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Klamath Co. voters split on dam removal

KDRV Staff November, 3, 2010

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. - For voters in Klamath County, an underlying theme in Tuesday's General Election was the lingering debate over Klamath River dam removal and the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.

Longtime Commissioner Kirk Oakes (D) was soundly defeated by Dennis Linthicum (R), who opposes dam removal. Linthicum defeated Oakes by a 72 to 27 percent margin.

Meanwhile, Measure 18-80, an advisory vote on whether Klamath County discontinue its participation in the KBRA, was a near split, with 48 percent voting 'yes' on discontinuing participation, and 51 percent voting 'no', as of Wednesday night.

However, some say there was voter confusion over the phrasing of the measure. Opponents of the KBRA allege there was much more opposition than was reflected in the nearly 50-50 split at the ballot box.

"This clearly states that there is a huge amount of opposition. It split the county right in two, basically. And we feel if it had been a very simple 'yes' or 'no' answer, it would have mirrored Siskiyou County's vote, which was about 81 percent against dam removal," said Tom Mallams, who opposes dam removal.

"We're still a little confused about what the population thinks, but we know one thing for sure, they're not for steamrolling through and getting this done by next Tuesday," Linthicum said.

Mallams says petition drives may seek to put another advisory vote on the March ballot.

In Siskiyou County's Measure G, 79 percent of voters were against dam removal, with 20 percent for it. For the latest election results click here.

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