An Oregon man sent to prison for collecting rainwater on his own property began the first day of his jail sentence with a warning that the American people need to stand up to a government that is operating completely outside the boundaries of common sense unless they wish to see liberty vanish.
After an 11-year battle with the state of Oregon, landowner Gary Harrington was found guilty under a 1925 law and sentenced to spend 30 years in jail for collecting rainwater in three “illegal reservoirs” despite the fact that they are on his property.
Harrington pointed out that the state had broken their own law by issuing permits to individuals allowing them to divert water from public supplies, whereas Harrington was merely collecting rainwater that fell on his own property and was not taken from municipal supplies.
So I ask you, where does common sense end and stupidity begin? Is this right? Do you agree with Mr.Harrington, or Oregon state officials? What's going to be next? When is enough, enough?
Um - while I agree it's a silly law - it's 30 days in jail, not 30 years!
30 seconds in jail and a $1500.00 fine as punishment for failing to abide by an unjust law is preposterous. The State claims the rainwater belongs to a local creek that runs through the man's property, the man claims the rainwater is his protection against fire. How can the government make claims to ownership of weather? What is going to happen when the government states its ownership of air?
This all ties in to the U.N. Agenda 21 program. “Sustainable development” is a term that is going to be used to eliminate private property rights, it will be abused as is the governments claims of "state secrets" to avoid redressing the grievances of the people!
It is an oppressive decision, and may turn in to the impetus to wake up other citizens to the tyranny being served up to the American people.
The state claimed that it isn't rainwater. Maybe they are right? Anything held in by a 20 foot dam is certain more than a natural pond. The reporting is not very neutral and doesn't use primary sources, making it hard to tell what the real facts are. But three ponds with dam, boats and stocked with sport fish doesn't sound like it is just kept for firefighting. i think there is distortion of the facts on both sides. You can't trust the media to tell the real story these days.
There are many unjust laws - should we stop obeying these laws simply because we feel they are unjust? or should we go the proper route and petition lawmakers to change the law?
Yes! How can we petition the government, our grievances are not redressed! The Federal government of the United States has reached a point where it acts as if it does not fall under the jurisdiction of law.
"There are just laws and there are unjust laws. I would agree with St. Augustine that an unjust law is no law at all... One who breaks an unjust law must do it openly, lovingly...I submit that an individual who breaks a law that conscience tells him is unjust, and willingly accepts the penalty by staying in jail to arouse the conscience of the community over its injustice, is in reality expressing the very highest respect for law."
Martin Luther King
I did err on that, for the moment.
"The latest in the long war between a rapacious federal government, filled with departments and agencies seeking to control every square inch of the nation’s land mass has been an audacious power grab by the Environmental Protection Agency in league with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. There are specific steps any agency must take before it can assert federal control of any kind.
Using the original Clean Water Act which permits the EPA to only regulate “navigable waters”, i.e., rivers and lakes, this rogue agency and the Corps is seeking to ignore the restriction and assert control over every body of water in the U.S. including a puddle of rain water or a pond in your backyard. If it weren’t so absurd and so outrageous, it would sound like science fiction, but the science the EPA uses is usually invented out of thin air.
Specifically, the EPA has issued “a guidance document” saying they want to eliminate or just ignore the word “navigable” so they could control “all waters of the United States and all activities affecting all waters of the United States.”…
The permitting process alone, a major instrument of destruction that the EPA and other agencies of the federal government uses, would explode to the point where some bureaucrat in Washington would decide if you could install a pool, dig a drainage ditch, install a watering pond for livestock, and thousands of other common uses of water."
http://beforeitsnews.com/tea-party/2012 … 44784.html
Thanks for posting the article.
The navigable water issue has been troublesome for a long time. The Corps has previously been known to extend jurisdiction far beyond what common sense would dictate. They argued that if a body of water had a significant nexus to a navigable water then it too would be subject to the Corps' jurisdiction. As common sense would tell you, this probably goes well beyond the original intent of the law.
