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Browsing the archives for the Tom Mallams-Klamath Co Commissioner category.

Oregon Klamath Commissioner, Tom Mallams, responds to incorrect information by news reporter

Agriculture, Tom Mallams-Klamath Co Commissioner, Water rights, Water, Resources & Quality

Please pass these along to help get the other side of this story out.


From: Tom Mallams

Guest commentary

Mallams water use allowed during appeal

By TOM MALLAMS Guest Commentary


Recently, a certain reporter accused me of breaking the law and ignoring water shutoff notices.

The law allows all water users, including myself, to challenge an incorrect regulation order and prove that my well does not interfere with earlier priority surface water uses. All regulation orders have been “stayed” while I seek judicial review, allowing water use while the court decides my case.

I believe in obeying the laws of the land, and no, I am certainly not above the law. I also believe in the right to protest and challenge unjust laws and regulation including unjust administrative rules. Following the just laws of the land is part of our heritage from our Founding Fathers, as is protesting unjust deprivation of property.

I incorrectly believed that a regulation order was not effective until received. The Water Resources Department sent me a courtesy notice of my incorrect belief on August 25th, stating: “you have until Aug. 31st to comply, or you will be subject to enforcement.”

The fact is that I voluntarily shut our water off for the season on Aug. 25, several days before I received this letter. I would have filed my petition for judicial review as soon as possible after the department issued its first incorrect regulation order if I knew I needed to do so in order to continue irrigating under the automatic stay provisions but the order stated I had 60 days to seek judicial review.

My challenge of the Water Resources Department’s regulation orders is done under the law as a private citizen protecting my property rights.

I am in the unique position of wearing two hats: one as a private citizen and one as a county commissioner. As a private citizen, I absolutely have the right to challenge the Water Resources Department’s shutoff of my well. As a county commissioner, I have the duty to speak up on behalf of the agricultural community and say that it is wrong for the Department to issue a blanket shutoff of all (or arbitrarily, just most) of the groundwater uses within one mile of a surface water body without knowing any facts about the hydrology of each well, or whether the wells in fact interfere with surface water uses.

I also have significant concerns, both as a private citizen and county commissioner, about the Water Resources Department’s regulation this year under the new administrative rules implementing portions of the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement (“KBRA”) and associated agreements.

These agreements are currently not in effect because they lack local support (the Tribes have even begun pulling out) and lack of congressional support. This is the perfect case of putting the cart before the horse, and the blanket groundwater shut offs seem like an attempt to force water users to sign onto these agreements.

OWRD claims that I am the only irrigator that refused to shut our well off. This is absolutely not true! There are many that continued to irrigate this season, some who also filed for judicial review, and some who I believe have not. It simply appears the Department focuses on those with the highest profile.

For many years I have promised to oppose out of control government whether local, state or federal. I have promised to expose that which is wrong in government and to support and endorse that which is correct and good. For decades I have fought for the rights of the citizens of the Klamath Basin.

I will continue to fight for the balanced use of our natural resources, including water. Certainly, no one should be surprised when I refused to shut my water off, instead seeking judicial review as permitted under the law.

There are tough decisions to be made and I am not known for making “lukewarm” decisions or taking “lukewarm” positions, and I will continue doing what I was elected to do.

Maybe I am a bit odd since I actually do what I have said I will do. In today’s society, that seems to be a very novel concept.

Tom Mallams is a Klamath County commissioner and local rancher.


Mallams to run for second term

Commissioner subject of recall effort
• By SAMANTHA TIPLER H&N Staff Reporter

Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams says he plans to run for a second term.

“I do intend to run,” he said in a phone interview with the Herald and News Monday. “I’ve had lots and lots of people encourage me to run. I have full intentions of running.”

Mallams has not yet filed for the 2016 election. The primary election is May 17. Mallams holds Position No. 1, which he was elected to in 2012. He was sworn in as commissioner in January 2013, and his term lasts until the end of 2016.

Lyncho Ruiz filed to run for that position last Thursday. Calls from the Herald and News to Ruiz have not been returned.

