(Klamath) Tribes receive development grants
Biomass, solar project studies would be funded
Klamath Tribes have been awarded two grants to assess the
feasibility of creating dozens of living-wage jobs for
tribal members and other Klamath County residents.
studies will be funded by two Bureau of Indian Affairs
Energy and Mineral Development Program grants awarded to the
Tribes in September.
grants are part of $5 million awarded to 34 nationwide
tribal projects to assist in developing energy and mineral
resources on tribal lands.
want the community to know that Klamath County as a whole is
only as strong as the sum of its parts,” said Klamath Tribes
Economic Development Director Jared Hall. “We feel like
Chiloquin and the Klamath Tribes are one of those parts. So,
if we thrive economically, the rest of the county will as as
proposal for an inventory and market assessment for a tribal
timber and wood biomass resources was awarded $113,832.
Another proposal for a pre-development study for two large
solar installations was granted $118,500.
solar project) fits squarely within the Tribes’ goals for
energy independence and protecting the environment,” said
Tribes Strategic Planner Shayleen Allen.
According to Allen, the solar feasibility assessment will
explore whether a community-scale or a commercial-scale
solar installation will be most beneficial to the tribal
community in Chiloquin. She said some preliminary solar
installation sites on tribal-owned land have been
identified, but nothing has been solidified yet.
commercial solar array is built, up to four permanent
positions could be created, Allen said.
part of a comprehensive regional plan, Hall said, the Tribes
will also study the feasibility of opening a wood biomass
facility at the Giiwas (ge-waas) Mill site north of
the Klamath Tribes purchased the 128-acre Giiwas parcel in
2008, the site was known as the Crater Lake Mill. Even back
in 2008, the Tribes were eyeing the potential for opening a
biomass site. According to a story published that year by
the Associated Press, the Tribes were seeking partners for a
biomass facility, which at the time was estimated to cost
between $8 million and $12 million.
said the mill site has been empty since 2004.
on similar biomass operations in the state, 15 to 20 jobs
could be created at the biomass facility and another dozen
or so harvest-related positions could be created in the
woods, according to Hall.
thing I think is really unique about this is for long time
we’ve been hearing that the workforce needs to be trained in
order to expand economically in Klamath County. We feel the
workforce is already trained for these jobs. A lot of people
will be able to move into these positions and succeed,” Hall
noted that although the mill site is located near forests
where the trees will be harvested, and it’s on Highway 97 —
making it prime for shipping wood products — only be a few
salvageable skeleton structures may exist.
has a lot of things going for it, but it will need some
investment,” Hall said.
part of the assessment, a full site plan will be developed,
existing equipment will be analyzed, and experts will
estimate how much it will cost to get the shell structures
said the biomass facility will mostly process lodgepole, but
timber within a 50- to 100-mile radius of the mill will be
managed according to the Tribes forest management plan.
not going to be processing saw logs. I want that to be
clear,” Hall said. “Right now, in this immediate project we
are not scoping that kind of effort.
whole scope of the project is to develop multiple outlets,
develop multiple products from lodgepole and to try to
expedite the marketing process so we can create revenues,
plus put people to work.”
said initial project phases will include building an on-site
cogeneration facility to generate steam or electrical power
for the property.
particular option could set the stage for biomass, and
possibly biofuels, generation down the road,” Hall said. “We
do have a couple interested parties that are looking at
exploring those projects as well.”
said once the assessments are complete and strategies for
both plans have been developed, they will be submitted to
the tribal council and the general council for approval.
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