|Klamath Falls, Oregon|
|— City —|
|Nickname(s): Oregon's City of Sunshine|
Location in Oregon
|- Mayor||Todd Kellstrom|
|- Total||18.7 sq mi (48.5 km2)|
|- Land||17.9 sq mi (46.3 km2)|
|- Water||0.9 sq mi (2.2 km2)|
|Elevation||4,099 ft (1,249.4 m)|
|- Density||1,089.5/sq mi (420.7/km2)|
|Time zone||Pacific (UTC-8)|
|- Summer (DST)||Pacific (UTC-7)|
|GNIS feature ID||1136445|
Klamath Falls (pronounced /ˈklæməθ/ KLAM-əth) is a city in Klamath County, Oregon, United States. Originally called Linkville when George Nurse founded the town in 1867, after the Link River on whose falls this city sits; the name was changed to Klamath Falls in 1892. The population was 19,462 at the 2000 census, with an estimated population of 20,720 in 2006. It is the county seat of Klamath County.
The Klamath Indians and Modoc Indians were the first inhabitants of the area. The Klamath name for this place was Yulalona or Iwauna, which referred to the phenomenon of the Link River flowing upstream when the south wind blew hard. Their name for the falls was Tiwishkeni, or "where the falling waters rush".
The Modoc Tribe's homeland is about 20 miles (32 km) south of Klamath Falls, but when they were pushed onto a reservation with their adversaries the Klamath, a rebellion ensued and they hid out in nearby lava beds. This led to the Modoc War of 1872–1873, which was a hugely expensive campaign for the US Cavalry, costing an estimated $500,000 – the equivalent of over 8 million in year-2000 dollars. Seventeen Indians and 83 whites were killed.
The Klamath Reclamation Project began in 1906 to drain marshland and move water to allow for agriculture. With the building of the main "A" Canal, water was first made available May 22, 1907. Veterans of World War I and World War II were given homesteading opportunities on the reclaimed land.
During World War II, a Japanese-American internment camp, the Tule Lake War Relocation Center, was located in nearby Newell, California, and a satellite of the Camp White, Oregon, POW camp was located just on the Oregon-California border near the town of Tulelake, California. In May 1945, about 30 miles (48 km) east of Klamath Falls, (near Bly, Oregon) a Japanese balloon bomb killed a woman and five children on a church outing. This is said to be the only Japanese-inflicted casualty on the US mainland during the war.
Timber harvesting through the use of railroad was extensive in Klamath County for the first few decades of the 20th century. With the arrival of the Southern Pacific Railway in 1909, Klamath Falls grew quickly from a few hundred to several thousand. Dozens of lumber mills cut fir and pine lumber, and the industry flourished until the late 1980s when the Northern Spotted Owl and other endangered species were driving forces in changing western forest policy.
On September 20, 1993, an earthquake struck near Klamath Falls. Many downtown buildings, including the county courthouse and the Sacred Heart nunnery, were damaged or destroyed. There were two deaths that have been attributed to the earthquake.
The city made national headlines in 2001 when a court decision was made to shut off Klamath Project irrigation water on April 6 because of Endangered Species Act requirements. The Lost River sucker and shortnose sucker were listed on the Federal Endangered Species List in 1988, and when drought struck in 2001, a panel of scientists stated that further diversion of water for agriculture would be detrimental to these species, which reside in the Upper Klamath Lake, as well as to the protected Coho salmon which spawn in the Klamath River. Many protests by farmers and citizens culminated in a "Bucket Brigade" on Main Street May 7, 2001 in Klamath Falls. The event was attended by 18,000 farmers, ranchers, citizens, and politicians. Such universal criticism resulted in a new plan implemented in early 2002 to resume irrigation to farmers.
Low river flows in the Klamath and Trinity Rivers and high temperatures may have led to a mass die-off of 33,000 salmon in 2002. Dwindling salmon numbers have practically shut down the fishing industry in the region and caused over $60 million in disaster aid being given to fishermen to offset losses. Ninety percent of Trinity River water is diverted for California Agriculture.
According to a National Academy of Sciences report of October 22, 2003, limiting irrigation water did little if anything to help endangered fish and may have hurt the populations. A contrary report has criticized the National Academy of Sciences report. The Chiloquin Dam has been removed to help improve sucker spawning habitat.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.7 square miles (48.4 km2). 17.9 square miles (46.4 km2) of it is land and 0.9 square miles (2.3 km2) of it (4.54%) is water. The elevation is4,099 feet (1,249 m).
Klamath Falls has a high desert landscape. The older part of the city is located above natural geothermal springs. These have been used for the heating of homes and streets, primarily in the downtown area.
As of the census of 2000, there were 19,462 people, 7,916 households, and 4,670 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,089.5 /sq mi (420.7 /km2). There were 8,722 housing units at an average density of 488.3 /sq mi (188.5 /km2).
The racial makeup of the city was:
There were 7,916 households out of which:
The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.99.
The age distribution was:
The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 101.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 100.1 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $28,498, and the median income for a family was $37,021. Males had a median income of $31,567 versus $22,313 for females. The per capita income for the city was $16,710. About 21.9% of the population and 16.2% of families were below the poverty line, including 26.8% of those under age 18 and 9.5% of those 65 or over.
In the state legislature, Klamath Falls is located in the 28th Senate district, represented by Republican Doug Whitsett, and in the 56th House district, represented by Republican Bill Garrard. Federally, Klamath Falls is located in Oregon's 2nd congressional district, which has a Cook PVI of R +11 and is represented by Republican Greg Walden. Todd Kellstrom has been the mayor of Klamath Falls for 16 years and was just reelected for his fifth consecutive term November 2008.
Company B, 1st Battalion, 186th Infantry of the Oregon Army National Guard makes its home at Kingley Field.
Other major employers are Collins Products and Columbia Forest Products.
Klamath Falls is home to many outdoor winter and summer activities. The nearby Running Y Ranch Resort, features a golf course designed by Arnold Palmer, an ice skating arena Bill Collier Community Ice Arena, trailriding, and overlooks Upper Klamath Lake, the largest natural lake in the Pacific Northwest There is also a canoe trail through the wildlife refuge at Rocky Point.
Klamath Falls is located on the Pacific Flyway, and large numbers of waterfowl and raptors are seen at all times of the year. A large number of Bald Eagles winter in Bear Valley, just 10 miles (16 km) west of Klamath Falls, near Keno, and the American White Pelican shows in great numbers in summer.
Crater Lake National Park is 50 miles (80 km) north of Klamath Falls and the 33-mile (53 km) rim drive circling the lake is a favorite of cyclists. Winter cross country skiing and snow shoeing in the park is also very popular. The more than mile high Crater Lake Marathon is an annual event.
Lava Beds National Monument is about 30 miles (48 km) to the south east of Klamath Falls near the town of Tulelake, California. The Lava Beds provide an excellent opportunity to explore an area that has perhaps the highest concentration of lava tubes. The monument also interprets the Modoc Indian War of 1873 and is the site of the major battles of the war.
Mountain Lakes Wilderness Area, one of the first designated wilderness areas in the United States, lies just to the west of Klamath Falls, providing some excellent opportunities for backpacking and fishing in pristine mountain lakes.