SOU final retrenchment plan balances program cuts with reinvestment in students

For further information please contact:

Liz Shelby, Chief of Staff and Director of Government Relations


Plan reinvests in growth and cuts low enrollment, low demand programs to meet budget targets

Ashland, OR – March 14, 2014: Southern Oregon University released today the final retrenchment plan for the university. The plan eliminates a number of academic programs to ensure the long-term fiscal strength of the institution. Programs targeted for cuts have low enrollment, attracting few students and producing very few graduates, or are not currently meeting the needs of the regional workforce.

SOU president Mary Cullinan said, “I am very proud of our campus for pulling together as a community to solve our budget issues. This is a solid, realistic plan. It will enable SOU to focus resources in areas that are in demand and are core to our mission and student success.”

This final retrenchment plan lays out a process to achieve SOU’s overall goal of financial sustainability: a 5% fund balance, or reserve, by the end of the 2013-15 biennium, and a 10% fund balance by the end of the 2015-17 biennium. The plan calls for $6.2 million in permanent savings and $7.8 million in one-time savings.

“The hardest part of this process is seeing a number of our talented faculty leave SOU,” said Cullinan. “Because the retrenchment plan is phased in over a few years, faculty will get at least a year’s notice so they have time to plan for their next opportunity. Nonetheless, they will be a loss to our university.”

Implementation of the plan eventually reduces permanent faculty lines by 13 FTE, and increases over time the overall student/faculty ratio from 17:1 to 21:1. The retrenchment plan specifically focuses on reductions in academic programs. It does not impact financial aid, student life, or other areas of the university.

Majors and minors considered for reduction or elimination will continue to offer courses in the discipline. The programs being phased out graduate fewer than 10 students a year. Majors being eliminated include Art History and French. The current Physics major will be suspended, and SOU will review establishing a new, more contemporary Physics program that aligns with current workforce demand.  Photography, Professional Writing, and Film Techniques are among the minors that will be eliminated.

Current SOU students need to declare by April 1st to be included in the teach-out process.  Students with questions about affected programs should contact the Provost’s Office at or at 541-552- 6114. “We’re committed to all our students being able to complete their degrees if they are in affected programs,” added Cullinan.

A recent appropriation of $500,000 by the legislature to SOU will be used to make strategic investments in student success during the retrenchment process.

Dr. Cullinan said, “I look forward to beginning a strong strategic planning process that will move us forward. We need to reinvest in our strengths and in our students. They’re the foundation of this outstanding university.”

Please visit for the complete plan and supporting documents.

Direct link to plan here:


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2014 Legislature Approves Important Measures for SOU Capital, Operations, and Governance

For further information contact:

Liz Shelby

2014 Legislature Approves Important Measures for SOU Capital, Operations, and Governance

March 12, 2014

With the help of our southern Oregon delegation, Southern Oregon University achieved our legislative objectives during the 2014 legislative session that started in early February and ended on March 7, 2014.  SOU had visible advocacy throughout the session, including Salem visits from President Mary Cullinan, VP Craig Morris, Government Relations Director Liz Shelby, and SOU students who were in the Capitol every day of the session.

Outcomes for SOU from the 2014  Legislative Session include approval of the following measures:

Capital Budget

Senate Bill 5702 and Senate Bill 5703 amend the limits established during the 2013 legislative session on the maximum amount of bonds and/or third party agreements that state agencies may issue.

In connection with this budget action, SOU received $21.3M in XI-Q Bonds for the McNeal Hall Seismic/Deferred Maintenance Upgrade.  Our project was among those on the OUS top three life-safety priority list for this session.  The total approved for OUS capital projects was $29,351,100.

Operating Budget

HB 5201 is a budget reconciliation bill that modifies the state budget for the 2013-15 biennium. The measure adds $2 million General Fund to OUS for SEIU compensation agreements ($850K for PSU and $1.15M for the four technical and regional universities).

The bill also redirects $3.5 million of the Chancellor’s Office General Fund operating budget, into a special purpose appropriation that a subsequent Emergency Board will allocate for higher education governance cost changes. Of this budget, $500,000 is re-directed to EOU and another $500,000 to SOU as one-time financial assistance to be used for strategic reinvestment in student success during a period of budget cutting actions.

