Written by Lyle Ahrens, Posted: Tue, April 17 2012 at 5:29 PM, Updated: Tue, April 17 2012 at 5:40 PM
Permit sales for new housing construction in Klamath County are less than a tenth of the number of permit sales just six years ago...but, there's still reason to be optimistic.
Erick Melgoza says that work hasn't been very steady for the past few years...
"Off and on, like a couple weeks off, couple weeks on - it's been like that since, except this year's been pretty steady."
Building permits for single-family homes in Klamath County hit a peak of 532 in 2006. While numbers for the current fiscal year are well below that, Klamath County Community Development Director Sid Mitchell reports those numbers are holding steady...
"Ours starts in July - to this current month, we're at 43 homes, new residential homes being built. And ironically, it's exactly the same as it was last year, in the same time frame."
And some permit sales are actually improving. While permit sales for single family construction are holding steady, permits for commercial construction like the Sanford Children's Clinic are up by about 18%.
"We had 175 last year, and at this time right now we have 205." Sid Mitchell noted. Mitchell adds that while construction numbers are low, they're not dropping. "I look at that as a good thing. It's consistency, and we still have construction, and things going on."
And Erick Melgoza is happy to be one of those that are working...
"Oh, it feels pretty good. A lot of people are not, so I feel lucky."
But, it could take a while to re-build a healthy economy.
Permits for commercial construction in Klamath County range from a high of 410 permits sold in 2007, to a low of just 29 permits sold in 2004.
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.