Mid-Klamath Economic Development Summit

By Linda Martin

Teenagers tell Happy Camp what they want.
Teenagers describe a better vision of the future for Happy Camp youth at the Mid-Klamath Economic Development Summit in June 2001.

January 1, 2002 – Last June we had a wonderful meeting to discuss the future of Happy Camp. About 200 people attended and contributed to discussions of our economic and social needs. It is time for the sequel… another community meeting is planned for Wednesday, January 16, 2002 at 4 pm at the Family Resource Center. Dinner will follow the meeting.

The Karuk Tribe is hosting the Mid-Klamath Economic Development Summit meeting where the tribe’s strategy for economic renewal in this region will be unveiled. In his letter to all Happy Camp citizens, Alvis Johnson, Chairman of the Karuk Tribe, wrote, “Our approach is inclusive of the greater spectrum of diverse constituency groups within our ancestral lands. We envision the January meeting as a first step to greater socio-economic prosperity locally and the development of a new paradigm for post-resource dependent communities across the Pacific Northwest.”

Restrictions on timber harvests from federal lands decimated Happy Camp’s logging industry during the last decade, so economic renewal and change are a vital need for the people of this region.

Follow-up article:

Scott Clements and John Martinez
Consultant Scott Clements discusses the summit results with Karuk spokesman, John Martinez.

January 16, 2002 – Scott Clements of Clements Partners, LLC, a Portland consultant, was in Happy Camp to present the results of the latest study done on economic development for the Mid-Klamath region. This study was commissioned by the Karuk Community Development Corporation with an initial community meeting held last July. He said the other studies, done in 1994 and 1998, were helpful but there were no lasting effects for the benefit of Happy Camp.

This time we have a three part plan to work with – starting with Pre-Development initiatives, followed by Stage One and Stage Two initiatives. The Pre-Development plan calls for the formation of a new umbrella organization tentatively called the Community Achievement Leadership (CAL), which would coordinate community planning, prioritize committment of resources, and monitor implementation of specific resources.

As planned, CAL will be a centralized source comprised of members representing all the present community organizations. CAL’s function will be to coordinate efforts and funding for the development of economic opportunities in this region. An important step will be for all participating organizations to pass resolutions approving the formation of CAL.

Another feature of Pre-Development is to request an incorporation revenue assessment from the Siskiyou County auditor. Also suggested was to combine our current sanitary and water districts into one community service district. According to Clements, “A multi-purpose CSD would provide a focal point to address Happy Camp’s future physical infrastructure needs.”

After Pre-Development is underway, Stage One Economic Initiatives can begin. There are five recommendations: 1) forest salvage and juniper harvest programs; 2) an eco-cultural park that would share elements of Karuk culture and customs and would help preserve and maintain Karuk tribal heritage; 3) development of the computer center with website design training programs leading to a virtual marketplace for local businesses, artists, and crafts-persons; 4) establishment of a small business incubator program to support the community’s needs for future commercial goods and services; 5) development of a housing resource center to coordinate housing policies, land use, financing, development opportunity, and service programs.

An exciting element of the evening’s program was the presentation by four local teenagers on recreational development recommendations for the area. Their suggestions were for winter access to the snow park on Page Mountain, a miniature golf course, a go-kart track, a skateboard park that could also be used by rollerbladers and bmx bikers, an off-highway vehicle park, and a motocross track. Another suggestion from the audience was for a local water park.

After Clements’ presentation, the meeting divided into four special interest groups: natural resources, technology, housing, and recreation. Afterwards there was a lasagna dinner and time for socializing.