It is exciting to see so much energy and focus being applied to growth opportunities and leveraging of resources in Klamath County.  Partnerships are forming between many organizations, and across many interests, with the goal of improving, and taking advantage of, opportunities for growth.

Much of the excitement comes from collaboration in a variety of areas, including participation in the Blue Zones initiative, a new mental health campus, a reinvigorated and better resourced economic development association, trails enhancements, a local focus on promoting an entrepreneurial culture, upgrading educational facilities, expansion of higher education offerings, event attraction, a revitalized downtown area, and new commercial development around the region.  All of these partnerships require continued support and long term commitments to reach the intended goals and it appears the community is ready for the long haul.

One partnership that required long term assistance and support has taken center stage recently – Passenger Air Service.

When I began as the Executive Director at the Chamber of Commerce in 2008 one of the very first phone calls I received was about the potential loss of local passenger air service as Horizon Airlines had indicated a change in aircraft type that would include dropping Klamath Falls from their schedule.  The Chamber quickly became a more active participant in the Air Service Partnership to aid in planning for the changes taking place locally, and in air service generally.

There was a real need for broad partnerships representing governments, agencies, businesses, and the airlines themselves.  The airlines made very clear the importance of the business community being front and center in supporting service and many Chamber members joined the discussion and offered help in a variety of ways.  Some contributed money towards the effort, everyone committed to continue using local passenger service, and many dedicated in-kind resources to increasing use.

It was a bumpy flight the last seven years with the loss of Horizon, and then Sky West.  PenAir’s recent announcement is validation all the hard work and time spent on the air service issue was a good investment. It is probable Klamath would be without even the potential of passenger air service without this commitment and broad partnership.

Some individual thanks and appreciation to:

  • The City of Klamath Falls Council & Mayor, and Klamath Falls Airport staffs, who led the entire effort to identify opportunities for air service and was dedicated to ensuring local businesses and residents had access to reliable passenger service;
  • Discover Klamath’s leadership team developed marketing plans and put resources to work promoting air service and the newly named Crater Lake – Klamath Regional Airport as part of taking advantage of the most online searched attraction in the county;
  • The 173d Fighter Wing’s engagement and partnership on airport maintenance and commitment to service use;
  • Klamath County’s support and tourism funding for promotion of the airport and bringing passenger service back to the county;
  • Oregon Tech, Klamath Community College, Sky Lakes Medical Center, Klamath Energy/Iberdrola Renewables, Microtel Inn & Suites, and Jeld Wen for providing direct support and making strong commitments to supporting passenger service;
  • And the many Chamber members who took the time to write letters, emails, and even make phone calls showing support for local efforts including (but not limited to): Basin Mediactive Inc., The Ross Ragland Theater, Midland Empire Insurance Agency, Inc., Pacific Crest Federal Credit Union, and Klamath Basin Behavioral Health.

The Chamber Board and Staff looks forward to being a good partner in future partnership efforts to improve the local economy and support continued growth, and appreciate our membership’s willingness to support long term efforts that build on relationships and lead to community wide successes.


Charles “Chip” Massie

Executive Director

Klamath County Chamber of Commerce