Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls

Klamath Falls, city (1990 pop. 17,737), seat of Klamath co., SW Oreg., at the southern tip of Upper Klamath Lake; inc. 1905. It is the processing and distribution center of a lumber, livestock, and farm area. Timber, dairy products, and tourism are central to the city's economy. Klamath Falls was settled in 1867 as Linkville. The Klamath irrigation project (1900) on the Klamath River and the coming of the railroad (1909) stimulated its growth from a hamlet to a thriving city. The Oregon Institute of Technology and Favell Museum of Western Art and Indiana Artifacts are in Klamath Falls. Crater Lake National Park and Lava Beds National Monument are nearby.
Klamath Falls, 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 the 2006 estimate at 20,720. The regional population is near 42,000, counting suburbs (primarily the community of Altamont). It is the county seat of Klamath County.


The Klamath Indians were the first inhabitants of the area. Their 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 south of Klamath Falls, and the war of 1872 - 1873 was a hugely expensive campaign for the US Cavalry, costing an estimated $500,000--the equivalent over 8 Million in yr 2000 dollars. 17 Indians and 83 whites were killed.

The Applegate Trail, which passes through the lower Klamath area, was blazed in 1846 from west to east in an attempt to provide a safer route for emigrants on the Oregon Trail.

The Klamath Reclamation Project began in 1906 to drain marshland 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 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 Union Pacific 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.

Water rights controversy

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. After many protests by farmers and a criticized revision of the biologists' decision, a new plan was implemented in early 2002 to resume irrigation to farmers.

This may have led to mass die-off of the salmon, practically shutting down the fishing industry in the region and leading to over $60 million in disaster aid being given to fishermen to offset losses.

In March 2006, the plan was found to be in violation of the Endangered Species Act and a new ruling was made to shut off irrigation if natural water levels go below a specified point.

According to a National Academy of Sciences report of October 22, 2003, limiting irrigation water did little if any to help endangered fish and may have hurt the populations. However, this report has been widely criticized as politically motivated.


Klamath Falls is located at (42.223441, -121.777578), at an elevation of 4099 feet.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 18.7 sq mi (48.5 km²). 17.9 sq mi (46.3 km²) of it is land and 0.9 sq mi (2.2 km²) of it (4.54%) is water.

Klamath Falls has a high desert landscape. The older part of the city sits on 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 (188.6/km²).

The racial makeup of the city was:

9.32% of the population are Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 7,916 households out of which:

  • 30.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them
  • 42.2% were married couples living together
  • 11.7% had a female householder with no husband present
  • 41.0% were non-families
  • 32.4% of all households were made up of individuals
  • 11.9% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older

The average household size was 2.36 and the average family size was 2.99.

The age distribution was:

  • 25.5% under the age of 18
  • 13.1% from 18 to 24
  • 27.2% from 25 to 44
  • 21.5% from 45 to 64
  • 12.8% who were 65 years of age or older

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.


Sky Lakes Medical Center is the largest employer in the area, followed by Klamath Falls City School District and JELD-WEN, a manufacturer of doors and windows.

Klamath Falls is home to the 173rd Fighter Wing of the Oregon Air National Guard, stationed at Kingsley Field airbase.


Colleges and Universities

Public Schools

  • Public schools in Klamath Falls are provided by both the Klamath County School District and the Klamath Falls City School District These two districts combined provide schools for the residents of Klamath Falls and its out lying areas.

Klamath County School District

  • KCSD provides five high schools one of which is in Klamath Falls: Henley High School
  • KCSD provides six junior high schools two of which are in Klamath Falls: Brixner Jr. High School and Henley Middle School
  • KCSD provides fourteen elementary schools of which seven are in Klamath Falls: Altamont, Fairhaven, Ferguson, Henley , Peterson , Shasta , and Stearns
  • KCSD provides one alternative school: Falcon Heights Academy.

Klamath Falls City School District

  • KFCSD provides two high schools: Klamath Union and Mazama
  • KFCSD provides one junior high school: Ponderosa
  • KFCSD provides five elementary schools: Conger , Fairview , Mills , Pelican , Roosevelt


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. The largest concentration of Bald Eagles in the lower 48 winter in Bear Valley, just 10 miles west of Klamath Falls, near Keno, and the American White Pelican shows in great numbers in summer.

Crater Lake National Park is 50 miles north of Klamath Falls and the 33 mile rim drive circling the lake is a favorite of cyclists. Winter cross country skiing in the park is also very popular. The more than mile high Crater Lake Marathon is an annual event.

Rail Transportation

Amtrak, the national passenger rail system, serves Klamath Falls, operating its Coast Starlight daily in both directions between Seattle, Washington and Los Angeles, California.

Notable residents

Sister city

Klamath Falls has one sister city , as designated by Sister Cities International:

See also


External links

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