University Governance

HB 4018, which changes the date by which Eastern Oregon University, Oregon Institute of Technology, Southern Oregon University or Western Oregon University may request institutional governing board to May 15, 2014, and changes process of board formation, passed unanimously in both the House and the Senate on March 7, 2014.

Essentially the bill provides the State Board of Higher Education (SBHE) with more options when deciding whether to endorse or not endorse a university’s request to have a governing board. With HB4018, the SBHE can now endorse a university to have a governing board, with some conditions, which will be mutually agreed upon, in addition to the two previous options of not endorsing a request for a board or endorsing a request for a board unconditionally.

Representative Peter Buckley, Senator Alan Bates, and Senator Michael Dembrow had significant roles as negotiators of eight rounds of amendments that helped produce a consensus bill.


SOU Receives STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability Achievements

February 28, 2014


For further information, contact:

D Roxane Beigel-Coryell, Sustainability & Recycling Coordinator, Southern Oregon University


SOU Receives STARS Silver Rating for Sustainability Achievements

Ashland, OR – Southern Oregon University has received a STARS Silver Rating in recognition of their sustainability achievements from the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). STARS, the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System, is a program that measures and encourages sustainability in all aspects of higher education.

Since achieving a STARS Bronze Rating in 2011, SOU continues to expand and diversify campus sustainability initiatives. The university is highlighted annually by the Princeton Review and Sierra Magazine as one of the nation’s top green schools. In 2012, SOU was featured in the Department of Energy’s “Clean Energy in our Community” video series for its commitment to clean, renewable energy.

“SOU is honored to be recognized with a STARS Silver rating for our work to advance sustainability on campus and throughout our community,” says Southern Oregon University President, Mary Cullinan. “As one of SOU’s core values, sustainability is embraced by the entire campus. We pride ourselves on the collaborative partnerships and innovative solutions that have made SOU a leader in sustainability.”

AASHE’s STARS program is the only one of its kind that involves publicly reporting comprehensive information related to a college or university’s sustainability performance. Participants report achievements in three overall areas: 1) education & research, 2) operations, and 3) planning, administration & engagement.

“STARS was developed by the campus sustainability community to provide high standards for recognizing campus sustainability efforts,” said AASHE Executive Director Stephanie Herrera. “SOU has demonstrated a substantial commitment to sustainability by achieving a STARS Silver Rating and is to be congratulated for their efforts.”

Unlike other rating or ranking systems, this program is open to all institutions of higher education in the U.S. and Canada, and the criteria that determine a STARS Rating are transparent and accessible to anyone. Because STARS is a program based on credits earned, it allows for both internal comparisons as well as comparisons with similar institutions.

“From installing solar panels to establishing sustainable learning communities to fostering a diverse and inclusive campus culture, sustainability is embedded in everything we do at SOU. We are proud to have students, staff, faculty and administration working together to shape a bright and sustainable future,” says Roxane Beigel-Coryell, Sustainability & Recycling Coordinator. “We are thrilled to have achieved a STARS Silver Rating for our sustainability accomplishments and look forward to watching our sustainability efforts grow and improve through the STARS program.”

About Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. Visit


AASHE is an association of colleges and universities that are working to create a sustainable future. AASHE’s mission is to empower higher education to lead the sustainability transformation.  It provides resources, professional development and a network of support to enable institutions of higher education to model and advance sustainability in everything they do, from governance and operations to education and research. For more information about AASHE, visit

For more information about the STARS program, visit



SOU Releases Draft Plan for Academic Program Cuts




For further information contact:

Liz Shelby 541.552.6111

Faculty, campus community will review plan during a 20 University-day comment period

Ashland, OR – February 6, 2014: Southern Oregon University has released a provisional (draft) plan that would eliminate a number of low-enrolled academic programs in order to cut costs. The provisional plan was preceded by three years of campus-wide work to keep costs as low as possible for students in the face of significant disinvestment by the state of Oregon.

