Shutdown averted at Kingsley Field

Klamath Falls, Ore. – Concerns over the status of the government shutdown led to uncertainty for workers at one of the biggest employers in Klamath Falls over the weekend.

173rd Fighter Wing Commander Colonel Jeffrey Smith says the lack of a budget agreement almost led to a shutdown of the base at Kingsley Field.

“Without an appropriation, we can’t come to work,” explained Smith. “So essentially, we went into the weekend thinking that we were shut off, and we would have to come in for what’s called an ‘orderly shutdown’ this (Monday) morning.”

About a third of the 1,000 people at Kingsley Field are civilians in uniform who were at risk of being furloughed.

Colonel Smith says the decision to keep Kingsley open was made at a high level over the weekend. “They realized that we are part of their pilot production machine, producing F-15 pilots, and we were critical to the nation’s continued success.”

While the jets were flying Monday, Smith says there are still pay questions for some at the base. “Everybody here today is not being paid until the final resolution is signed, and there’s an appropriation enacted.”

While the shutdown has been temporarily averted, Colonel Smith says he still has concerns.

“I am concerned that this continues to be disruptive,” said Col. Smith.  “Every year that we go with continuing resolution, as opposed to a budget that’s signed into law early in the year, it’s disruptive across the entire service, and across the entire D.O.D.”

Colonel Smith went live on the 173rd’s Facebook page over the weekend to help get the word out that the base would be up and running.


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