Mallams is steadfast in his plans to run, even as a signature-gathering effort for his recall is ongoing. Last week Ilo and Melissa Ferroggiaro filed a recall petition. If they gather 3,426 signatures within the 90-day period a recall election would take place.

“I don’t dispute the recall. That’s their right,” Mallams said.

The Ferroggiaros, owners of Laughing Lotus Farms, a medical marijuana dispensary, are also pursuing a signature campaign to overturn the county ban on marijuana businesses. Last week all three commissioners voted to approve the ban.

“I disagree that the county needs it. I disagree that the citizens of the county want it,” Mallams said of marijuana. “I think that will be shown out. If you want to have this in the county, gather the signatures and put it to the vote of the people.”

He noted those needing medical marijuana will still have access to it at shops within the city of Klamath Falls. The county ban is on unincorporated areas in Klamath County, which includes the South Suburbs.

Mallams also sees himself as the target of the Oregon Water Resources Department, which issued orders for him to shut off his irrigation well at his Beatty-area farm this summer.

He said in a Sept. 10 Herald and News article he may have broken an “administrative rule” but disagrees he broke the “law.” According to the Oregon Secretary of State’s website, administrative rules have the “force of law” in Oregon.

Mallams continued to pump water until Aug. 25, even though the Klamath Project made a call for water on June 16. The Klamath Project has a 1905 water right, while Mallams’ well right is dated to 2001.

The OWRD sent groundwater regulation notices on July 3 and sent violation notices to Mallams on Aug 7 and Aug. 28. The second violation notice told Mallams to stop pumping by Aug. 31.

Mallams claims by filing a petition for judicial review, he challenged the authority of those notices.

“People elect people to take a stand, to stand up for what’s right. That’s what I’ve been doing,” Mallams said. “I have no regrets. I’m doing exactly what I was elected to do.”

Recall march
Community members supporting the recall effort against Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams are organizing a march and rally to be held in next month.

According to organizer Bob Daugherty, the event is slated for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Oct. 10. He said participants will rally in front of the Klamath County Government Center. Those who want to march can walk with a group through downtown.

Daugherty said recall petitions and petitions to overturn the ban on county marijuana sales will be available to sign. Daugherty said he and other organizers will be available to help residents register to vote.

For more information, call Bob Daugherty at 937-474-3302.


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Klamath commissioners and Siskiyou supervisors meet on Klamath agreements

Agriculture, Brandon Criss, CA & OR, Endangered Species Act, Klamath County, Klamath River & Dams, Property rights, Siskiyou County, State gov, Tom Mallams-Klamath Co Commissioner, Water, Resources & Quality
  • Upper and lower basin representatives continued their cooperative efforts Monday in Dorris as Klamath County commissioners met with the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors to discuss agreements on the Klamath River.


·  ·  ·  By David Smith

Posted May. 6, 2014 @ 9:48 am

Upper and lower basin representatives continued their cooperative efforts Monday in Dorris as Klamath County commissioners met with the Siskiyou County Board of Supervisors to discuss agreements on the Klamath River.

Commissioners Jim Bellet, Tom Mallams and Dennis Linthicum joined the board to discuss the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement, Klamath Hydroelectric Settlement Agreement, Upper Klamath Basin Comprehensive Agreement and other related issues.

The trio of agreements are built around the potential removal of four hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River, various restoration projects and tribal and upper-basin irrigator deals.

Both the commission and the board have expressed their common opposition to the agreements at prior meetings. One major topic at Monday’s meeting was the formulation of a letter to various state and federal representatives encompassing those views.

According to Mallams, Oregon Senator Ron Wyden has expressed interest in introducing legislation that would fund and set in motion the various aspects of the KHSA and KBRA this month. In order to provide a voice of opposition, the two boards united with the intent of raising the various concerns each has with the agreements.

For Siskiyou County, the concerns often expressed have to do with the effects of dam removal downriver – sediment release, effects on lake front real estate and flooding – as well as the loss of a renewable energy resource and the potential cost to the area.

