Commissioners Pull Away From KBRA

, Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, March 12 2013 at 4:37 PM, Updated: Tue, March 12 2013 at 4:47 PM

The Klamath County Commissioners withdrew from the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement this morning...but some say the Commissioners are violating a contract.

By unanimous agreement, the commissioners voted to withdraw from participation in the KBRA.

"The county should stand on the outside of the table."  Noted Klamath County Commissioner Jim Bellet.  "And not sit at the table as a signer."

But, there's a catch.

The previous board of commissioners signed on to the agreement...and some say pulling out now is a breach of contract.

"I think it's a contract."  Says Klamath Water Users Executive Director Greg Addington.  "I think it's the county who's a party to the agreement, it's not the individual commissioners - and I don't think they can withdraw the county from the agreements."

Commissioner Dennis Linthicum disagrees...

"The current contractual obligations and rights of the KBRA basically don't impact, or impound Klamath County in any single direction."

Commissioner Tom Mallams claims there's enough division on dam removal and the KBRA to merit a fresh start...

"And go forward with the local stakeholders again, and find an agreement that will have local support, and will have the congressional support that's needed to make it work."

The commissioner's vote comes just as the water adjudication process is heading to court.

The Oregon Water Resources Department says the Klamath Tribes appear to have senior water rights...and the Tribes are hoping that will have opponents taking a second look at the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement as a possible solution to basin water problems.

In November of 2010, Klamath County voters elected to continue participation in the KBRA.

Those efforts to continue were supported by 51.7% of the voters.

About the Author

Lyle Ahrens

KOTI-TV NBC2 reporter Lyle Ahrens moved from Nebraska to Klamath Falls in the late 1970's.  He instantly fell in love with the mountains, the trees and the rivers, and never once regretted the move.

Lyle's job history is quite colorful.  He’s managed a pizza parlor; he’s been a bartender, and a “kiwifruit grader” at an organic orchard in New Zealand.  A Klamath Falls radio station hired Lyle in the mid 90's as a news writer and commercial producer.  In 2004, Lyle joined the KOTI/KOBI news operation.

Lyle notes with pride that he has a big responsibility presenting the Klamath Basin to a wide and varied audience.  "The on-going water crisis has underscored the fact that the people and the issues in the Klamath Basin are every bit as diverse as the terrain.  Winning and keeping the trust of the viewers, as well as the newsmakers, is something I strive for with each story".

When he's not busy reporting the news, Lyle enjoys astronomy, playing guitar, fixing old radios and listening to anything by Sheryl Crow.

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