Late last year the campus announced plans for “retrenchment,” a word used in the SOU faculty union contract when academic programs are eliminated or restructured.

The plan lays out three scenarios, from best to worst case, with a reduction range from between $3.3 million and $5 million depending on variables such as level of state funding and enrollment that are unknown at this time. The plan also includes a fourth scenario with programs that could be considered for elimination only if a very worst situation emerged, requiring $7 million in reductions. The State Board of Higher Education required that such an extreme scenario be included in the plan. “However, if the very worst scenario occurred,” says SOU President Mary Cullinan, “we would not compromise the mission of SOU with such draconian cuts only in academic areas. We would have broad conversations across campus before we would cut that deeply into academics.”

Funding for Oregon’s public universities remains far behind the levels seen in the past. In 1999, for example, SOU received a state allocation $13 million higher than in 2013 despite an increase of nearly a thousand students since then. Extensive planning initiatives used to determine cost reductions have included sophisticated data gathering, analysis of national models, implementation of best practices in the curriculum, data-driven decision-making, and reorganization of key areas and offices. Faculty, staff, students, and members of the external community have provided feedback on these initiatives.

In order to have the least impact on students as possible, proposed cuts focus on programs with low enrollment and low numbers of graduates.

Cullinan stressed that “All students who are in declared majors by March 15, 2014, will be able to complete their SOU degrees.”

From the day the provisional retrenchment plan is released, according to the faculty union contract, the campus has a 20 University-day period in which to comment on the cuts. The provisional plan will be discussed widely by constituencies on and off campus. Then the final plan will be published. Implementation will occur over three years.

“Just as we’ve seen with many organizations, long-term successful enterprises recalibrate when they need to,” said Cullinan. “We have a great institution here that means a lot to our region and to the state. We’re meeting our challenges head on, for our students now and in the future.”

“I’m grateful for the collaborative campus process that enabled us to develop a strong financial plan for SOU,” said Cullinan. “While this is a necessary action, it is not an easy one. We will lose some of our valued faculty colleagues, each of whom has been an important part of SOU.”

To read SOU’s provisional plan, go to

 About Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power. Visit


Hannon Library Chinese New Year: “Forbidden Citizens” with Author Martin Gold

Southern Oregon University
News Release


For immediate release: 

January 22, 2014              

For further information contact: 

Anna Beauchamp 

(541) 552-6823    

(Ashland, Ore.) – Hannon Library and the Southern Oregon Chinese Cultural Association are pleased to host author and attorney Martin Gold as part of this year’s Chinese New Year celebrations.  He will speak at Hannon Library on the Southern Oregon University campus on Friday, February 7th, at Noon.

Forbidden Chains

Forbidden Citizens: Chinese Exclusion and the U.S. Congress: A Legislative History” traces the timeline and background of a series of laws passed by the U.S. Congress between 1879 and 1943 which prohibited the Chinese as a people from becoming U.S. citizens.  “Forbidden Citizens” recounts this long and shameful legislative history quoting both supporters and opponents of the bills in full detail.  Ted Gong, 1882 Project co-chair of the Chinese American Alliance will also join Mr. Gold in a discussion of the recent passage of Senate Resolution 201, expressing regret for the 1882 Chinese exclusion laws.


Martin Gold, 2014Martin Gold, an attorney from Washington D.C., has over 35 years of legislative experience, advising U.S. Senate Majority Leaders, Senators, and serving on a number of Senate committees.  He is one of the country’s leading experts on congressional procedures, and is on the faculty of TheCapitol.Net.  He has presented hundreds of seminars for government, academic, and private sector audiences, has lectured in China, Russia, and the Ukraine, and has received numerous awards for his work in public affairs.


This Friday Noon event is free and kicks off the Chinese New Year celebrations which will continue Saturday in Jacksonville.  More Year of the Horse events are posted at: <>.  Contact Hannon Library at (541) 552-6023.


SOU Screening New Documentary: “The State of Arizona”

Media Alert

The Campus Theme Program at Southern Oregon University (SOU) will present a free screening of the new documentary film The State of Arizona on Thursday, Jan. 16, 7:00 pm in the SOU Meese Auditorium, Center for the Visual Arts.