In the upper basin, numerous irrigators have signed on to the various agreements, but Mallams said that he believes the concessions made by those irrigators were “blackmail.”

The three commissioners said that the concerns of the upper basin focused on the trading of property rights to tribes in exchange for water assurances, as well as the connecting of the UKBCA to support for the other two agreements.

The letter, which both the commission and board of supervisors approved, has a basic overview of the shared philosophies of the two entities. Those include supporting the establishment of adequate water storage, the retention of clean, renewable hydroelectric power generation and bringing “facts, truth and accountability to bear” in the various processes.

In addition to the basic principles, the meeting also generated various alternatives, points of view and other information to be sent to numerous key policy makers in the coming months.

The board of supervisors is expecting to finalize and approve the letter at a future date.

Read more: http://www.siskiyoudaily.com/article/20140506/News/140509797#ixzz315bXMODp

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Tom Mallams explains historic meeting between Klamath Co in Oregon and Siskiyou Co in California

Klamath County, Siskiyou County, Tom Mallams-Klamath Co Commissioner

Jefferson Public Radio on Jefferson Exchange

Listen to audio of interview —

Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams details the feelings of current commissioners about the Klamath Basin dam removal process.

The Oregon Senator Ron Wyden Task Force appointed to examine Klamath Basin water issues is nearly finished with its work.



Credit downtowngal/Wikimedia

Upper Klamath Lake

But the nature of the work does not please the elected county leaders in Klamath and Siskiyou Counties, who want a future for the Klamath Basin to at least consider keeping the four dams targeted for removal.

Klamath County Commissioner Tom Mallams explains what led to the parallel move, and what happens now.

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Upper Klamath Basin braces for irrigation shutoffs

Agriculture, Klamath River & Dams, Threats to agriculture, Tom Mallams-Klamath Co Commissioner, Tribes

 Posted: Wednesday, May 08, 2013 8:56 AM

Capital Press

GRANTS PASS, Ore. (AP) — With drought looming, the state of Oregon is preparing for the likelihood it will have to shut off irrigation access for many of the 200 cattle ranchers and hay farmers in the upper Klamath Basin as the Klamath Tribes take control of senior water rights in the region for the first time in a century.

Since a formal declaration of drought last month, representatives of the governor’s office have been making regular visits to Klamath County to brief local law enforcement and other officials on what they can expect if irrigation withdrawals are shut off. A nearby federal irrigation project saw weeks of bitter protests in 2001 when drought triggered a water shut-off to conserve flows for protected fish.

“Now if there are shortages of water in the basin, people can request that newer more junior water rights are shut off so older water rights can be satisfied,” Richard Whitman, natural resources adviser to the governor, said in a telephone interview Tuesday. “There is a fairly high likelihood of that happening in the upper Klamath Basin this year.”

Snowpack in the Cascade Range is thin, and prospects are diminishing for a wet spring. The state of Oregon earlier this year recognized the findings of a lengthy legal process known as adjudication that gave the tribes the most senior rights to the majority of the water flowing into Upper Klamath Lake, dating to time immemorial.

Don Gentry, chairman-elect of the Klamath Tribes, said no decision has been made yet, but it is likely the tribes will exercise the senior water rights granted earlier this year to protect endangered sucker fish, which spawn in rivers running into Upper Klamath Lake. The tribes are closely monitoring the flows in the rivers, which are already below the levels covered by their water rights, and a decision is likely in coming weeks.

“Given the endangered status of our (short-nosed sucker and Lost River sucker) fisheries, we have to do everything we can to protect them,” Gentry said. “They are on the brink of extinction.”

The largely independent irrigators on the Williamson, Sprague and Wood rivers, which flow into Upper Klamath Lake through the communities of Beatty, Chiloquin and Fort Klamath, escaped the irrigation shutoffs of 2001, when drought forced a shutdown of irrigation on most of the land covered by the Klamath Reclamation Project to save water for threatened salmon and endangered sucker fish.

