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Oregon Governor Promises Drought Help In Klamath County

Liam Moriarty/JPR News
Oregon Governor Kate Brown signs a drought emergency declaration in Klamath Falls Tuesday.

In Klamath Falls Tuesday, Oregon Governor Kate Brown signed an executive order declaring a drought emergency in Klamath County. This is the 11th time a governor has declared drought in the Klamath in the past 16 years.

The governor signed the order, which makes available various types of state assistance to help water users. Brown met with local officials, as well as representatives of the stakeholders who’ve been fighting over the region’s scarce water for years.

She said she wanted to help facilitate a locally-supported comprehensive solution to the region’s water battles.

"I know the year is going to be challenging," she said, "but I absolutely believe that by working together, we can weather this storm."

Many in the region worked for years to reach just such an overall solution. But Congress didn’t pass key legislation that would have enabled the ambitious plan to take effect and the deal died at the end of 2015.

Now, back to square one, many in the Klamath Basin are unsure of what a big-picture solution would look like.

Liam Moriarty has been covering news in the Pacific Northwest for three decades. He served two stints as JPR News Director and retired full-time from JPR at the end of 2021. Liam now edits and curates the news on JPR's website and digital platforms.