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Lori Lester - Klamath County

Lori Lester, a real estate agent in Klamath Falls, purchased her rural acreage in 2005, intending to turn it into the perfect horse property. Her passion is barrel racing and she owns several horses, including a stallion named Lester's Live Wire. Pembina wants to run the pipeline down two sides of her property. Her outdoor arena would have to be moved.

I have no idea what's happening or what we're doing, if we're doing the right thing or the wrong thing. All I know is that this is my home and I don't want it destroyed. I don't want to live next to a three foot-wide gas line.

The perfect property

I’ve been barrel racing since I was a child. I’ve always had to work so I’ve never had the chance to run the circuit except for one year in the late 90s, and I did do extremely well in the California circuit.

I love training them, I love riding them, I love seeing how much I can get out of each horse and how high they can go. I love competing on the local level and I love traveling. I’ve been traveling with another barrel racer for almost 30 years on the weekends and we just have a ball.

 

​This property was just six miles south of town, and I need to be close to town because I still have to work. It was big enough to grow the hay that I needed; the barn was perfect for my horses—it was everything I’ve ever dreamed of. I could have my job and my passion too when I came home.

Dreams on hold

There’s an almost nine-acre field across from the canal that I was going to turn into a horse facility for my own personal use. I wanted a full-size outdoor arena and a pretty large indoor arena because of the wintertimes here. I wanted some stalls, some paddocks, with a little bit of room for the horses, so I could drive in between and feed.

 

Shortly after I bought the property I started getting notices about the gas pipeline coming through, which would go right through the middle of my property. The only thing I've done so far is I put in the outdoor arena.

The pipeline has basically stopped me and has ruined my dream for the whole intent of purchasing this ranch. I’m 60 years old. It’s been 15 years that we’ve just been sitting being told what’s going to happen. You can’t get those years back. 

Limiting our rights; devaluing our land

While he was trying to force Mark into an agreement, the rep said they’ve gotten 90 percent of easements signed. A lot of people not knowing any better signed on at the very beginning, and they’d get $2000 for going across their place.

When Mark finally said, just go around, the representative said fine—we’ll just take your land from you. We’ll just take it by eminent domain. Standing on our own property telling us he was going to take our land away. ​

When the time comes and it’s leaking, then what’s going to happen? You hear on the news all of the pipelines blowing up all over the place. I asked about that and they laughed at me. Oh this is the safest thing ever; there’s no chance of that.

They have no idea how they're playing with people's lives and their dreams, and things that you've worked your whole life for. ​I've worked for this place my whole life. I don't have a chance for place number two.

There is no option on this property for any kind of development after that—it’s done.  You have a whole bundle of rights as a landowner—they’re taking most of that away from you. You won’t be able to sell it for what it’s worth. It’ll diminish the property; you’ll have to disclose the pipelines under it—who’s going to buy it?

They asked me what would be your ideal offer? I said, "zero and no pipeline."

Lori has been approached by Pembina with escalating offers for her easement, which would directly affect 10 acres of her property and make it difficult to access her hay fields. So far she has resisted their offers, but she worries that if the pipeline were to go through, she would receive less in an eminent domain suit.