The shut-off triggered angry confrontations between farmers demanding their water, and federal authorities who shut it off under the demands of the Endangered Species Act. Some turned their anger toward the tribes because they supported devoting scarce water to fish.

The places are reversed this year. Farmers on the federal irrigation project straddling the Oregon-California border have made agreements with the tribes protecting their access to water, and won their own senior water rights in the upper basin. They have also joined the tribes in endorsing the removal of four aging hydroelectric dams on the Klamath River to help struggling salmon runs.

Many farms and ranches in the upper basin started withdrawing water May 1, and if a shut-off is ordered, they will lose crops of hay and alfalfa, said Tom Mallams, a Beatty hay farmer, Klamath County Commissioner, and Tea Party member. The threat of shutoffs has already hurt ranchers, who have lost contracts to feed cattle from California on irrigated pasture, he said.

Mallams is one of about 65 upper basin irrigators who have formally challenged the tribes’ water rights, hoping to have them overturned in the second phase of the adjudication process.

“I have talked to neighbors, talked to irrigators, talked to friends,” he said. “I hope that nothing bad happens here. But if something bad happens, I am going to point the finger at the state Water Resources Department and state leadership as the cause of it. The process they used has been very biased, very selective, in how they did the adjudication process.”


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Oregon Water Fight Revives

Federal gov & land grabs, Greenies & grant $, KBRA or KHSA, Klamath County, Klamath River & Dams, Salmon and fish, Tom Mallams-Klamath Co Commissioner, Tribes

PNP comment: There has been a BIG push by Greenies, Tribes and fed agencies to push the KBRA in large, well-known newspapers recently. They make it sound like it is a DONE DEAL. 

It is NOT.

Bottom line: There will be millions of dollars in “restoration” monies for these Greenie groups, several Tribes and government agencies to continue a welfare existence. Even though taking out the dams will kill the fish, wildlife, destroy water quality for years and dump huge amounts of toxic sediment into the Klamath River and allow the unfiltered spread of noxious weeds, whereever water recedes.

Also, the salmon have swam 191 miles up the Klamath River, when they reach the first dam — Irongate Dam. They typically have sores and are ready to spawn and die, which they do in the Irongate Fish Hatchery. If we need more fish, they can certainly increase the number to release from the hatchery. 

So our mantra remains:

 SAVE the dams and we will SAVE the fish, wildlife, streambeds and water quality. Simple. — Editor Liz Bowen

The Wall Street Journal

Landmark 2008 Pact to Aid Region Remains in Limbo as a New Drought Hits


KLAMATH FALLS, Ore.—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 the past four months, with farmers and ranchers saying they face potentially crippling water cutbacks by federal agencies.

If “they shut water off here, there could be some violence,” said Tom Mallams, a rancher and member of the Klamath County Commission. The drought declaration “will help defuse some of the tensions—I hope, anyway.”

The move is the latest attempt to quell water concerns in the 6,135-square-mile county of rugged sage and timber land, where one of the West’s most heated water wars broke out in 2001. At the time, federal officials shut off irrigation to thousands of acres of farmland in Oregon and California to protect endangered fish during another drought. In the aftermath, federal marshals had to be called in to stop angry farmers from reopening locked irrigation gates.

The squabbles resulted in a landmark 2008 agreement to end the fighting, including a provision by PacifiCorp, a Berkshire Hathaway  BRKB +2.21% Inc.-owned utility based in Portland, Ore., to remove four dams on the Klamath River by 2020. The agreement was unique because it brought many of the warring parties to the negotiating table, including PacifiCorp, the U.S. Interior Department and California and Oregon. At the time it was signed, many looked at the agreement as a model for resolving other water disputes in the West.

                                                                                                Joe Kline for The Wall Street Journal

A view of the J.C. Boyle Dam near Keno, Ore. The dam is listed for removal under the Klamath Basin Restoration Agreement.

But in the five years since, the agreement has hit stumbling blocks, showing how difficult it remains to settle Western water disputes, even after the feuding sides have come together. And the recent dry conditions have renewed water tensions over who gets what. This past week’s drought declaration was partly an attempt to help protect mostly ranchers not covered by the 2008 agreement.

