Time to Take Action
Our Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Upholding rural Americans' rights to grow food,
own property, and caretake our wildlife and natural resources.

Commissioners set town hall on monument expansion

by Stephen Floyd, Herald and News 10/26/16

Klamath County Commissioners have scheduled a town hall meeting for Tuesday, Nov. 1 to take public comment on the expansion of the Cascade–Siskiyou National Monument.

Scheduled for 6 p.m. Nov. 1 in the commissioners’ boardroom, the meeting will allow local residents to speak on the record about the proposed expansion, which could affect up 19,000 acres of local forestland.

Commissioner Tom Mallams said the meeting will be similar to a hearing held in Ashland Oct. 14 and will allow residents who were not aware of or able to attend the meeting a chance to weigh in.

Mallams said many opponents of the expansion learned about the hearing at the last minute or after the fact and deserve a chance to engage their federal representatives.

‘Big disservice’

“I think it’s a very big disservice to the citizens to Southern Oregon to have a meeting such as that with the other side — with supporters having obvious, so so obvious, lead time over everybody else who did not have it,” he said.

Mallams had asked Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., who helped organized the hearing, if he would hold a similar meeting in Klamath Falls. But a Merkley spokesperson said Oct. 18 the likelihood of this was uncertain and encouraged residents to submit comments in writing instead.

Mallams said he took this reply as an admission there will be no hearing and said it was up to county officials to put a meeting together. He pointed to Jackson County, who is holding their own town hall meeting Thursday in Medford, and said Klamath County should do the same.

“I think it’s very appropriate to have another meeting here in Klamath because it is going to affect us,” said Mallams.

Of the 66,500 acres Merkley and Democratic Sen. Ron Wyden have proposed adding to the monument, roughly 19,000 acres is in Klamath County. The vast majority of the Klamath County land is set aside under the Oregon and California Lands Act (OCLA) for timber harvesting and adding it to the monument would lead to decreased timber revenues for Klamath County.

Potential closure

Mallams said this is one concern held by residents who oppose monument expansion, as well as the potential closure of the local Bureau of Land Management (BLM) office. Mallams said, if so much public land becomes part of the monument, BLM employees will have little left to supervise and the office could potentially close down or suffer significant layoffs.

Commissioner Jim Bellet added the proposed expansion of the monument is likely a violation of OCLA, as the act defines which lands are set aside, harvesting requirements and revenue shared with local governments. He said, without a change to OCLA, monument expansion may not hold up in court.

“It’s illegal to do this and I think that we need to push on that side of the agenda,” he said.

“That’s a contract, they can’t break that,” he contained.

Mallams said the time to intervene in monument expansion is limited as he is concerned President Barack Obama intends to use to the Antiquities Act of 1906 to unilaterally approve expansion. Mallams estimated it may be a matter of weeks before a decision is made and opportunities for public input should be prompt.

The Nov. 1 meeting will be open to all residents who wish to speak on the matter and comments will be recorded and sent to federal representatives, though the meeting itself will not be an official hearing.

If You Go

What: Klamath County Commissioners town hall on the proposed expansion of the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

When: 6 p.m. Tuesday, Nov. 1

Where: Commissioners' boardroom in the Klamath County Government Center, 305 Main St.


Townhall Tuesday

Monument expansion sets local hearing

Opinions sought on proposal to double size of Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument

“I want everyone to have the opportunity to speak their mind. We were left out in Klamath County, we want to make sure all interested parties have a chance to speak."

–Tom Mallams, Klamath County Commissioner

Established in 2000, the Cascade-Siskiyou National Monument preserves an area of approximately 66,000 acres in Southern Oregon.

A new proposal presented by Oregon Sens. Ron Wyden and Jeff Merkley in August may soon double the monument’s scale, potentially affecting timber harvests, watersheds and grazing allotments in the region.

To gauge public opinion on the matter, Klamath County commissioners will host a townhall hearing at the Government Center Building in Klamath Falls on Tuesday, Nov. 1 at 6 p.m.

The Klamath County hearing comes in the wake of recent hearings in Ashland and Medford regarding the proposed monument expansion.

The decision to hold a local hearing is the result of claims the public wasn’t properly informed, or that the public was selectively informed about the hearing to garner more favor towards its approval.

“I want everyone to have the opportunity to speak their mind,” said Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams. “We were left out in Klamath County, we want to make sure all interested parties have a chance to speak.

“There was pushback at the time the monument was first made, but nothing like there is now. We have seen the results of what has happened there since it was placed in monument status,” Mallams said.

Mallams cited concerns such as forest management practices ceasing that will add to potential fire fuels, elimination or reduction of grazing allotments, water rights issues and timber harvest reductions that could all have negative impacts on local economies.

“This will drastically limit timber harvesting, around six million board feet per year,” added Mallams. “That equates to a lot of timber that goes into local mills that will no longer be available. They depend on the local timber because it’s a shorter haul.

“To stay viable, they will have to travel further to get timber, which makes it more expensive, which means fewer jobs here.”

Proponents of the monument expansion support the move to further protect regional habitats and watersheds. Wyden, Merkley and other supporters hope that Department of the Interior Secretary Sally Jewell will recommend that President Barack Obama utilize executive branch powers established in the Antiquities Act to approve the expansion in the same manner that President Bill Clinton first established the site in 2000.


In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

Home Contact


              Page Updated: Sunday October 30, 2016 03:04 PM  Pacific

             Copyright © klamathbasincrisis.org, 2001 - 2016, All Rights Reserved