The film tells the story of Arizona’s controversial “papers please” immigration law. The program is free and open to the public, and will be followed by a panel discussion.  This is a special pre-release “sneak preview” of the film which premieres later in January on PBS.
The State of Arizona, directed/produced by Catherine Tambini and Carlos Sandoval, interweaves the volatile themes of immigration and race portrayed through a mosaic of characters and their responses to the law, SB1070. The film is built around the turbulent arc of the law, from the Governor’s signing the bill in 2010 to the Supreme Court’s June 2012 pronouncement on its constitutionality. Through the personal stories of individuals impacting and impacted by immigration policies, the film explores the social and political circumstances that gave rise to SB1070, examining the roles played by government and business, as well as the human consequences of the policy.

Panel Facilitator:  SOU Professor Echo Fields, Sociology

Discussants: Virginia Camberos, regional organizer for Rogue Valley Oregon Action; Pancho Becraft, SOU alumni; John Almaguer, immigration attorney

Carlos Sandoval, Producer/Director

Filmmaker Carlos SandovalCarlos Sandoval is the co-director/producer of the award-winning documentariesA Class Apart (American Experience 2009, Imagen Award), soon to be a major motion picture, and Farmingville (P.O.V. 2004, Sundance Special Jury Prize), which was about a small suburban town in the wake of the hate-based attempted murder of two Mexican day laborers. A lawyer and writer, Sandoval’s work has appeared in anthologies and The New York Times. His experience as a lawyer includes telecommunications and complex litigation. Prior to attending law school, Sandoval worked on immigration and refugee affairs as a member of the U.S. delegation to the United Nations, and as a program officer for The Century Foundation.

Catherine Tambini, Producer/Director

Filmmaker Catherine TambiniCatherine Tambini is the co-director/producer of the award-winning documentaryFarmingville. Ms. Tambini co-produced the Academy Award-nominated documentary Suzanne Farrell: Elusive Muse, which aired on PBS’s Great Performances/Dance In America. She field produced and shot portions of MTV’s series I’m From Rolling Stone and TLC’s Pageant Perfect. She was the production manager for Connie and Ruthie, Every Room in the House (HBO) and Best Man (Cinemax). Tambini assisted in the production design of many well-known Hollywood films, including The Hand That Rocks The Cradle, Steel Magnolias, True Colors, and The Secret of My Success. Born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, she holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree from the University of Oklahoma and a Master of Fine Arts degree from New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts.


Professor Robert Arellano Receives 2014 Oregon Literary Fellowship

Literary Arts announced this week that Southern Oregon University Professor Robert Arellano is the recipient of a 2014 Oregon Literary Fellowship. “Oregonians are passionate about books,” reads the announcement of the awards, sponsored by the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Cultural Trust. “And ideas, and great writing. Our mission is to engage readers, support writers, and inspire the next generation with great literature.”

Arellano, the author of six novels including the Edgar Award-finalist Havana Lunar (Akashic Books, 2009), will hold the Leslie Bradshaw Fellowship in fiction for 2014. “I’m blown away,” says Arellano. “Four years after moving here with my family, it’s really just hitting me as an author: Oregon embraces me.”

Bobby001 copy

Last year, together with fellow Creative Writing professors Kasey Mohammad and Craig Wright, Arellano founded the Institute of New Writing \ Ashland at Southern Oregon University. “A lot of people love visiting the Rogue Valley for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival or for outdoor adventuring. Craig, Casey and I want to put SOU on the map as the Northwest destination for literary inspiration.”

Arellano and seven other 2014 Oregon Literary Fellowship honorees will engage with Oregonians this year at events across the state, beginning with the 27th annual Oregon Book Awards in Portland later this winter. But Arellano says his real second passion is teaching: “My online course for SOU right now is called Writing the Novel, and it’s packed with students who log on from Seattle to San Diego: 30 authors, ages 18 to 60-something, mastering the art of storytelling.”

