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Unlikely Allies Cooperate for OR Sucker Fish Survival

April 18, 2008

Klamath Falls, OR – PacifiCorp has agreed to shut down power production at the Link River Dam near Klamath Falls in the late summer and early fall. It's part of negotiations with the conservation group Oregon Wild, to save endangered sucker fish that migrate into Upper Klamath Lake. The 22-foot dam is old and may be decommissioned, but until then, it will close from about mid-July to mid-November.

Pacific Power President Pat Reiten calls the deal a "win," both for fish and utility customers. (Pacific Power is part of PacifiCorp.)

"There was potential for filing litigation. Instead, something -- I hate to say it, but something unique -- happened. We decided to sit down and put our respective interests on the table, in a good faith way. And that really bore fruit."

Ani Kame'enui is the Klamath Campaign Coordinator for Oregon Wild. She notes that the two parties have been pushed to the sidelines in the larger, and often contentious, negotiations about relicensing of other Klamath Basin dams.

"I hope that other stakeholders will take note of how good, clear, honest process can bring good results for the Basin. There's a lot of controversy in this Basin, and the best thing that this deal does is identify that change is possible, and progress is possible."

The dam generates about three megawatts of power for southern Oregon and northern California. The agreement also calls for PacifiCorp to set aside funds to improve fish habitat on the Klamath River. The power company and conservation group are hoping their agreement can be a model for others, to improve river conditions for endangered fish.

Chris Thomas, Public News Service - OR