Jespersen has gone from the fields of Klamath
County to the hallways of Stanford and back
Jespersen, 27, is focused on helping his family
hay farm thrive.
was born and raised on his family farm roughly
11 miles northeast of Klamath Falls. The
Jespersen-Edgewood hay operation, purchased by
the Jespersen family in 1972, grows alfalfa,
timothy and orchard grass, and produces grass
pellets for livestock feed.
recent months, the farm has planted itself
firmly in the center of a debate over a proposed
pumped storage hydroelectric project. The family
is advocating that the $2 billion facility be
built on their land. When operational, it could
create more than 1,000 megawatts of electricity
and potentially generate $20 million in property
taxes for Klamath County.
short-term goals are to help build my family’s
business,” Jespersen said. “And I think
obviously this Swan Lake
(hydroelectric) project. It could open up a
whole list of opportunities” for the Klamath
Looking for growth
Jespersen, life is about balancing personal and
runner, Jespersen ran track and cross country at
Klamath Union High School. His father, Larry
Jespersen, is known for having run marathons on
younger Jespersen switched his focus from the
race track to civil engineering when he enrolled
in 2005. After graduation, he spent a year in
Chicago apprenticing as a design engineer for an
of his work was relegated to drawing up diagrams
for the senior workers, “One of the projects I
was able to work on was pretty big. I came on at
the tail end of the development of the Trump
Tower,” Jespersen said.
finishing the apprenticeship, he decided to earn
his masters in business administration at Oregon
State University — a program he completed
engineering work he took part in helped him
better grasp the scope of the Swan Lake
hydroelectric project when the possibility was
brought to his family three years ago.
came in handy for me to have that engineering
background, when (developers) first approached
us back in 2009,” Jespersen said. “It’s been
helpful in that sense. But I am not a civil
For the near
future, Jespersen says he’ll keep talking with
developers and investors to try and nail down
the hydroelectric project. He also plans to meet
with some neighbors in the nearby Poe Valley,
who have raised concerns about the transmission
lines that would
the facility down into Northern California.
He also has
some personal matters to attend to. While
earning his master’s degree at Oregon State
University, Jespersen fell in love. A wedding is
planned for June.
said he can’t help putting the health of his
family business first and foremost.
a few more people in the last year, worked with
some organizations around town to help us find
ways to fund our expansion,” Jespersen said. For
now, “I’m planning on staying in Klamath Falls,
working on helping my family’s business grow.
I’ve got a few different strategies on how to do