Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.
Tulelake Municipal Airport Stakeholder Engagement
Aviation Development, Environment, Historic Preservation, & Local Interests
Interview Questions (answered by KBC News 1/19/16)
KBC News answers are in RED
Background, Issues, & Relationships
1. Please tell us about your background with the Tulelake Municipal Airport:
a What is your interest in the airport? Our airport is essential to keeping our farms and local economy whole. We personally farm horseradish and organic barley. Macys spray and fertilize our fields so you can have food on your table. The food we produce in the Klamath and Tulelake Basin is sent throughout the country and world.
b Have you
visited the airport? If so, when was your last visit?
c Have you contacted the Federal Aviation Administration or Modoc County about activities or projects at the airport? If so, how would you characterize those contacts? No
2. Please tell us about your organization in relationship to the Tulelake Municipal Airport:
a. What is your organization’s role? Klamathbasincrisis.org is Voices of the Klamath Basin Farmers, Ranchers, Miners, Loggers, Indians and Fishermen, including people On- and Off-Project, tribal and non-tribal, Modoc, Siskiyou and Klamath Counties, Oregon and California. We offer our neighbors/resource users a voice and links to research and news regarding use of their land and water rights, and use of natural resources. We are the voices of the people in the Tulelake and Klamath Basin and beyond. When water was shut off to farmers and ranchers in 2001, we were created so those affected could have a voice, and at that time hundreds to thousands of people daily used the website for information. It was also the voice/website for Tulelake Growers Association and Klamath Water Users Association. Our relationship with the airport is, we farmers and ranchers depend on the airport to provide and apply essential supplements for our soil to grow food.
b. What is the history between your organization and the airport? Again, we need, and have always needed, the airport to apply essential supplements for our soil to grow food, whether chemical or organically grown. Our organization provides information, and a voice for those whose land and resource rights are being taken away from them.
3. Please tell us about your perspective, concerns, and needs related to the development and/or maintenance of the Tulelake Municipal Airport or other attributes of the airport property.
4. What is your perspective on the history and dynamics of the relationships of the people and organizations involved?
A I manage KBC website. I personally, and our entire Tulelake Community, is made up of WWI and WWII veterans who homesteaded here. My location and also that of the airport were homesteaded by men who joined the military after the Japanese bombed Pearl Harbor. Putting the relocation camp here in the middle of US veterans was wrong, and the locals opposed it in the first place. Local organizations are of course made up of mostly farm and ranch families who depend on our airport. All of us know of local veterans who were in Japanese concentration camps which included torture and death of many. That is the community where the US government put the j camp. Most of those who were in that war are now dead or very old, however their families are carrying out their family farm operations. Most of the WWII veteran’s sons served in our military too, and have returned home to grow food for their nation and beyond. We at KBC made a documentary, told by the settlers in Tulelake, of how they built their community. Every person interviewed felt the incarceration was wrong, and they bare no judgement on the families of the Japanese who fought them in the war or were sent to the Newell camp. However, now that the children and grandchildren want to sue against an essential hub of our community, which will destroy our economy without local farms (and the airport is a large employer of local people), our local community is resenting this current attack on our community.
Success & Process
5. How would you define a successful outcome?
The Japanese would end their lawsuit against the airport. They would work with, not against, our community who will be supportive of them developing the 840 acres they have already obtained. Since this was previously land freely accessible to the public—tribal, white, Japanese, black, Hispanic peoples, and since they are welcomed to visit the airport, they would allow us access to the land they just acquired, that we
6. What do you think is standing in the way of achieving this success?
The Japanese are suing our community to keep us from using our airport, even though they are welcome to enter that area by the managers of the airport. They want more land after locking us out of their recent acquisitions. You sue someone you want to destroy, not someone you want to work with. The lawsuit, plus people that have no stake in our airport, making decisions that will severely harm our community, are standing in the way to success.
7. What experience have you had with neutral third party assisted conflict resolution?
I attended many meetings of government agencies, environmental groups and Indian tribes wanting to downsize or end farming in our basin, take out our infrastructure (hydro dams), and buy our water rights. They had a pre-existing agenda which they stated all along, and our voices fell on deaf ears. They ended up forming a coalition with government agencies, tribes and NGO’s in closed door meetings where the public was not welcome to make their agenda come to fruition. It cost our farms and ranches collectively millions of dollars, and it failed. It consisted of “stakeholders” who had no stake in our farmland and water except federal funds to support their organizations. Actually, I guess the answer would be “no” because in that case, the 3rd party was not neutral.
8. What process do you think would lead to a successful outcome? Would you be willing to participate in such a process?
A process located in our community and not hundreds of miles from here to convenience those wanting to take our private land. Yes I would be willing to participate.
9. What additional information would you like to have about aspects of this situation? When and where future meetings will be held, and when and where public meetings will be held. Also it will be important to learn what possible processes you have that would actually work with our community.
10. Are there others who may want to be kept updated about this process? Yes, many local individuals who are being adversely affected by their lawsuit and goal to shut down our airport, the Tulelake public.
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