 About Southern Oregon University

Southern Oregon University provides outstanding student experiences, valued degrees, and successful graduates. SOU is known for excellence in faculty, intellectual creativity and rigor, quality and innovation in connected learning programs, and the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power, and it is the first university in the nation to balance 100% of its water consumption. Visit

About Literary Arts

Oregonians are passionate about books. And ideas, and great writing. Literary Arts shares this passion. Our mission is to engage readers, support writers, and inspire the next generation with great literature. The programs of Literary Arts include: Writers in the Schools, Oregon Book Awards & Fellowships, Portland Arts & Lectures, and Delve: Readers’ Seminars.

For more information about the programs of Literary Arts please contact 503.227.2583 or visit

About the Oregon Arts Commission and Oregon Cultural Trust

The Commission offers a variety of matching grants to support arts programming in Oregon. Grant programs are supported with general funds from the State of Oregon and the Oregon Cultural Trust, and federal dollars from the National Endowment for the Arts. Additionally, the Commission shares its grant-making resources with the Oregon Cultural Trust to provide a more efficient and cost effective process for both organizations.

The Cultural Trust is a statewide cultural plan to raise significant new funds for Oregon’s arts, humanities and heritage. Funds are distributed to local communities to support cultural priorities, through competitive grants for projects of regional and statewide significance, and through grants to Oregon’s statewide cultural agencies to support their ongoing efforts.

Bobby005 (1) copyPhotos of Robert Arellano by Ezra Marcos 

SOU To Test New Mass Notification System

Southern Oregon University will test a new public address safety system on Tuesday, December 17, beginning at 8:00 a.m. and lasting most of the day. The drill will include loud speaker announcements that will be heard across campus and possibly in neighborhoods surrounding SOU.

“This system will allow University officials to alert the entire campus to emergencies, saving valuable time in the event of life threatening situations,” says Tom Bieber, SOU manager of environmental, health, safety and risk management.

The system includes five stations located in the new North Campus Village, Churchill Hall and Taylor Hall, plus several outdoor speakers. The emergency notification system was added to the buildings during recent construction and remodeling.


SOU President formalizes need for “retrenchment” to meet fiscal and student needs

Ashland, OR – December 5, 2013: Southern Oregon University president Mary Cullinan made the formal announcement today that the university needs to make academic program reductions to ensure its long-term fiscal strength and student affordability. Termed “retrenchment,” the formal move enables the faculty contract to be opened so that a process of eliminating and reducing programs can begin.

The retrenchment announcement came this morning during a University forum at which Dr. Cullinan as well as faculty senate president Dave Carter and student body president Tommy Letchworth addressed faculty, staff, and students on the need to cut programs in order to balance the budget and reinvest in core programs.

“Retrenchment is the only option for SOU,” said Cullinan. “It will enable us to sustain and advance our university, offer our students a high quality, affordable education, and serve our regional mission. The new landscape offers less certainty about enrollment and state funding, and a greater certainty that only through affordable tuition can we keep SOU accessible for Oregonians. We need resources to support and enhance in-demand degree programs and help students stay in school and earn a degree.”

The next step of the retrenchment process is to develop a provisional plan that provides a draft of program eliminations and reductions. The plan, to be released in January, will be consistent with SOU’s mission and reflect academic needs and enrollment priorities, but also enable the university to meet its budgetary goals. The campus community has a 15 university-day period in which to provide their comments for consideration in the final plan.

“Losing valued faculty members will be the hardest part of this process,” said Cullinan. “Because of the length and nature of this process, those whose programs face reduction or elimination will know well in advance, so they will have preparation time and help from SOU with their transition.

“SOU is incredibly important to present and future generations of students. Our university is vital to this region and to the state of Oregon. We need to do what is best for the short and long term. This means cutting low-enrollment, low-demand programs and retargeting resources so that SOU remains affordable and provides the programs student need most.”

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SOPTV’s “Immense Possibilities” Partners with SOU’s Digital Media Center

Public TV and community TV are joining hands for “Immense Possibilities.”

The SOPTV public affairs program “Immense Possibilities” is moving its production to Southern Oregon University’s high-tech Digital Media Center (DMC) at Rogue Valley Community Television. The program is also expanding its reach to Portland, Redding and other parts of the West.

