F: Agents of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Services served a leader at the Klamath Head gates, Barbara Martin with legal papers including a complaint, motion for temporary restraining order and a motion to show cause and a temporary restraining order barring her from occupying, entering upon the area within the fence surrounding the head gates or interfering with impeding, damaging or obstructing the operations of the Bureau of Reclamation water control headgate…and on and on it goes. We have Barbara Martin and Carmen Bair with us now. What is this, what is going on over there now??
M: That’s kind of what I wanted to ask the judge yesterday. WHAT is this?? They came to my house
Saturday morning while I was in bed and threw the document on my back porch and told my husband that I had been served. I had to be in court at 1:30 on Tuesday. Monday was a holiday so I had no way of getting an attorney or any kind of legal representation.
F: Plus that’s like a 4 or 5 hour drive!
M: It’s about a 4 ½ hour drive, yes. I even had to take the day off work to get that done. Well, I had to show. I was able to get hold of an attorney. He worked for [what I guess] is a couple days getting some documents together. I also had to appear in front of the judge, because if I didn’t they may not have accepted the documents that he might not have been able to get there on time, then I would still be held in contempt. Now, the restraining order is still not real clear about where I can go and where I can’t.
And something that I want to let everybody know the reason why I feel they’ve given me this restraining order is because I’m giving facts of ownership of that project. And they don’t own that project, clearly. And I have the documentation.
F: What do your documents say, describe them for us.
M: This is the Klamath Project, is what it is, it’s a reclamation act. The reclamation act started in 1902. And this project started in 1906 and the government gave the irrigators 10 years to pay back the project.
And if you DIDN’T pay back the project? …. well, in my research I found….I stopped at 33 homes and property that the government took, because if you didn’t pay it back, they just took your property and your house and they sold it. …..So the project was completely paid in 1955. Every district on the project was paid and now we own it.
F: And they don’t want people to know……..they (Federal government) don’t have any reason to be there, do they?
M: I have seven documents that state that the project reverts back to the owners of the property. I automatically reverted back once it was paid.
F: Now, these are legal, registered documents, right?
M: They are.
F: You’re disseminating this information - that worries them because they don’t want people to know. They want people to believe that the feds own that land when the truth is it belongs to the farmers in the project.
M: And, I might add, if they do own it, why aren’t they arresting people that are over there on it right now?
And why aren’t they citing people for trespassing, why aren’t they doing that…..once the farmers went across the fence?
F: So, why are they STILL there?
M: We’d like to ask them the same question. In some of my documentation I got from their attorney
against my restraining order…. Carmen….tell them how much money they’ve used so far in tax dollars
as of August 31st.
C: The total is $506,288.11. Taxpayer dollars.
F: That’s how much they spent having people standing around looking stupid at the gates?? Five Hundred thousand dollars and all they’ve got is an outhouse down there!………….Okay, so the American Taxpayers have paid half a million dollars….and all that they got for that was some security guards
Standin’ around at the head gates.
C: $88,880.00 of that went to …..the Olympic Inn for their lodging. …….I haven’t seen any documentation that the Olympic Inn which is on one of our main streets of Klamath Falls has donated or done anything for a farm family, but they have almost a hundred thousand dollars in their hands lodging federal government.
F: Wow. I’m sure everybody in town appreciates their fine effort. So, Barbara what happened when you got to court?
M: We got up in front of the judge and …..the attorney for the United States stated that he wasn’t going to object to me getting more time. I said to the judge ….well, I would hope not…..[since I just got served Saturday.]
M: We’re not going to give up this fight. What we want to tell the American people is we need them to help us stand up. If we all stand together we will win this battle.
F: This is an important fight, not just the farmers in the Klamath Basin, but for people who have water rights everywhere……..either you have lawful, deeded rights to water, which is property or you DON’T!
But you can’t have it one way or the other whenever the government decides which way you can have it.
It’s gotta be in cement somewhere that you have those rights and the water is yours.
M: We have all the documentation that the water is ours. They choose not to look at those documents. They have contracts with us to deliver that water and they are just not fulfilling those contracts.
C: The water rights are to the land , not to the system that delivers the water. And there’s a way to severe it if it must be severed and it involves payment. And none of that was done, it was just TAKEN.
F: What I think the audience doesn’t completely understand ……you have 1400 farm families, many of whom make a living from their farm. This year they have NO crops, they have no WATER, they have no ability to borrow money…..the value of their property is in question because of the water taking by the government. They have no other jobs…no other jobs exist in the basin for them and they are essentially living as paupers, complete impoverished citizens, they have no money.
C: I think what people who don’t farm don’t understand is these are not “jobs.” These are businesses. So money is borrowed…..the year before that they have to pay back. The crops that came out of the ground last year are being paid for this year. ………They not only have zero income, they have a lot of debt. (and they can’t draw unemployment!)
F: Where’s the money that our gallant white knights in shining armor, Gordon Smith and Greg Walden
Were gonna bring in, where’s all that money??
C: Somewhere hidden in all their rhetoric.
F: You see, I happen to know that hard working decent families are scraping by eating bread and water. Did you know that?? They don’t even have food! When we tried to put on a big shindig over there to bring people in and food and aid and assistance they (the government, etc) treated everybody like they were a bunch of extremist whaco’s because they wanted to help their fellow man in need. I am so incredibly angry at the way the politicians handled this.
C: The infamous 20 million dollars that’s supposed to be coming into this area is allotted by acreage. In other words I may get somewhere between 90 and 100 dollars per acre of ground I own. What that has done, though, is let all the people out of that equation that rent ground or custom farm. So if they don’t own any ground, yet rent it or custom farm work, they’ll get NO money. None.
M: Don’t forget….there is the ONRC waiting to buy the “willing sellers” land. Let’s not forget about them! (Note: Oregon Natural Resources Council, Wendall Wood, Andy Kerr)