Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Fighting for Our Right to Irrigate Our Farms and Caretake Our Natural Resources

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        Five Short Homesteader Stories

  Ed Osborne came to Tulelake in 1930 and began farming. In 2000 along with his sons Bill and Doug, they farmed 5000 acres. They raised potatoes, onions, grain, alfalfa, cabbage, peppermint, carrots, rutabagas & cattle and employed up to 700 people, 3 of which were full-time bookkeepers. If no water is delivered in 2001, the family will have to sell out and up to 700 people will   need to find work elsewhere. The Osbornes don't know what they will do. Ed states, "We have to have a decent price for our crops... prices are 30% less than parity, but $0 with no water."
 
  Norman & Margaret Hall: Norman served in WWII and became a Tulelake homesteader in 1949. Three of their six children graduated from college, one served in Vietnam. Son Clinton and his family are farming a total of 1500 acres raising   cattle, sheep, hay, onions, grain, sugarbeets. They produce 25 tons of onions/acre and 3 tons of grain/acre with the help of up to 50 employees. If no water is delivered, the family will be forced to try to save the operation by digging wells, but Norman will be forced to retire for good. Norman states: "This is a ridiculous political deal. They put fish before people. This is not what we fought for. They promised us water to entice us to the area."
 
  Wendell & Lela Schey: Wendell served in WWII and became a Tulelake homesteader in 1948. The Japanese Internment Camp barracks they moved onto their 104 acres, just south of the Peninsula was home to children Karen, Dick, Bill, Chris and Mike, -- three of whom served in Vietnam. The farm has been host to crops of 3-ton grain. If no water is delivered this year, Wendell  & Lela don't yet know what they will do, losing approximately $25,000 revenue.
 
  Eleanor Bolesta says, "I feel betrayed by the government, especially the Bureau of Reclamation." She survives her  husband and has spent 54 years on the 110-acre family farm. She was the only woman drawn to a Tulelake homestead. The farm has produced row crops and grain.
 
  Eileen Buckingham's son Keith farms the family's 1947 homestead which was earned by 3 family members serving in WWII.  The farm of 560 acres supports Eileen and her son's family, producing potatoes, hay, sugar beets, grain and onions. Eileen is angry and states, "The educated idiots' biological opinions will destroy the whole Klamath Basin!" She is now "including this sad news in letters to friends away from here who don't know this U.S. Government is breaking its guarantee of water to us when we homesteaded."

 

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