“This is a great example of regional collaboration,” says SOU President Mary Cullinan. “We’re harnessing DMC’s exceptional technology and SOU’s talented Digital Media students to work with the experienced staff and talent from Southern Oregon Public Television. Together they’ll create a compelling TV program that can be viewed broadly in the West. It’s a wonderful showcase for southern Oregon.”

“With the help of SOU, we plan to make ‘Immense Possibilities’ a more regional program,” says Mark Stanislawski, President & CEO of SOPTV.  “KIXE in Redding begins broadcasting ‘Immense Possibilities’ in January, and this season of ‘Immense Possibiliites’ will be seen on Oregon Public Broadcasting.   We hope more stations on the west coast broadcast the series and so we can expand the exchange of community-building experiences even further.”

The DMC’s state-of-the-art “green screen” technology was a big reason for the move from SOPTV’s studio in Medford to the SOU campus in Ashland. The green screen technology allows the host and studio guests to be superimposed on a variety of virtual sets, enhancing the visual appeal of the program.

DMC's green screen allows the program host and guests to be superimposed on a variety of virtual sets.

DMC’s green screen allows the program host and guests to be superimposed on a variety of virtual sets.

SOU’s participation in the partnership also creates opportunities for dozens of students to gain real-world experience in producing a program aired on PBS stations in the West, on-air presenting and social media campaigning. “The University has made it a strategic priority for our students to be more engaged, more visible and more productive in the world outside of our campus,” said SOU faculty member Erik Palmer.

“We plan to bring more intergenerational activity to the show,” says “Immense Possibilities” host and producer Jeff Golden. “We’d like to see someone in their 20s host a regular segment within ‘Immense Possibilities’’ That’s an important element of the community building that our program is all about.”

The “Immense Possibilities” partnership will be formalized on Friday, December 6 at 2:30 p.m. in a ceremony at the Digital Media Center on the SOU campus. President Cullinan and SOPTV President and CEO Mark Stanislawski will view a student demonstration of the virtual set to be used for “Immense Possibilities.”

About Southern Oregon University

As the public liberal arts university of the West, Southern Oregon University focuses on student learning, accessibility, and civic engagement that enriches both the community and bioregion. The university is recognized for fostering intellectual creativity, for quality and innovation in its connected learning programs, and for the educational benefits of its unique geographic location. SOU was the first university in Oregon—and one of the first in the nation—to offset 100 percent of its energy use with clean, renewable power, and it is the first university in the nation to balance 100% of its water consumption. Visit

About Immense Possibilities

“Immense Possibilities” is a weekly public TV and Internet visit with guests whose social creations are building vibrant communities.  In the process they are infusing others with realistic hope and inviting them to engage in the activities around them.  Says one recent IP guest,  “With Americans waking up almost every day to a barrage of discouraging, disempowering news stories, ‘Immense Possibilities’ is exactly what we need right now.  It inspires us with proof that positive, life-affirming solutions to our big challenges aren’t just possible — they’re actually unfolding around us everyday”

—Ocean Robbins, Founder of YES!

Immense Possibilities video highlights.

About the Digital Media Center

The Southern Oregon Digital Media Center (DMC) provides a space where people, tools and technology blend together to inspire relevant and compelling media for the 21st century. The center serves both Southern Oregon University (SOU) and the larger community in Southern Oregon and Northern California. The DMC builds on and expands the mission of SOU’s Rogue Valley Community Television organization (RVTV), and supports the teaching function of multiple academic programs at SOU. We are #thehouseofyes.

About Southern Oregon Public Television

Southern Oregon Public Television (SOPTV) is a nonprofit, community-owned, governed and operated educational television station.  Using television, the Internet and community outreach, SOPTV connects communities in five southern Oregon counties and a portion of northern California by partnering with local organizations and corporations. Made possible by the financial support of its viewers, SOPTV is accessible to all regardless of their means. SOPTV is available from Roseburg to Happy Camp, CA and from Brookings to Klamath Falls. Its headquarters are located in Medford, Oregon.  More information on SOPTV and its programs and services is available at