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Where does the bucket belong?

Klamath County Commissioners seek input from the public

followed by Where is the Bucket?

Samantha Tipler

Commissioners moved the Bucket Brigade memorial bucket to the Klamath County Fairgrounds with its sibling bucket last week. They removed it from the front of the Klamath County Government Center for the upcoming filming of "Brother in Laws" in Klamath Falls.


Last week, the Klamath County commissioners moved the Bucket Brigade’s 10-foot-tall bucket from the steps of the county government center to the fairgrounds. One Klamath Falls man told commissioners he thought it looks better that way.

“It overshadows the monuments of the fallen across the street,” Michael Hinkel told commissioners at their weekly Tuesday meeting. He referred to the stone memorial in front of the county courthouse, which hosts a long list of names of servicemen who died in World War I, World War II, Korea, Vietnam and the Gulf wars.
“I served with the Marines, two tours in Vietnam,” Hinkel said. “I was there to hear them cry out and fall.”
The bucket, which commemorates the 2001 water crisis, should not detract from the more important memorial for the American servicemen, Hinkel said.
“I believe that it draws all the attention to that one spot and it’s rather an in-eloquent addition to the whole scenario the architect intended,” he said of the bucket. “I always felt it was somewhat intimidating.”
Commissioners moved the bucket for the upcoming filming of “Brother in Laws.” Since Aug. 18 it has sat with its sibling bucket at the fairgrounds.
“Thirteen years ago I set that bucket with my crane in front of the government center. Very happy to do it. I thought it represented part of our culture here in the Klamath Basin,” said commission chairman Jim Bellet.

 “Thirteen years later my crane was in town and I went and picked the bucket up and moved it out to the fairgrounds … I think it does raise the question we need to discuss: where do we want a permanent home for that bucket?”
The commissioners thanked Hinkel for his comments and asked others from the community to come forward and speak their minds. The public can comment at the weekly 9 a.m. Tuesday commissioners meetings, during the time set aside at the end of the meeting, as Hinkel did.
People also can email the commissioners their thoughts on where the bucket should go at: bocc@klamathcounty.org.
“I think it should come back here,” said Commissioner Tom Mallams, saying the bucket should return to the government center. “But I want to listen to the citizens and see what they have to say.”
Mallams said the bucket represents the ongoing water struggles in the Klamath Basin and acts as a reminder, keeping people from becoming complacent about the issue.
“It’s been there a long time. It’s been there 13 years,” he said. “But I do think it represents the conflict that’s been ongoing and still is ongoing.”
He said the bucket also represents the “heavy handed use of our federal government using rules and regulations to stop the economy from growing.” The bucket was put in place during a public protest in August, 2001 — the year Klamath Project farmers were cut off from irrigation water from Upper Klamath Lake because of the Endangered Species Act protection of suckers in the lake and coho salmon in the Klamath River.
Commissioner Dennis Linthicum agreed with Mallams about the bucket representing a protest to federal government power.
“Agriculture and timber industries have been horribly harmed by federal over-reach,” Linthicum said.
Bellet said he would like the bucket to find a new home, though he didn’t know where. He advocated for the Klamath County Museum, as the bucket is a part of history. But the museum does not have room, Bellet said. He argued the government center is not where it belongs.
“It’s not a place that it needs to sit for the next 50 years,” Bellet said. “Thirteen years went by pretty quick. We need to make some decisions and I really want the people in the community to let us know.”

Where is the bucket?

‘Brother in Laws’ necessitates props, removal of bucket

  by SAMANTHA TIPLER, Herald and News 8/26/14
     Don’t worry, the bucket isn’t gone. It just moved. The giant bucket that commemorates the 2001 Bucket Brigade, usually sitting in front of the Klamath County Government Center, has moved to the Klamath County Fairgrounds. “The reason we did was because of the movie that’s going to be filmed at the government center,” said Klamath County Commission Chairman Jim Bellet, referring to the movie “Brother in Laws” being shot in the area. He said filming will likely happen at the government center sometime in the second week of September. “They wanted the bucket moved.”

   On Monday, Aug. 18, the county moved the 10-foot-tall bucket to the fairgrounds, almost 13 years to the day after it first arrived in front of the government center.

   The bucket came with the protests of the 2001 water crisis. On Aug. 21, 2001, it was delivered when a crowd estimated at 4,000 gathered on Main Street between the government center and the Klamath County Courthouse.

   That was after the event in May when the Bucket Brigade lined the streets of Klamath Falls, delivering 51 buckets of water, one for each state and Washington, D.C., from Lake Ewauna to the A Canal.  

   That pivotal year, Klamath Project farmers were cut off from irrigation water from Upper Klamath Lake because of the Endangered Species Act protection of suckers in the lake and coho salmon in the Klamath River.

   It sparked a conflict over water leading to the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement; water continues to be a hot topic in a drought year like this.

   Since moving the bucket, Bellet said the commissioners have gotten comments from people glad to see it gone, and from people who want it returned to its spot in front of the government center. Bellet said now is a good time to   talk about the future of the monument and where it should remain.

   “It’s been there for 13, 14 years, since 2001 — since the water shutoff,” he said. “It’s been there a long time. I think the community needs to have that discussion. Are we going to leave it there forever?”

   He suggested the commissioners facilitate a discussion with the Bucket Brigade, which technically owns the bucket, and other members of the community.

   “It is an idea across the community, what do we want to do with that bucket, and when?” he said. “We’ll just see what the public wants to do with it.”  

    stipler@heraldandnews.com  ; @TiplerHN
  The commemorative bucket — from the 2001 Bucket Brigade — joined its sibling at the Klamath County Fairgrounds last week. Commissioners moved the bucket away from the Klamath County Government Center for the upcoming filming of “Brother in Laws.”
  H&N photos by Samantha Tipler



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