates lacked them, said Maya van Rossum, leader of the Delaware Riverkeeper, who has followed FERC pipeline issues for more than 15 years.

“In almost every instance, this is the kind of need demonstration we see in one form or another,” said van Rossum.

Natural gas companies and trade groups say the agreements are a good proxy for determining whether a project is in the public interest, since they help ensure that projects are financially viable and are supported by market demand. Precedent agreements among affiliates are just as valuable indicators and are often already subject to additional scrutiny by state regulators, the Interstate Natural Gas Association of America wrote in comments to FERC.

“There is no basis for the Commission to depart from this precedent,” INGAA wrote.

Yet Democratic Chairman Richard Glick has said FERC should review its reliance on the agreements as proof of need, especially in cases where the contracts are between units of the same company. FERC’s Certificate Policy Statement — the guiding document for how the commission should consider project need — was issued in 1999 and hasn’t been amended since.

“FERC has been completely relying on the existence of precedent agreements between shippers and pipeline developers to determine whether there’s a need,” Glick said in a recent interview (Energywire, May 24). “In some cases, that might make sense, but it doesn’t make sense when the precedent agreements are between affiliates.”

Deals ‘not entered into lightly’

Advocates for changing FERC’s handling of pipeline reviews say the agency should account for shifting climate and energy trends. The Biden administration has proposed cutting greenhouse gas emissions in half by 2030 relative to 2005 levels, and dozens of states have set their own clean energy or emissions reduction goals.

When FERC approves a project, it issues a certificate of public convenience and necessity. That generally allows the pipeline developer to begin construction, including the possibility of forcibly taking people’s property through eminent domain.

Because pipeline construction can result in irreparable damage to property and the environment, FERC must be thorough in its assessment of whether a project is truly in the public interest, a coalition of environmental and community groups wrote in comments to FERC this week. In addition, given the threat of climate change and long-term outlooks for natural gas use, relying exclusively on precedent agreements doesn’t cut it anymore, said the groups, including the Sierra Club and NRDC.

“[The] gas industry itself is recognizing the long-term instability of its projects, as shippers are demanding shorter and more flexible terms in precedent agreements,” the groups wrote. “This makes precedent agreements an even less reliable indicator of future demand than before.”

But Casey Hollers, director of regulatory affairs at the Natural Gas Supply Association, argued in comments to FERC that the agreements are “not entered into lightly,” given that they establish a binding commitment for a shipper to use gas from a project. Other supporters of the current practice wrote that the commission lacks the authority or the expertise to make its own determination of project need and should not attempt to second-guess developers on the issue.

“[The current] approach provides the most objective and straight-forward evidence for determining whether a project is in the public interest,” Hollers wrote.

Others have called for FERC to change its practices only in cases where the precedent agreements are among affiliate companies. In those situations, the commission should “employ a rebuttable presumption” that the contracts do not demonstrate need while requiring independent evidence to overcome that presumption, the Democratic attorneys general of Massachusetts, Connecticut, Maryland, Minnesota, New Jersey, New York, Rhode Island and the District of Columbia wrote in joint comments to the commission.

EPA made a similar recommendation.

“To prevent self-dealing and ensure accurate needs assessment, it is important for the Commission to thoroughly examine the relationship between the parties entering into a precedent agreement and carefully scrutinize purposed need where the pipeline developer is affiliated with a local distribution company or other entity reserving capacity on the line,” EPA wrote in its comments.

Some commenters cited projects that were approved on the basis of precedent agreements between affiliates that are now canceled or facing setbacks. For example, the commission in 2020 approved the Pacific Connector pipeline, which had a precedent agreement with the Jordan Cove liquefied natural gas project. Both projects were developed by the same corporate parent, Pembina, and are now at risk of cancellation (Greenwire, April 23).

FERC initially rejected the Jordan Cove and Pacific Connector projects in 2016 because “Pacific Connector, by failing to provide precedent agreements or sufficient other evidence of need, failed to demonstrate market support for its proposal,” the agency recounted in a filing approving the project last year. But the second time around, Pacific Connector provided the commission with a precedent agreement with Jordan Cove, covering 96% of the project’s capacity, which FERC viewed as “sufficient evidence of market demand for the project,” according to the 2020 order.

The existence of that agreement with an affiliate company was the “sole reason” the commission approved what was essentially the same project, then-Commissioner Glick wrote in his dissent of the approval. Pembina could not immediately be reached for comment.

Broader review ‘looks likely’

Despite Glick’s skepticism of precedent agreements between affiliates, FERC’s other four commissioners — three Republicans and one other Democrat — declined to comment on the issue. While Glick as chairman has broad discretion over the commission’s agenda, he would need a majority to issue a new Certificate Policy Statement or modify FERC’s existing one.

Some commissioners have spoken about the issue before. Precedent agreements are a reliable indicator of the need for a project, then-Chairman Neil Chatterjee said in 2017.

“The commission has historically prioritized precedent agreements in its analysis because those are clear, unequivocal statements of economic need by the market itself,” Chatterjee, a Republican, said at a 2017 forum hosted by the Energy Bar Association. “The companies who are willing to enter into contracts to pay for transportation on the service on a pipeline have a much clearer understanding of the market need for the gas than we could develop through studies here in D.C.”

The commission has previously declined to change its stance on the topic. After receiving thousands of comments in 2018 as part of a similar review of its Certificate Policy Statement, FERC made no changes to its reliance on precedent agreements or other aspects of its pipeline review process.

Christi Tezak, managing director of research at energy research firm ClearView Energy Partners LLC, said the firm expects FERC “to expand its ‘determination of need'” to consider criteria other than just precedent agreements as part of its latest review.

“[We] have not attempted to discern individual commissioner views on the 12 individual questions related to determination of need,” Tezak said in an email. “But more than just precedent agreements (with affiliates or otherwise) looks likely to us.”

Given that it is “incredibly common” for pipeline proposals to include precedent agreements between affiliated companies, it would be a significant change if the commission were to rely on other factors to determine project need, said Megan Gibson, a senior staff attorney at the libertarian-leaning Niskanen Center.

“It would hopefully incentivize these pipelines to come to agreements with third parties, and with multiple parties, and it hopefully would help ensure that these pipelines are actually built for markets that need gas — not just for profit or export,” she said.