30 days in jail for collecting rain water in Oregon

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:

Community Profile


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.

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11 Responses to 30 days in jail for collecting rain water in Oregon

  1. Annoyed says:

    While I am not sure if he was only collecting rain water(those were not small tanks, they looked like ponds…) I completely agree on the issue of hispanics. There has been a rapid increase in their numbers and you see them everywhere, besides the obvious demographic damage they cause, they are also a drain on enviromental and social resources.
    It’s bizzare that enviromentalists don’t address immigration considering it’s huge damage to the enviroment. Apperently their true loyalty is still to the diversity agenda.
    I suspect Oregon will become the next California after California completes its transformation into Mexico and this really bothers me.

  2. this is just an aspect of excessive laws, overcriminalization. It seems to me that a few ponds are, most likely, a plus for environment and ecology.
    Does the government have a good argument why there is damage to society if he keeps runoff water? Most likely, he helps to reduce high water runoff and then helps to reduce temperature swings and drought at his property.
    I see this as an issue of ecology, and freedom. I don’t see this really as a racial and immigration issue (which is interesting on its own, independently of water rights)

  3. JI says:

    These sorts of things are tricky. The basic issue is what to do when one infringes on the rest of the community by what one does on one’s own private property. I just don’t trust that the state of Oregon has the wisdom to know if these ponds are good for the community or bad for it. Or if they are good for the environment or bad for the environment. In such gray situations it’s always best for the government to respect private property rights. But Oregon is a totalitarian Greenocracy that has no respect for private property rights.
    I wouldn’t mind the Mexican issue if it wasn’t a) so overdone in terms of sheer numbers, or b) they would adapt to our culture and try to fit in. This is becoming cultural and economic suicide.
    Please stop using the word Hispanic since there is no such thing, it was an ill-defined term created during the Nixon administration to refer to anyone from any place that was settled by Spain. We’re really talking about Mexicans and some Guatemalans. Not Cubans, not Puerto Ricans, not Costa Ricans, not Chileans, …

  4. Jose says:

    I’m a proud Mexican and this is kind of races not all Mexicans go out and get drunk and it’s good for the Medford area to get more diversity. People in the rogue valley should respect the hispanics

  5. Gorbachev says:

    Let’s reverse this.
    How about we send millions, literally millions, of Americans to live in Mexico? They can do the dirty jobs Mexicans don’t want to do.
    Wait. Mexicans don’t like it. What is it they do to all those Salvadorans and Guatemalans who cross the border?
    Right. Imprison and summarily deport them.
    Our liberal governments are bent on wholesale national suicide. Anyway, with trilliions of dollars in debt, and no industrial base, it hardly matters any more.
    We’re ripe for serious colonization. And we only have ourselves to blame.

  6. Jose says:

    You want to know why diversity is good for the rogue valley for the kids. I graduated in 2007 of eagle point high school when I went there things where awfull racist name calling people being so gulable and nieve thinking all Mexicans steel and cause drama. the kids need to learn more about life because odds are they will in the lifetime have 2 deal with other nationalities around but no Mexicans come here for a better life not to cause crime.

    • jewamongyou says:

      In other words “diversity is good because it teaches kids how to deal with diversity”. Sounds like a circular argument to me. Anyway, of course Mexicans come here for a better life – but if Mexicans are so good, the surely a nation composed entirely of them would provide them with an even better life. That nation would, of course, be Mexico. A nation is composed of people. It makes no sense to claim that Mexicans are as good as Americans but Mexico is not as good as America.

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