Despite a strong snowpack and recent rain, a county in Central Oregon is asking the Governor to declare a drought emergency.


Jefferson County Commissioner Kelly Simmelink says he and his colleagues agreed to request a drought declaration, on behalf of the North Unit Irrigation District.

"It’s a 60,000-acre irrigated district, and we probably had about 75% of that that was fallow, meaning not planted."

Agriculture is a major economic driver in Jefferson County and Simmelink says two large farms went under this year, "back to back, and it wouldn’t surprise me if there’s not more rearing their head here, shortly. It’s pretty desperate. We’ve got tractor companies leaving town, we’ve got everything that you can possibly conceive that could go wrong - no pun intended, but it’s a trickle down effect."

He tells me he plans to send a letter directly to Governor Tina Kotek to help explain the situation, in an effort to expedite the process, which typically takes a month or more.

An emergency declaration would bring state and federal money to the area.

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Gallery Credit: Stacker

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Gallery Credit: Jaime Skelton


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