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http://pioneer.olivesoftware.com/Olive/ODE/HeraldandNews/ Klamath River, Calif. Dams and a monument: ‘We feel squeezed here’ by ANDREW MARIMAN, Herald and News February 17, 2012 Shirley Fisher’s family tree grows along the banks of the Klamath River. The 82-year-old tells about her father moving the family to the town of Klamath River after losing his home in Oak Bar — 15 miles downstream — during the Great Depression. Then she talks about her grandson, Jason, 39 helping her run the 230 acres she owns along the river. And she speaks of his children — the sixth generation on the river. Her grandparents, the DeAvillas, raised 13 children along the river. Her father, Jess DeAvilla, was the oldest. Her mother, Elsie, taught at the old Honolulu School in Gottville, which used to serve students from Klamath River to Horse Creek. Fisher was an only child and grew up with her parents in a home by the river. She still lives in that home today. “I remember standing in the river with dad, fishing for trout,” she said. “I used to pick blackberries, ride my horse, play. It was a great life in those days and things were busy along the river — there were miners and loggers, everyone seemed to have a job, city folk had summer homes in the area.” It was the late 1930s. Her father was a carpenter and knew everyone. “I can remember, at 11 or 12, renting my horse out for a dollar a day. I saved up enough that summer to buy a bike — cost me $30.” Everyone was in the same boat back then, she said. “No one had a lot, some were just eking by, but there was work. There were so many little towns along the river that have since dried up.” She said Oak Bar, for instance, was a swank resort where the wealthy frequently escaped from the city. Times have changed. “We feel squeezed here,” she said. “We have the river on one side, likely to flood if the dams come out, and the monument on the other.” (The Siskiyou Monument proposal, if passed, would set aside more than 500,000 acres of land between the Klamath River and Siskiyou Crest, limiting access). “They say the dams weren’t made for flood control, but they certainly help,” Fisher said. The worst flood she can remember (the one old-timers along the river describe as if it happened yesterday; the one that wiped out part of Happy Camp) occurred in 1964, after the dams went in. But she shudders to think of how bad it could have been if there were no controls on the Klamath River’s upper stretches. “The flood of ’64 washed out 12 spaces in my trailer park and flooded out the basement of one of my rentals,” she said. Fisher is concerned about the possibility of greater frequency of flooding if the dams come out. With the prospect of dam removal and the proposed 500,000-acre Siskiyou Monument, she wonders what the future holds. And she’s not alone. In every town along Highway 96, which follows the Klamath River from Interstate 5 to Weitchpec before the highway abandons the Klamath to follow the Trinity River into Hoopa, there are a variety of signs, from as big as SUVs to the size of a loaf of bread, stating “No Monument.” Many feel similarly passionate about the dams. “The government wants to set up more rules and fees in the area and take away flood protection and an energy source (dams) they helped put up in the first place,” Fisher said. “I mean it’s like they want all of us along the river to move into an apartment in the city.” Klamath River is an unincorporated community on the Klamath River along Highway 96 near the Oregon border. The community of Klamath River is about 11 miles long and includes both sides of the river from Gottville to Kohl Creek. The population is 190.
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