dispute at Tule Lake open to public comment (due October 10,
by Lee Juillerat, Herald and
News October 3, 2017
TULELAKE — Efforts to build a fence around the Tule Lake
Airport are stirring controversy, including heated protests
from Japanese-Americans who claim it would further destroy a
airport is located on 358 acres on part of what was the
7,400-acre World War II Tule Lake Segregation Center. At its
peak Tule Lake was the largest and most controversial of 10
“internment” camps. About 18,700 people of Japanese ancestry
were incarcerated at the center, located near the community
of Newell south of the Oregon-California border.
airport is primarily used by Macy’s Flying Service, which,
since 1956, has provided agricultural chemicals and
fertilizers by ground or air for farmers in far northern
California and southern Oregon.
County, which manages the airport through a lease with the
city of Tulelake, which owns the airport, has proposed
building a 16,000 linear feet long, 8-foot tall perimeter
fence around the airport, primarily to prevent wildlife from
crossing the airfield. Mitch Crosby, Modoc County Road
Commissioner, also described the existing fence as “an old
dilapidated fence that doesn’t really keep anything out” and
off the runway.
County is currently seeking public comment on a draft
environmental statement impact report. Comments are being
taken through Oct 10.
Lawsuit and lack of common ground
Members of the Tule Lake Committee, which includes people
incarcerated at Tule Lake, their relatives and other
Japanese Americans, oppose the fence. In July 2014 the group
filed suit against Modoc County and Tulelake claiming a
proper public environmental review process had not been
said the groups held negotiations for 18 months but said
they ended when, “There was no agreement to move forward.
The hopes were we could come up with some common ground and
Ishi, a member of the Tule Lake Committee who lives in New
York, expressed disappointment that negotiations ended,
saying, “I think there’s a need for everyone to come to the
table and see how we can move forward.” He said constructing
a barbed wire fence — barbed wire was used around the Tule
Lake Segregation Center — has “really affected people.”
certainly understand there’s a community that lives there
full-time year round,” Ishi said of people living in the
Tulelake Basin. “We’re not trying to destroy people’s
livelihoods. I try to stay very open and sensitive to the
local perspective. But this is a site that has international
importance. People come from all over the world to see that
plans for memorial expansion
airport is not part of the Tule Lake Unit of World War II
Valor in the Pacific National Monument, which covers only 37
acres of the former camp. A general management plan is being
developed by the National Park Service for the Tule Lake
Unit, which also includes Camp Tulelake and The Peninsula.
Park officials have repeatedly said they have no plans to
seek to expand lands.
believes a fence could damage historic artifacts, not only
from Tule Lake but also Native Americans. “This land has
many hidden histories woven into it.”
Tule Lake Committee members from northern California have
been the most vocal opponents to the fence, Ishi said the
concern impact people of Japanese ancestry nationally.
from New York and I’m trying to convey to you that people
all over the country are concerned. This has sparked deep
concern in our community. “ He notes online petitions
against a fence have generated more than 37,000 signatures.
Facebook posting urging opposition, Tule Lake Committee
member Barbara Takai says Macy’s Flying Service owner Nick
Macy “doesn’t want to deal with the inconvenience of moving
the airport, arguing his family’s ‘legacy’ business has the
right to remain at the present location. In other words, his
family’s self-interest should prevail over preserving a
civil rights site that has significance for an entire
Trying to keep people safe
isn’t anything that came out of the blue. It’s a basic
need,” Macy said, noting discussions about a new airport
fence began in 2004. “We’re not trying to keep people out.
We’re trying to keep people safe.”
and Crosby note a wildlife hazard site study done in 2016
recommends a fence be built. The report, however, does not
recommend any specific type of fence or exact location. The
report says a fence could deter deer, coyotes and dogs but
would not prevent hazards from waterfowl and birds.
also discounted suggestions the airport be moved, saying it
is “in a perfect location” for regional agricultural users
and noting, “For the past 65 years the airport has lived in
harmony with the communities.” Property for the airport was
given to the city of Tulelake by the federal government in
1951 for use as an airport.
a lot more complex than they make it out to be,” Macy said
of comments by the Tule Lake Committee. “There was nothing
here when the airport was established.”
also believes it hypocritical that the Committee didn’t
object when the National Park Service replaced a fence at
the Tule Lake Unit with the same type of barbed wire fence
proposed for the airport.
The fence issue has also raised hackles because of claims of
racism. Takei says a
blog posted by the Klamath Basin Crisis website —
— is creating
controversy by claiming the committee has direct links to
the Council on American-Islamic Relation which, based on
reports from some news outlets, is a Muslim terrorism group.
Americans groups have expressed concerns since the 2001
terrorist attacks in New York that Muslim people, like
Japanese Americans living on the West Coast after the
Japanese bombings of Pearl Harbor, could lose civil
Americans and civil rights groups like CAIR as ‘terrorists’
is a sad and disturbing repetition of how Japanese Americans
were targeted during World War II as disloyal pro-Japan
fanatics. Once again we are seeing how racism, hysteria and
failed political leadership operate to create ‘fake news’ —
lies that scapegoat innocent people,” Takei said.
turn, the committee is criticized by Tule Lake Basin
residents for providing provocative articles on its website
like, “Cowboys, Indians, and Aliens: White Supremacy in the
Klamath Basin 1826-1946,” and by posts like “Star Trek” film
star-activist George Takei and others that include incorrect
information and sometimes inflammatory statements.
both fence proponents and opponents like Nick Macy and Mike
Ishi say, “It’s a complicated issue.”
KBC is only sharing links; we did not
create these links stating
facts about CAIR and the relationships of the Tule Lake
Committee with CAIR. We in no way demonize Muslims.
Who's Who in Japanese-American Tule Lake committee and
Documentation of their ties to CAIR, Council on American Islamic
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