I had reason nearly 20 years ago to investigate the legal definition of "navigable waters" and was completely shocked to find that it included even the roadside ditches designed to keep water from puddling on the roads. Bottom line was that very nearly any collection of water was a navigable waterway.
That was in conjunction with oil leakage, and as I remember it was from the EPA. I have to wonder if the law has changed? Probably not as it would limit government interference in private lives.
The same lawmakers that constantly golf on golf courses that are watered using billions even trillions of gallons of water to keep them green, many in the middle of the desert? How dare this man collect rain water on his property. He should be jailed.
I wondered how long Agenda 21 would take to surface.....
What's the source for this forum post? I'd like to read the original article.
Water rights is a big issue in the United States (and other countries too) because this resource is becoming such a hot commodity. Drought and increased demand for water makes for a great battleground for people to fight over rainwater especially when it comes to taking large quantities of it that has been already allocated for someone else.
I agree that it certainly sounds like the government here has gone a bit too far here, but it's hard to conclude anything with out knowing all the facts. The judgment in this case may not be as silly as everyone thinks.
As of now there are more questions then answers. How much water did he take and for how long? Did it cause downstream users to lose a business or their crops because they are dependent on the water from the creek? Did his take of water impact the environment? Or is it really just the Oregon state government making an example out of someone for some reason.
I'd love to get my hands on the court documents for this case as well.
It's a simple case of an old law not being taken off the books by the sounds of it the convicted guy only went to jail because he didn't plead guilty and pay the fine but rather fought it. Add the law ot one of many we need to get of the books.
The law needs to be reformed to fit modern day society.
Any chance he was jailed for contempt of court? I used to live in Oregon and the government didn't seem to be that reactive to me.
The reports I read indicated that the man wasn't just diverting rainwater or melting snow from his roof. He was diverting streams on his property into three reservoirs, taking water that would otherwise flowed into Big Butte Creek. It's possible, although the report below didn't say so, that some of the water may have not originated on his property. Maybe the law should be changed.
http://now.msn.com/oregon-man-jailed-fo … -rainwater
From the court documents that I have read, there is no mention of any stream, creek or river that is being diverted. From what material I have found available is that they are talking about diffuse surface water on what would be a watershed.
I understand both sides of the story. You cannot have everyone damming up everything until the creeks run dry. But on the other hand you cannot make examples out of old men with an existing 37 year old pond that has been used to fight forest fires. There has to be a common sense approach that protects that old man and protects the watershed. I think he should be "offered to be " allowed to keep the 37 year old pond, get rid of the new ponds, have his record expunged, and an apology, and an award from the Fire Dept. ie have some lawyers works something out where everyone is happy. Because that old man does not strike me as someone that is easily pushed around.
Wow, that's ridiculous. Laws should really be updated next to ensuring a 'stable mind' of the Judge, jury and lawyers. Definitely a 'over-the-top' sentencing and cause for civil unrest.
it's still a ridiculous law that should be updated to reflect the times. You'd think, his conserving water would be a fantastic idea, since water may become a scarce resource with rate of pollution going on that guy should be awarded a medal is more like it.
Especially in the North West, where rain is plentiful year round.
Sounds as though he reached a point of self-reliance and if others followed suit, would severely damage local water-sewer tax and revenue intake. Judging by the volume of water, he had this going on for a while. They must have known about it. Maybe they were scared he would try to sell it?
Still, the new administration has been pushing folks into the idea of self-sustaining food-gardens, mini-reservoirs, etc, so I do not see why he is being penalized?
If it is rainwater, it is legal. The states is are arguing the water is a tributary of a river, in which case it is not.
Seems like a weak argument but given that they won a jury trial, maybe there is something I am missing.
In any case, collecting rainwater that falls on an impermeable surface (e.g. pool, rainbarrel, roof) is legal as per statute.