One big issue hindering the 2008 agreement is that the deal’s provisions have yet to be approved by Congress. The pact is languishing amid resistance in the Republican-held House to nearly $1 billion in projected federal costs to meet key goals, such as restoring wetlands.

In Klamath County, the agreement also has faced local opposition to dam removal among residents who believe it would reduce water further in the basin. In addition, locals who oppose the 2008 deal have risen in power. Last year, Mr. Mallams—a rancher who said the agreement favored farmers’ water rights over ranchers’ rights—was elected to the three-member Klamath County Commission. The commission, which had signed the 2008 agreement, voted last month to withdraw its support for the deal.

READ more:


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Watch Klamath Co Commissioners decide on KBRA 2-26-13

KBRA or KHSA, Klamath County, Tom Mallams-Klamath Co Commissioner

Click on this page and then the Feb. 26, 2013 box:


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Newly elected Klamath Co. Commissioner Tom Mallams comments on KBRA extension

KBRA or KHSA, Klamath River & Dams, Op-ed, Tom Mallams-Klamath Co Commissioner

public comment on KBRA proposed amendments by tom mallams to Klamath county commissioners 112012


November 20, 2012

To:  Klamath County Board of Commissioners

From: Tom Mallams, Klamath County Commissioner elect

Re: Public Comments on KBRA proposed amendments

While the KBRA by its self began as a possible solution to a number of issues in the Klamath basin, the current direction of the KHSA and the KBRA simply do not deliver what is needed or promised.

From the very beginning, success for our entire agricultural community was to be measured by attaining three achievable goals:

1. Protection from the endangered Species act and Biological Opinions.

2. Guaranteed delivery of irrigation water.

3. Affordable power for irrigators.

 Within the KHSA and KBRA documents consider the following:

 1. There is absolutely no protection from the Endangered Species Act or Biological Opinions.

2. There is absolutely no guarantee of irrigation water deliveries.

3. There is absolutely no affordable power rate for irrigators.

Other goals were sought after but success was not to be found there as well. All other possible options have been completely ignored. In respect to Klamath Dam Removal, this was the one and only option we were ever allowed to consider in the KBRA closed door meetings. All other verbal or written viable alternatives have continually been systematically dismissed.

The citizens of Klamath County have spoken out again and again opposing Klamath Dam removal and the Klamath Basin Restoration agreement. The very citizens the Klamath County Board of Commissioners work for have said no to this direction, most recently in the 2010 and 2012 election cycle.  Even the poorly written Ballot Measure 18-80 voted on in 2010, showed the lack of community support for dam removal and the KBRA. This Ballot Measure required voters to say yes to say no to dam removal. Many voters simply thought no actually meant no to dam removal.

An agreement of this proportion should be bringing our community together, not dividing us.

Our County Government having a seat at the table has not produced required benefits. No viable concessions or compromises on water rights, no Highway 97 right of ways and the list goes on and on. Again, the current direction has failed.

Today, an opportunity exists to begin bringing back some of the lost trust and confidence in county government.

I am asking the Klamath county Board of Commissioners to not approve the proposed amendments to the KBRA. As one of the incoming members of the Klamath County Board of Commissioners, my position is very well known. I believe in a true settlement, not a surrender agreement. It is time to represent the citizens you work for. Until the current proposals are “off the table”, none of the alternatives that have been completely dismissed in the past, will have any chance of success in the future. Klamath County needs to go in a direction that will have the local support required and a true chance of success.

Thank you for your consideration,

Tom Mallams


NOTE: In accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. section 107, any copyrighted
material herein is distributed without profit or payment to those who have
expressed a prior interest in receiving this information for non-profit
research and educational purposes only. For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml

This information and much more that you need to know about the ESA,
the Klamath River Basin, and private property rights can be found at The
Klamath Bucket Brigade’s web site – http://klamathbucketbrigade.org/index.html
please visit today.

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