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KRRC hires community liaison on dam removal

by Holly Dillemuth, Herald and News 1/9/18

The Klamath Basin will soon know more about an individual hired by the Klamath River Renewal Corporation (KRRC) as a point person on issues relating to the proposed removal of four dams on the Klamath River starting in 2020.

Mark Bransom, KRCC executive director, confirmed on Monday the organization has hired a community liaison for the Klamath Basin on issues related to the decommissioning of PacifiCorps’ Iron Gate Dam, Copco No. 1 and No. 2, and J.C. Boyle Dam.

Bransom said the organization plans to make an announcement soon about the individual tapped to fill the post. The person is currently working in the position “just south of the Basin” in California and will travel as needed, according to Bransom.


“The community liaison will serve as kind of a two-way conduit for information between the KRRC, our staff ... and our community partners, our signatories as well as the community we are touching throughout the Basin, all the way from Red Bluff, Calif., — the mouth of the Klamath River — up to Chiloquin” Bransom said.

During a Nov. 9 open house at Oregon Tech, Bransom said KRRC would likely locate an office for KRRC and its Klamath Basin liaison in Klamath Falls.

While that is still a consideration for the “near future,” Bransom said no final decisions have been made.

“We’re still assessing space needs and location and timing,” Bransom said. “It may be that we look at having an office presence in the near future or it may be something that we decide to do as we move toward construction, and a need for KRRC and contracting staff to be closer to the project location on a day-in, day-out basis.”

Since the November open house, Bransom said KRRC staff has collected upwards of two dozen comment cards regarding the removal of the dams, from both proponents and opponents of dam removal.

“We received a lot of questions that are not directly related to the KRRC’s scope or mission, and have to do with things primarily related to issues that were intended to be addressed through the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and the Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement (UKBCA), and related vehicles for trying to address the complex issues of water and resource issues,” Bransom said. “Because so many of those are outside the scope and mission of the KRRC, we’re not really in a position to directly address those.

“But certainly we received a number of comments and questions about the impact of the (dam removal) project on irrigated agriculture and job creation, economic ingenuity impacts, economic development, and community development-related matters.”

Bransom said KRRC plans to host an additional forum sometime in 2018 to collect additional comments and give the public a chance to learn more.

“We will certainly be receptive to invitations or suggestions for additional meetings,” Bransom said.

In the meantime, Bransom said he wants to allow the new community liaison the opportunity to spend some time up in the Klamath Falls area and get to know folks a little better.

“It will be important for the individual to spend more time up there and help me make an assessment of when it would be appropriate for us to schedule a meeting for those purposes,” Bransom said.


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