and News: Klamath Falls, Oregon
Meeting about reservation turns testy
Chuck Kimbol Sr., left, talks with Dan Keppen,
executive director of the Klamath Water Users
Association, during a meeting at the Beatty
Community Center Tuesday.
Published October 22, 2003
By DYLAN DARLING
BEATTY - A meeting of Klamath Tribes members,
irrigators and others that was called to discuss a
possible new reservation on national forest land,
started with talk about working together.
About 15 minutes later, half of the crowd of about
250 people at the meeting walked out of the Beatty
Becky Hyde, a Sprague River irrigator who set up the
meeting, asked for people to break into small groups
and to tell their concerns to group leaders. Many
didn't want to do it.
Terri Mander, who has a ranch on the Sprague River,
led the revolt.
"You are treating us like a bunch of children - it
should be a forum in front of everyone," she said
before heading out the door. "This would make no
progress at all."
The people who stayed discussed their concerns in
individual groups for about two hours and then
shared their lingering questions and realizations
with the larger group.
Many said they wanted to know what exactly has been
discussed in the last couple of months during
informal talks among the Tribes, the Klamath Water
Users Association, Klamath Basin Rangeland Trust,
irrigators above Upper Klamath Lake and others.
Hyde said she has been involved in the talks and set
up the meeting so everyone could get a chance to
"The idea is to express our worst fears so we come
to the best outcome," she said.
She said many of those who left weren't ready to
face their fears yet.
"The people who walked out needed to walk out," she
said. "We had a purpose for the meeting, and we had
to go on."
Outside, a group of some of those who left huddled
by a pickup.
Mander said the event had been billed as a public
meeting, but the format turned out to be more like a
workshop. She said she wanted a meeting where all
participants got to speak to the group as a whole.
Bob Sanders, a Sprague River irrigator, said it was
disappointing to see people walk out before they or
others really got a chance to say anything.
"I think a lot of concerns were aired out, but I
don't think all were answered," he said.
He said many are concerned about how the Klamath
Tribes will manage the forests if the federal
government gives them the land.
"People are scared," he said. "We are all scared,
and that hasn't been answered."
Before many of the questions about the future can be
answered, the people involved need to get settled
about the past, said John Elliott, Klamath County
He said the Tribes, loggers, irrigators, anyone who
uses natural resources in the Klamath Basin, need to
explain to the others how they got into the
situations they are in.
"We need to understand that we are all responsible
for where we are," he said.
To then find an understanding of what to do next,
people will need to come together and share their
concerns, he said.
"It transcends legislation, it transcends litigation
- it's getting back to what a handshake meant in the
Old West," Elliott said.
Just after the walkout, Allen Foreman, chairman of
the Klamath Tribes, left the meeting for a while and
talked with some of the folks outside. After talking
to them, he said it is not productive to have people
walk out of meetings.
"It's a little bumpy start, but it's a start," he
Joe Hobbes, vice chairman of the Klamath Tribes,
said there will probably be many more meetings to
answer the many questions about the land deal. He
said the Tribes' 100-year forest management plan, to
be released in mid-November, should clarify many
"I think that will quell a lot of the concerns," he
He said no one knows exactly what will happen in
negotiations with the federal government. He said
the recent tours of the Klamath Reclamation Project
and the Tribes' former reservation and the meeting
Tuesday night has helped people get to know each
"We are not all going to get all that we want," he
said. "We are going to have to share the pain in a
lot of the deals."
The Tribes plan to hold a series of public meetings
to explain the management plan and answer questions.
Foreman said the first public meeting will be at 6
p.m. Nov. 10 at the Beatty Community Center.
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