State of Oregon owns the rainwater

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Homeowner Gary Harrington continues to be persecuted by Oregon State water

The Oregon Herald: Homeowners should beware that there are state managers who would take the very water that falls on your property, take you to court and prosecute you as a criminal.

Gary Harrington of rural Eagle Point said he will continue his long legal battle against Oregon water managers who want the water that falls on his property. He said the water containers the managers are concerned about are merely ponds holding rain and snow runoff from his own property, and that he stores the water mainly for fire protection.
Oregonians and many property owners around the United States are quite away, this summer, of how important it could be to have extra water to wet the roof and other property on your own land.
Harrington plans to appeal his recent conviction on nine misdemeanor charges for filling his own private reservoirs with rain and snow runoff the state steadfastly maintains is owned by the Medford Water Commission.
That’s right. The state swears they own the water on your own property.
Harrington disagrees with the state’s interpretation of a 1925 state law granting the commission broad water rights to the Big Butte Creek Basin. He believes he’s been singled out amid other pond owners.
When it comes to the point where a rural landowner can’t catch rainwater that falls on his land to protect his property, it’s gone too far,” he said. “This should serve as a dire warning to all pond owners.”
Oregon officials have dragged Harrington through the state court system for a decade for using his own water without a permit, convicting him of “illegally taking water without a permit” in 2002.
Harrington’s case was prosecuted by the state Department of Justice at the request of the Jackson County District Attorney’s office. Prosecutor Patrick Flanagan, who handled the case with die-hard passion, declined to comment until after Harrington’s sentencing.
Harrington represented himself at his trial Tuesday. It was no surprise when a six-member jury convicted him on three counts each on charges of illegal use of water denied by a water master, unauthorized use of water and interfering with a lawfully established head gate or water box.
At issue is the interpretation of the 1925 state law that gave the water commission exclusive rights to all the water in Big Butte Creek, its tributaries and Big Butte Springs. That’s core of the city’s municipal water supply.
Harrington has argued in court documents that he’s not diverting water from the creek system, but capturing rainwater and snowmelt from his 172-acre property along Crowfoot Road. He maintained that the runoff does not fall under the state’s jurisdiction and does not violate the 1925 act.
Water managers have said the runoff is a tributary of nearby Crowfoot Creek and thus subject to the law. Here’s additional details:
The Oregon Legislature closed Big Butte Springs drainage from any additional
appropriation in 1925 and gave all additional water to the City of Medford. The
Commission receives most of its water supply from the Big Butte Springs. The
water begins as snowmelt on Mt. McLoughlin and percolates through volcanic soils to emerge again as springs. The Big Butte Springs watershed is a multiple-use watershed consisting of 56,000 acres of private and publicly-managed lands. This watershed provides the recharge zone for the Big Butte Springs.
While I am no attorney, I don’t believe Mr. Harrington is in the wrong.  It’s not like he’s withdrawing water from the creek, just the sky. Is he wrong or getting screwed by big government?
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0 responses to “State of Oregon owns the rainwater

  1. Makes me want to get some rain barrells and start collecting…

  2. Agenda 21. This bunch of corrupt communists are just asking for it on a platter. Soon, they will get what they are asking for,and it won’t be pretty. People have had enough. The Constitution is “Thee Sacred Law of the Land”. Go to “Defend Rural America” support your “Constitutional Sheriff’s”. Start weeding these ticks out at your local levels,ANYONE not willing to follow the Constitution, goes. It is good v.s. evil, pick a side.

  3. Dave McMullen

    Government is using the water to control everything.In my county new regulations now require a $15000 water run off plan if you want to build a house the year 2021, regulations will make it impossible to build a new home…This is Agenda 21…and the death of the American dream.

  4. I love the state of Oregon and would live there if it weren’t for the crazies who run the place. I mean come on, one thing there is no shortage of in Oregon is water. It’s the PNW for pete’s sake! In the PDX airport bathrooms the faucets are automatic and they turn off in such short spurts that you can barely wet your hands. That made me laugh that they are so stingy with their water as it rained outside for the 9th day in a row!

    • I live here in the Pacific Northwest and, yes, the govt is crazy about water control. We have plenty of it yet they deem it scarce due to global warming. It’s a joke though. We’ve had just 50 minutes of weather over 80 degrees this year. And plenty of rain. Idiots…

  5. BTW – property owners should be able to collect whatever they want on their own land. But that’s the point the here – the govn’t doesn’t believe you own that property to begin with.

  6. The movie “Corporation” showed this kind of thing happening in Bolivia at one point, and it seemed like the most outrageous thing ever. I would never have thought it could happen in this country, but evidently it can. This is a horrible abuse of government power and should not be tolerated.

    • I was going to watch that on Netflix but I was afraid it would be OWS anti-capitalism stuff that just makes me mad. Now you’ve piqued my interest and it’s on my list for this weekend. Thanks, Laurel.

  7. The citizens of Oregon OWN the water, not some pencil necked dick in city hall or the legislature. It’s not like this guy is syphoning the creek. comeon Oregonians, take back your damned state. Your idiots and ICLEI are ruining it. They are the driving force behind most cases like this.
    State ought to be encouraging people to save rain water instead of over taxing the citys’ water systems. what a bunch of total f”””””n morons.
    The law fro 1925 is too broad, and it needs to be repealed.

  8. We aren’t America anymore.
    We are something else, and I don’t much like it.

  9. winstonsmith6079

    Tell ’em that you’ll route your toilet into the frikken stream and give ’em their water back!

  10. Agreed, this is so absurd it’s not even funny, but furious-making stupidity. After we subdivided the Trozzo homestead between my friend John Hodges and ourselves, John [a retired architect] built a large shed for all his major field equipment. One day my son and a friend came running back to tell us the shed was on fire. By the time the volunteer fire force got there it was a $40,000 pile of coals and ashes. Now, if he’d impounded our snow and rainwater he could’ve used a gasoline-powered portable pump to run a fire hose and put the fires out far earlier. But if we lived in Medford, that would have been illegal….

  11. I feel so sorry for you people, y`all are the only one`s that can turn this around, you need to have a recall election, NOW………….


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