Community members of the Klamath River and supporters staged a protest today in front of the Headquarters of Pacific Power, to demand that the dams be removed and that the Klamath River be allowed to flow freely. There was good educational outreach, eloquent speakers, and impassioned pleas to passers-by and PacifiCorp (same as Pacific Power) employees to take their message inside the walls to their employers and fellow employees about the seriousness of the situation on the Klamath. Not only are the Klamath tribes along the entire stretch of river being severely impacted, but the river ecosystem is suffering too, evidenced by the fish die-offs and the toxic algae growth in the river. There was a pile of this toxic algae and dead fish in the center of the protesters, bringing the smell of the polluted reservoirs to the area.
Residents and tribal members told of the lowest Chinook (or King) Salmon runs in recorded history and the impacts to thier way of life due to continuing fish kills in the Klamath. They also demanded for Pacific Power to Bring the Salmon home to the upper Klamath watershed, which has not seen Salmon in almost a century.
This was a surprise protest, but some videographers from independent and corporate media showed up and hopefully some video will be shown on Jim Lockhart's Growing Concern show on Cable Access (live Fridays on PCA at 7-8pm) and possibly there will be a film about this issue shown on Videos From The Resistance, tonight at It's a Beautiful Pizza.
With the publicity being brought to bear around this issue, it is important that we in Portland who call ourselves friends of the "salmon nation" or who claim to want to preserve salmon habitat, get involved in the struggle these people are waging for their very survival. The Oregon govenor has shown little compassion on this issue and has not given his support for dam removal.
This fight is far from over. 50 years is too long to wait for the return of the salmon and steelhead runs. It may already be too late for the spring Chinook which historically had up to a million returning adults per year, many of which used the upper basin above the dams. Currently their are less then 200 in the whole river.
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