The fact that it was a jury trial should be a big red flag that something is being distorted in the telling of this "unjust" law. I can't imagine that 12 people would side with the government if this was just collected rain water - especially 12 Oregonians, who tend very much to have a self-sustaining attitude. I know, as I'm an Oregonian myself. If this was really a guy collecting just rainwater and snow runoff, people out here would be up in arms on his behalf.
I tried to check the facts on this, and found that the only places this was being reported was in right wing news and blogs. So is it fact, or is it another attempt by somebody to divide people with lies? Did the guy really divert creek water? Sounds like it to me.
The story can be found on Mail Tribune which is a daily newspaper in Oregon for over 100 years and won a Pulitzer Prize for Public Service (for exposing political corruption) :. I am not sure if they are a liberal left wing news organization that reports the Holy Truth.
The argument I guess is they believe this mans property is actually a "tributary" Maybe he lives in a houseboat?
He has three man-made lakes with large dams and boats on them. So it's not a puddle. To escape prosecution all he had to do was open the dams (which surely require planning permission?).
IMHO if opening the damns accesses a safe waterway (given he has done it in the past, it seems so?), perhaps they are part of a river tributary?
I would assume the jury was given more info than we are and they seemed no to be convinced by his case, in which he represented himself (with all that implies).
I think he has ponds, based on the actual size. No one ever characterized them as "puddles". But I guess that is all a US citizen is allowed, is a "puddle" on their own property, in your opinion? He has these ponds on his property. All the government has to do is respect his property to avoid citizens sending them packing at election time. It doesn't look like he is damming any river. I saw the aerial photos of what looks like ponds -1 acre sized - 13 feet deep out of 170 acres of total property. No rivers in sight. Maybe he just doesn't feel he has to lower his dignity to beg for a puddle on his own property?
PhoenixV, why do you need to engage is such nasty sarcasm towards anyone who disagrees with you? It's not necessary, and it adds ZERO to the discussion.
I read the article, thanks for the reference. It seems that he was convicted of three misdemeanor counts. One of them was for interfering with a water box or head gate. This is after he fired his attorney. This battle has waged for 10 years now.
So. Is the state taking too many rights if this is indeed against him gathering rainwater? And, as he says, snowmelt? I'd say definitely. Every landowner should be able to gather the rain that falls on his or her own property. Home owners are catching rainwater that falls on their roofs more and more for watering gardens and lawns - I plan on doing it myself someday soon. But nobody is preventing that or saying that it's not legal. I think something more is going on here. As I said earlier, it feels that way because a jury of people, not a judge, convicted him, and after 10 years, the counts were all just misdemeanors. Either he's a hero or he's a crackpot. At this point, I don't think anyone really knows.
You invited sarcasm when you said: right wing news. You want to be a liberal? Or add to the actual conversation?. And then tried to characterize it as The Great Lakes. This guy has 3 ponds on 170 acres. My uncle has 3 ponds on 40 acres. When there is a wildfire, the fire dept will cut his fences and get that water to save human lives and property, not to mention wildlife. I have seen Chinook Helicopters dipping into rural ponds. The fire dept does not repair the damage to fences, or pay for a drop of water, despite losses due to drought later on. Ponds provide water for livestock and wildlife and replenish the ground water. Farmers with ponds are happy to do it.
In the United States of America you fight adamantly for the rights of the property owners. The Citizens, because they do not have billions of dollars of taxpayer money to railroad people. Thats is all they got, besides what little freedom, some people so easily give away.
If there is a fire in that area, the fire dept will be possibly getting their water there. They wont worry about whether its a legal pond or not, then. If politicians allow trillions of gallons of water to water golf courses out in the desert, then this guy oughta be able to have a couple of ponds on his property.
Are his three ponds all created by dams in excess of 10 feet in height and stocked with sport fish? i would not assume equivalence.
