Blue Zones Project Results: Klamath Falls, OR

In 2015, Klamath Falls was selected to be the first Blue Zones Project demonstration site in the Pacific Northwest. Since then, local leaders, volunteers, and organizations throughout the community have worked to achieve certification status.

As a result of its efforts, Kalamath Falls can celebrate

  • More than $1.3 million in grant funding to support community well-being projects including Safe Routes to Parks, Safe Routes to Schools, a Cigarette Litter Prevention Program (resulting in a nearly 80 percent reduction in tobacco litter downtown), supporting a preventative food pantry, increasing wayfinding signage, and increasing park access.
  • New ordinances that are paving the way for smoking cessation and tobacco prevention through smoke-free city parks, smoke- free events, and increased education around smoking cessation, leading to a 24 percent decrease in smoking rates since 2015.
  • New city policies that support healthy eating through the creation of the county food policy council, the county nutrition options resolution, and the adoption of many healthy meeting protocols in workplaces across the community.
  • Increased physical activity among approximately 4,400 students in the local schools by participating in Walking School Bus Days.
  • Twelve approved restaurants that offer a combined 37 new healthier menu items for adults and children. Klamath Falls has also become home to a vegan eatery and juicing company, offering even more options to the community’s residents.
  • Increased demand for produce, which prompted a regionally owned grocery store to increase its produce section resulting in a 12% increase in produce sales.
  • More than 1,113 individuals joined a Moai walking group that promotes building friendships and moving naturally.
  • More than 715 individuals have volunteered to support the Blue Zones Project in Klamath Falls.

Since 2015, Klamath Falls has seen a 24 percent decrease in smoking following Blue Zones Project implementation, advocacy, and policy work. Klamath Falls’ adult smoking rate now stands at 13.1 percent, down from 17.3 percent in 2015 according to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index. Youth smoking has also decreased, with the percentage of youth who report having smoked cigarettes in the past 30 days declining among 8th and 11th graders between 2015 and 2017. According to the Youth Behavioral Risk Survey (YBRS), for 8th graders, the percentage dropped from 6.7 percent in 2015 to 4.7 percent in 2017, and for 11th graders the percentage dropped from 11.2 percent in 2015 to 8 percent in 2017. Frequent e-cigarette use among 11th graders has also declined in Klamath Falls while it has risen nation-wide. According to the YBRS, the percentage of 11th graders who smoked e-cigarettes 3–5 days within the last 30 days declined from 4.2 percent in 2015 to 1.3 percent in 2017.

According to the Gallup-Sharecare Well-Being Index, the percentage of Klamath Falls adults who smoke has declined from 17.3 percent in 2015 to 13.1 percent in 2018.

Blue Zones Project Klamath Falls results include

  • 20 Blue Zones Project Approved worksites
  • 8 Blue Zones Project Approved schools
  • 10 Blue Zones Project Approved restaurants
  • 2 Blue Zones Project Approved grocery stores
  • 27 participating faith-based, neighborhood and community Southwest Florida organizations
  • More than 6,000 residents have taken the Personal Pledge or participated in a Blue Zones Project activity, like volunteering; attending a Purpose Workshop, cooking demonstration, or Blue Zones Project Story; or joining a Moai
  • The city of Klamath Falls and Klamath County have implemented key food, built environment, and tobacco policies and projects

Food Systems Case Study

  • Established on-line Farmers Marketplace: online food hub connecting local producers with consumers. Provides the only year-round location where SNAP recipients can purchase fresh produce year-round.
  • Produce Connection: a network of eight drop sites where free produce is provided. Over 790,000 lbs. of produce distributed in 2018.

Media Valuation

  • Media mentions at $2,754,967 advertising equivalency
  • 1.5B total reach
  • 99% positive or neutral coverage
  • 2,428 total news stories
“In an age when poor health seems so intractable, you’ve taken this community from a place of resignation to a place of hope.”
Dr. Vivek Murthy

U.S. Surgeon General after his orientation to the Blue Zones Project in the Beach Cities, California