What is Klamath Falls Known For?
Klamath Falls is known for many things from its rich history starting in the 1800s to the year-round sunny weather and high desert climate. Furthermore, there is an abundance of outdoor recreation thanks to the wealth of nearby mountainous terrain and forests.
When people think Klamath Falls and what its known for, they have a lot of exceptional examples to choose from. Many would likely begin to think of things like Crater Lake National Park, JELD-WEN, inc, Oregon Institute of Technology, Running Y Ranch Resort, the Air National Guard’s 173rd Fighter Wing at Kingsley Field. After visiting the region many remark on the vast potential of the area and marvel that it seems undiscovered.
History of Klamath Falls, Oregon
Klamath Falls has a rich history beginning in the 1800s with the westward migration on the Oregon Trail. This eventually led to a settlement in the Klamath Basin where the remote area was soon well known for its forests and rangeland. After the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived in the early 1900s, the city began to grow at a rapid rate. For a true look at the history of Klamath Falls, the Klamath County Museum serves as the main history museum for the Klamath County and the surrounding area.
The Klamath and Modoc peoples were the first known inhabitants of the area. Just prior to the greatly expensive Modoc War (1872-1873) fought between the indigenous and the US Calvary, a man by the name of George Nurse arrived from the Oregon trail at the settlement we now know as “Klamath Falls” today, then naming the small settlement “Linkville”, a tribute to the Link River north of Lake Ewauna.
In 1906, the Klamath Reclamation Project began to drain marshland and move water to allow for agriculture to prosper in the predominantly sunny climate. 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, and to this day many 3rd and 4th generation farmers still work the land that their great-great-grandparents originally farmed.
For several decades, Klamath County and its encompassing cities were primarily supported by timber, logging, and wood products manufacturers. The County is home to a dense timber supply and centrally positioned between several major west coast distribution markets. 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.
As a major market for distribution of lumber and wood products, the community developed a robust transportation system, with four major highways converging in Klamath Falls, rail distribution via Union Pacific and Burlington Northern Santa Fe (BNSF), as well as a promising regional airport.
The economy has since evolved, maintaining the strength of those historic industries proudly, the regional leadership draws more attention to community collaboration in the formation and execution of strategies which better position the rural economy to explore emerging markets suitable to the area’s infrastructure. Such expanding markets include renewable energy/clean technologies, advanced manufacturing, nutraceuticals, among several others!
Oregon’s City of Sunshine
Many associate Oregon as being “rainy”. In fact, across Oregon there are many terrains, climates, and landscapes to explore in cities scattered throughout the state, some alike, some far different. Klamath County generally described as high-desert, and therefore is much drier than the Eugene and Portland areas.
Klamath Falls is known as the sunniest place in Oregon and often referred to as the state’s “City of Sunshine”. The city holds this title proudly with an average of 300 days of sunshine per year. Klamath Falls sits on the eastern side of the Cascade mountains and in a southern part of the state which is generally sunnier than the northern areas. The sunny dry weather in the high desert landscape provides optimal year-round livability.
As Oregon’s “City of Sunshine”, the high desert community contains a diverse mix of scenic assets, forming a truly dynamic outdoor environment. People moving and traveling to the area can enjoy scenic hikes to waterfalls, fishing on the many lakes and rivers, a day trip to Crater Lake National Park, or a downtown street fair such as the Klamath Falls Farmer’s Market. In many years, people can enjoy outdoor recreation year-round, due to the mild high-desert climate.
An Abundance of Outdoor Recreation Activities
With the ideal location for those that enjoy being out year-round, Klamath Falls is also well-known for outdoor recreation. With the nearby Crater Lake National Park and the stunning Cascade mountains, there are plenty of lakes and mountains for almost any outdoor activity including hiking, biking, fishing, water sports, rock climbing, winter sports, and so much more. Not to mention the many wildlife refuges, Klamath Falls is home world-class bird watching. The area is more than known for the plentiful things to do in southern Oregon’s backyard.
Those who visit Klamath cannot help but marvel at the wide selection of outdoor recreation activities available within just minutes. Sprawling across the county is a fusion of forests, mountains, hills, deserts, lakes, rivers, and more. This physical geography easily lends to all sorts of interests, regardless of the season. The beauty of Klamath Falls’ size and location is that any activity you could imagine can be experienced and understood without overwhelming population centers, tourists or exhibitors interfering with the adventures you plan. It is very common for people who live in Klamath to be seen doing any one of the following activities: hiking, boating, skiing, golfing, snowmobiling, zip-lining, kayaking, camping, horse-riding, among many others.
In addition to the rich history of the indigenous and pioneer people, Klamath Falls is also known for much more. Major business centers call Klamath Falls home, including JELD-WEN, inc. which is the world’s largest window and door manufacture, with over 20,000 employees worldwide. The community is unique in that it is home to a world-class four-year university – Oregon Tech, whose graduates are highly sought after by corporations such as Boeing and Intel. Employers are choosing to locate in Klamath Falls for it’s low-cost of living and robust higher education systems – Oregon Tech, Klamath Community College, OHSU Campus for Rural Health, and OSU Extension Office (Klamath Basin Research and Extension Center). Additionally, the community boasts one of the best per capita ratios of medical professionals, who work in the local health care systems. In recent years, Klamath Falls and Klamath County have received accolades for several community-wide efforts. In 2018, Klamath County received the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Culture of Health Prize. This prize recognized Klamath Falls as being a community investing in powerful partnerships and making a deep commitment to enable everyone the opportunity to live well. Complementary to the work recognized by Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in 2018, Klamath Falls has received the honor of being named a certified Blue Zones Community®. Due to the hard work of the people of Klamath Falls, Klamath Falls is the first in the Pacific Northwest to claim this title, which recognizes the efforts of community partners to help move the needle on health outcomes and invest in the longevity of their residents.
In fall 2020, Oregon Main Street announced Klamath Falls and the Klamath Falls Downtown Association for the “Excellence in Downtown Revitalization” Outstanding Partnership award. The award recognized Klamath Falls efforts to workday-in and day-out to revitalize Oregon’s historic downtowns. The downtown corridor has also received notoriety from Oregon Main Street for the Klamath Piano Project, which maintains pianos along the downtown corridor during warmer months that are painted by local artists, and available for passersby to enjoy.
Whether your interested in being in a sunnier location, enjoying outdoor activities, looking for a slower pace of life (with a great cost of living!), wanting to grow your career, or searching for a tight-knit community that is empowered by its history to meet the next opportunity, Klamath Falls and the communities in Klamath County will not disappoint. For more information on relocating your business here, or explore opportunities for new investment, contact KCEDA.