I didn't invite anything, so stop being so ugly. I said that all I saw was right wing news sources, because that's all I saw. I went two pages into the search, and it was all right wing sources. So, do you want to continue to be nasty and sarcastic, or do you want to actually add to the conversation? This isn't the first time I've seen you say ugly things to people who don't think like you do. It's tiresome.
Southern California is stealing northern California's water. Where you going to get all your movies if they had no water?
“Unjust laws exist; shall we be content to obey them, or shall we endeavor to amend them, and obey them until we have succeeded, or shall we transgress them at once? Men generally, under such a government as this, think that they ought to wait until they have persuaded the majority to alter them. They think that, if they should resist, the remedy would be worse than the evil. But it is the fault of the government itself that the remedy is worse than the evil. It makes it worse. Why is it not more apt to anticipate and provide for reform? Why does it not cherish its wise minority? Why does it cry and resist before it is hurt? Why does it not encourage its citizens to be on the alert to point out its faults, and do better than it would have them?”
― Henry David Thoreau
It is the law around here that if you own property in the parkland, you have to have a such and such size pond for fire fighting. There must be a government crime their some place.
You are a trouble maker. There is more to the story that you aern't telling. He was using the rainwater to water marijuana for a Mexican drug cartel. That's what my fiance told me. He knows all about that kind of stuff.
I like trouble makers by the way.
Haha, I have heard that one too many times!
Soon it will be the air that we breathe. It shows how little freedom we dispose as citizens! And how enslaved they want us to remain, any person that goes astray, will be put back on the right path, that is to say theirs. Pay for what you consume, even if it comes from mother nature! Corporative mind!
Forgot about that: the movie Chinatown about stealing water. Great movie.
"Jake Gittes: Why are you doing it? How much better can you eat? What could you buy that you can't already afford?
Noah Cross: The future, Mr. Gittes! The future.
Different strokes for different folks and all sorts of different communities have different laws. Cause célèbre. Both sides do it. Makes for great clichés.
We get enough twisting and distortion with so much of the media, that I am glad that we had the right wing sources sharing this story at all. Would we even know about it otherwise?
In general, it seems this government is about getting more and more people dependent on them, the government. Less self sufficiency, more dependency on being fed by the government, or becoming indebted to them some other way.
This guy seems very self sufficient, seems to be thinking ahead, building up 10 feet of earth to collect rain water or run off that comes from mother nature. He stocks it (his own money investment, and part of the American dream if he wishes, for now!), and has a water supply and fish in there. He is allowed to put boats on his property.
I agree, we need more details, and why the jury ruled the way they did. They are not lakes...they are ponds. We need to fight this, because it seems one of many tests of the American people, in my opinion. These well designed ponds on private property, don't seem to be stealing from public streams or rivers. We should all be able to do that, I would love to have my own fishing pond, even an acre sized! It would be a dream, my boys would love it!
Would you want to let out the water of your ponds and have the fish die, etc? We don't know all that was entailed, and I reserve judgement until I know more. Lets protect our rights, and stand up for the little guy other than the government that seems to be getting way to big for its britches, and not caring about the little American....
It sounds like a big government, making big decisions, and a guy on his own land can't keep what mother nature brings his way.....since when? What about when birds leave droppings on your land, and trees grow? That happens here! Are they not your trees, if on your property? If not, are they the governments? Why? Just because they can jail you if they want the tree?
Water is alarming, because its necessary to live, and I agree with the posters that touched on that. What is next, the oxygen in the air, or all of it? He is actually in jail....What was the crime again? Not letting his fish die from flopping around in mud? Who knows what he was thinking about....that was his own investment... Sounds like the government is flexing their muscles, and feeling threatened by someone like this guy, that stands up for his rights, to a government that wants what he has...one of the #1 ingredients for life..... VERY interesting, and we ought to keep up with this story.
Feels like more of the government flexing its muscles to see just how much American's will put up with. Water from the sky used to be free for whoever it fell on.........
