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Study Needed For Klamath Vets Home

KLAMATH FALLS, Ore. – Plans to put a measure on the May ballot in Klamath County for a locally-financed and built veterans home may be on hold for now.

A proposal for a May ballot measure will now have to wait for a ‘needs assessment’ study to be done. The study will likely be done by someone from Oregon Institute of Technology, but because it could take months to complete, county officials may miss the deadline for a May vote.

“The needs assessment could take 60 days, Could take 90 days, and since that’s going to drive every aspect of what we ask the voters to approve, it has to be completed first,” said PAC Chairman Joe Spendolini.

Klamath County voters already approved $15.5 million to help fund a state-built veterans home. Now the county wants voters to okay building a scaled-down version that would be handed over to state veterans to operate. County Veterans Officer Kathy Pierce says the survey and study will not only establish exactly what type and size of facility best fits the area, but should provide other useful information.

“We will find how many veterans we have in Klamath county. How many is in the ‘catchment’ area? What the need really is here. It’s a very, very important part of this whole process,” Pierce said.

Klamath county veterans officials say they have a pretty good idea of how many veterans there are within the Basin. But since a veterans home built here would likely serve more than just Klamath Basin veterans, a more detailed study is needed.

Kathy Pierce says vets from Lake, Modoc, Siskiyou, Deschutes and maybe even Jackson County could be served by the facility, which would include an Alzheimer’s unit. Spendolini expects the soonest a study could be done and a new measure put on the ballot would be for the November election.