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(Klamath) Water Users executive director resigns Greg Addington's last day will be Dec. 15

by Lacey Jarrell, Herald and News 9/9/15

After 10 years of going to bat for Klamath Project water users, Greg Addington is stepping down.

Addington is the executive director of the Klamath Water Users Association (KWUA), a nonprofit corporation that has advocated for Project farmers’ and ranchers’ rights since 1953. Addington joined the organization in 2005.

He said he feels it’s time to try something different.

“I’ve been treated great here. I work for people I really admire and respect,” he said.

“I was actually contemplating doing this in the spring, but the water year started shaping up so bad I didn’t want it to look like I was running out in the face of another (bad) water year.”

Last day Dec. 15

Addington announced his resignation to the KWUA board in mid-August. His last day is slated for Dec. 15.

KWUA Board President Rob Unruh said 2015, the Basin’s fourth consecutive year of drought and continuing water shortages, has kept Addington and the association busy.

“It’s just incredible the amount of issues Water Users handles on a daily basis,” Unruh said. “Greg has done a fantastic job. When a person like that steps down, it’s hard to fill his shoes.”

Addington is well-known for his involvement in crafting the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (KBRA) and the accompanying Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement. Their development was a years-long process and included several hard-won compromises from Basin water groups. Stakeholders cemented both agreements in 2010. Congress has yet to move on them.

“I need a breath of fresh air, and frankly, I think it would be good for the organization to have a breath of fresh air,” Addington said.

Addington and a coalition of KBRA stakeholders are in Washington, D.C., this week to pitch to federal officials the stability they believe a settlement could bring to the Basin farming and tribal communities. Stakeholders are banking on the settlements winning congressional approval before the new year.

“If it doesn’t go forward, then it’s time for somebody else to come in with some ideas and look at ways to move the organization forward,” Addington said. “It seems like a good time to step away.”

Deputy director resigns

Another hit to the association is that recently hired KWUA deputy director Matt Vickery is also resigning. His last day is Sept. 15.

Addington said KWUA staff hoped Vickery would step into the executive director position.

“We’ll miss Matt a lot. He is fantastic,” Addington said.

Vickery explained that his departure occurring so close to Addington’s is purely coincidental.

“I’ve been happy here. This opportunity came out of the blue,” Vickery said.

Vickery explained that an employer he previously interned for offered him a position as a property and natural resources manager for a cattle ranch near Orlando, Fla. He said he’ll participate in federal and state natural resource regulation, including Clean Water Act and endangered species management.

Addington said he didn’t know Vickery was considering another employment opportunity when he decided to tender his resignation.

New executive director

Addington’s recommendation to the board is to hire an executive director and let him or her hire the deputy.

Executive Assistant Chelsea Shearer is staying on.

Addington said he’s proud of the work KWUA has accomplished in the last decade.

Although he was raised near Eagle Point in the Rogue Valley, he has roots in the Basin: his father lived in Klamath Falls and two great-uncles farmed near Malin. After joining the KWUA staff, Addington and his family landed near Merrill.

“It was one of the best things we ever did. I’ve enjoyed it; my family’s grown up out there. I became really good friends with a lot of the people I’m here to work for,” he said.

Addington’s future

Addington said he may explore options for consulting on water management or natural resource conflict in the West, but he’d like to stay in the Basin, if possible.

KWUA plans to advertise its executive position before the end of the month. Addington said he doesn’t anticipate any problems filling the position.

“It’s challenging, there’s no question about it, but I think it’s become a more appealing position,” he said. “Some of the strides we’ve made over the years — to update and upgrade the organization — will be appealing to candidates.”

He said he’s not going to walk away if the position has not been filled by December.

“I’m pretty firm on December, but I’m absolutely committed to not leaving the board hanging,” he said.



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