Governor signs drought declaration for Klamath Basin

Klamath Falls, Ore. – Governor Kate Brown signed the drought declaration in Klamath Falls Tuesday morning.

“Today I am signing an executive order declaring a drought for Klamath County,” Governor Brown said. “I am directing state agencies to coordinate and prioritize assistance to the region.”

About 80 people met with the Governor at the Klamath County Government Center.

Klamath Basin mountain snow pack levels are less than half of average.

Governor Brown said the drought could result in losses of over half a billion dollars, and impact over 4,000 jobs. “It’s going to be a challenging year.  Drought, severe weather, and the upcoming fire season could create a very challenging situation.”

Oregon Department of Environmental Quality Director Richard Whitman said the impacts will be felt beyond the farm. “In addition to water shortages and the difficultly it poses for agriculture, is the stress that it places on our other natural resources.”

Oregon Department of Agriculture Director Alexis Taylor said the declaration can also help clear the way for federal help. “O.D.A. is also able to try and help work with our federal partners at U.S.D.A., many of the drought assistance programs come from our federal partners.”

Governor Brown said she’s optimistic about the Klamath Basin’s ability to deal with the drought.

“I know we are facing some incredible challenges,” Governor Brown explained. “But I truly believe that you are strong, that you are resilient, and that together we can tackle these challenges facing this region.”

Governor Brown’s visit to Klamath Falls included meetings at the local Department of Human Services, and discussions with the Presidents of Oregon Tech and Klamath Community College.

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