Will Tribal Officials in Oregon Play the Trump Card?


“Oregon Water Fight Revives: Landmark 2008 Pact to Aid Region Remains in Limbo as a New Drought Hits, by Jim Carlton

Klamath Falls, Oregon–One of the most bitter water wars in the West is erupting again.

This past week, the Klamath County Commission in southeastern Oregon and Gov. John Kitzhaber both declared a drought emergency to help make farmers eligible for federal subsidies to alleviate any losses. The agricultural county of 70,000 has been dealing with unusually dry conditions for he past four months, with farmers and ranchers saying they pose potential crippling water cutbacks by federal agencies.”

According to this article, a 2008 agreement among farmers, ranchers and tribal agencies made after a previous drought is under attack by various groups because of the current drought and anxiety over water supplies: The Klamath County Commission has withdrawn support for the deal.  Oregon State, however, considers portions of the 2008 deal valid.  

“Deal or no deal, one winner is the Klamath Tribes of the Klamath, Modoc and Yahooskin people.  Last month, Oregon ruled in a case that the 3,680-member tribes hold ‘time immemorial’ water rights in much of Klamath County, meaning they get priority over anyone else.

Tribal officials said they plan to abide by the agreement’s provisions that they won’t play that trump card in return for fisheries restoration and the return of land from a former reservation if the measure passes Congress.”  

Trump cards convey power as they take any other card in the deck.



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