An Oregon man has been sentenced to 30 days in jail for collecting rain water, and snow run-off, on his own property. CNS news reports that…
A rural Oregon man was sentenced Wednesday to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines because he had three reservoirs on his property to collect and use rainwater.
Gary Harrington of Eagle Point, Ore., says he plans to appeal his conviction in Jackson County (Ore.) Circuit Court on nine misdemeanor charges under a 1925 law for having what state water managers called “three illegal reservoirs” on his property – and for filling the reservoirs with rainwater and snow runoff.
It appears that government, in its various forms, recognizes no limits to its authority. If the State of Oregon believes that the “public” owns all water, then let it present a referendum to the citizenry. I’d be willing to wager that most Oregonians would grant Mr. Harrington the right to collect water on his own property – unless, of course, they were bombarded with so many legal technicalities, and convoluted terminologies, that they could no longer recognize the issues as they are.
Government authority, and personal property rights, must always be at odds with each other. Each time government claims more authority, personal ownership loses that much more of its meaning. In this case, government authority over rainwater and snow run-off diminishes Mr. Harrington’s ownership of his land. If he were actually diverting water from rivers that flow through his property, to the point where other peoples’ use of those rivers suffered, then I could see where action would be justified against him.
Though western Oregon overall has plenty of water, southern Oregon is a bit more dry. Nevertheless, if southern Oregon were still sparsely populated, it is doubtful that anybody would care about Mr. Harrington’s reservoirs.
According to the article:
The case, he said, is centered on a 1925 law which states that the city of Medford holds exclusive rights to “all core sources of water” in the Big Butte Creek watershed and its tributaries.
As for the needs of the city of Medford, they are based upon its population. Having visited there several times myself, I can attest to the fact that practically all of Medford’s population growth, in recent years, has been due to the influx of Hispanics. But this is no secret. Here’s what the government itself (pg. 15 of the PDF) has to say about it:
Population growth is a key factor in determining the current and future community and economic needs of Medford. Everything from housing to public facilities to employment is directly affected by the population growth of a community. The City has experienced a rate of growth over past decade (sic) that exceeds state and national average growth rates.
Medford grew 90 percent in its population between 1980-2007.
Recent estimates place the Cities population at approximately 76,000 and growing at a rate of more than 2.4 percent annually.
A strong contributing factor to the recent growth is the in-migration of the Hispanic population. Between 200 and 2006 , the Jackson County Hispanic population grew by 35 percent and accounted for 8.3 percent of the county’s population. It is estimated that Medford’s population has followed a similar trend and consists of an Hispanic population ranging from 8.9-9.2 percent.
The above report was issued in 2010. By 2011, the Hispanic portion of Medford had reached nearly 13.5 percent. In other words, it is the flood of (illegal) Mexicans that has fueled the concern over resources such as water. If not for this, Mr. Harrington would most likely have been left in peace.
The government, federal and state, first created an artificial scarcity of resources by allowing hordes of Mexicans to settle in the Medford area. Then it had the audacity to prosecute a white man for collecting rain water on his own property because those same Mexicans might need it – just in case they run out of beer.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we read about Mr. Harrington getting (conveniently) killed by a drunk Mexican driver. Then the State of Oregon would probably confiscate his property and erect a Hispanic cultural center on the site. For visiting hours, call their toll-free number. Para Inglés, oprima dos.