Vandals tag signs near Klamath dam;
Messages demand Iron Gate removal
By Dylan Darling, Redding Record Searchlight September 20, 2008
Vandals marked new campground signs near Iron Gate Reservoir this
week in far northern Siskiyou County, railing against power dams
along the Klamath River.
“There is a big controversy brewing here,” said Susan Gravenkamp,
spokeswoman for the Siskiyou County Sheriff’s Department. “We
believe it is connected to that.”
She said the office had no suspects in the vandalism at Long Gulch
Campground, which will cost $2,000 to clean up and happened
between 9 a.m. Tuesday and 9:30 a.m. Wednesday.
The controversy is whether Portland, Ore.-based PacifiCorp should
renew its federal license to operate its string of four power dams
on the river or remove them. Sprayed in a variety of paint colors,
the vandals’ messages included “No Amount of Stalling Will Stop
the Dams from Falling.”
Art Sasse, spokesman for PacifiCorp, said he hadn’t heard of the
vandalism and that the company is considering all of its options
with the 169-megawatt Klamath Hydroelectrical Project.
In Portland on Thursday to protest the project in PacifiCorp’s
hometown, Craig Tucker, spokesman for the Karuk Tribe, said he
hadn’t heard of the vandalism either. It didn’t shock him though.
“It doesn’t surprise me that people are getting angrier and
angrier,” Tucker said. He said those pushing for dam removal argue
that the dams are detrimental for salmon health and water quality
in the river.
As part of their legal protests Thursday in a Portland park,
Tucker said tribal members — many of whom live along the river —
and others who want the dams destroyed, smashed a 12-foot salmon
made of papier mâché and cloth through a replica of Iron Gate Dam.
The dam is the largest of the project’s dams and blocks salmon
passage into the river’s upper reaches in Oregon. “These dams
simply have to be removed,” Tucker said.
Reporter Dylan Darling can be reached at 225-8266 or ddarling@