The crowd of 3,700, (estimated by fairgrounds
manager Drew Langley) was calm and rather quiet. They were hoping to hear
some positive news in the messages of the speakers.
Congressman Greg Walden was introduced by Master of
Ceremonies Mike Byrne and received a standing ovation. He was given framed
pictures of his participation in the Klamath Basin Bucket Brigade with a
brass plate that stated: The Honorable Greg Walden~ With sincere gratitude
for your extraordinary leadership and dedication~~The Klamath Basin
During his comments he addressed the positive nature
of his recent flight on Air Force One with President Bush. Congressman
Walden was very encouraged with the Presidentís interest and concern for
the Klamath Basin. He feels that this is a great opportunity for the slow
wheels of government to begin turning faster to solve the basinís water
crisis. Walden encouraged the crowd to continue to pressure our government
for justice and balance by peaceful means, because our message is being
heard all across the United States, and President Bush has now stated
publicly that Klamath Basin farmers need water.
Speakers Dave Solem, Klamath Irrigation District
Manager, and Dan Keppen, Klamath Water Users Association Executive
Director were both cautiously optimistic about the possibility of
receiving a favorable allocation of water. However, both agreed that at
the current levels set by the biological opinions, there is no guarantee.
Keppen stressed to the crowd that a letter-writing campaign is very
important because there are new people in place in the Bush administration
that need to hear our concerns. A sample letter, updated addresses and a
sheet of bullet points to address were handed out at the rally.
Addtionally, that information should be available on the website and in an
ad next week in the Herald and News.
Bill Ransom gave a brief update on money received
and distributed to needy community residents by the Klamath Relief Fund.
Russ Brooks, Pacific Legal Foundation explained
their actions in current legal cases. For more information, visit their
The crowd moved quietly through the lines to receive
their coho salmon snacks and donated bread. It was a day to receive and
digest current information and ponder what direction should now be taken.