We can collect water in rain barrels for now.... will we need permits soon? I don't do that, but man, people ought to be thinking ahead now. The guys pond water, would still be evaporating from there, like it could be from the next block over.....
I don't understand people in the Midwest. In Wisconsin they hate school teachers, and where you are, you are all worried about the government, like someone is doing stuff on purpose. Here where I live, we never did like Washington DC (dead city), or even Tallahassee. WE don't much care what they are up to, because we get along fine without them.
I suggest you find something to occupy your hands with, like good honest work instead of wasting your time popping off about something that isn't even real. If you tried to mess with someone from Fellsmere for collecting rain water, you would never get the man in the squad car afore the whole town drew down on you. I can't see any cops around here doing that in the first place. What burns my britches, is ya'll think we are the ones who are stupid. It looks the other way around from here. We aren't cry babies.
The problem with reporting only coming from one end of the spectrum is that partial coverage can be worse than no coverage at ao all. It presents things as facts that may not be true. The dozens of account all use the same source bar 1, which has more info. None provide primary information such as the content of the law, pictures of the ponds, or the reasons for the ruling.
I disagree, because only through being made aware in any fashion is better than lack of any information or information purposely quashed. We can find out for ourselves what is true and what isn't. The story itself was not so fantastic in nature to immediately assume bias.
I looked at the property and surrounding area from those satellite maps. There does not appear to be any obvious agricultural development in the area that would suggest that this gentleman was diverting water from. From the court documents, even officials can only suggest "water channels". One of the ponds was claimed to be 37 years old. There was video footage of a helicopter actually using the ponds to fight forest fires in the area along with what looked to be firetrucks filling up. The Land Owner's claim that these ponds are "in part" used for fire abatement is confirmed by firefighting equipment video tape evidence doing just that.
The landowner did in fact have permits to have these ponds but the permits were rescinded later on after he had made the latest ponds and/ including the already existing 37 year old pond- After that the courts decided to "change their mind" - and the Landowner continuously appealed and asked for review and has been buried by bureaucracy.
In my opinion this landowner wants his ponds. He received permits, he built them. They do not divert any running creek or stream. Water rights are tricky, but his argument is the terminology that he feels is over-encompassing as to what constitutes these water rights.
What I think the deal is that this landowner is making a statement. And the government officials are insulted that this landowner is "questioning their power". And in my opinion are using "bullying tactics" ie bury him in paperwork, refuse reviews or dismiss countless cases, etc. Both the bureaucrats or officials and the landowner are posting signs at each other. eg Do not trespass if you are a bureaucrat and remove these dams or else" (my words).
So here we are.
If the dams are taken down the fish in it will die, the water will never make it to any river and it will never be used (like in the video) for fighting forest fires. It will be just more Government waste and overstepping Government to get their way when faced with an ordinary citizen, who seems to be making a statement. Water is essential to life. I doubt any Judge or Jury would want us to withhold water from them for 36 hours. So it is important.
Hello? He was helping the Mexican cartel grow herb. They mounted a big bust, the growers got away clean, and all they could do was get the guy for illegally collecting water. One more good arguement for legalization of cultivation.
Drugs, drug cartels, gangs, rape, robbery murder. I think the taxpayers money is better spent on putting old men in jail for wanting to keep a 37 year old pond on his own property. If someone is burned alive by a forest fire, which happened 4 days ago near me, who cares.
Good point. See my previous comment. I was unable to find a report from what I would call a reliable source.
Good point. Media is so busy these days, that they borrow from each other all the time, assuming that somebody else checked the facts. Where did the story start? The event's been going on for 10 years, you say? There's some history there. Has he been to court before? Did they give him guidelines that he deliberately stepped beyond? How big are the dams, really? Are there any measurements of these "ponds"? Did he block access to firefighters? Why did he need three to boat and fish on (one person)? Something more is going on.
Here are some answers to my own questions:
http://www.mailtribune.com/apps/pbcs.dl … /208050318
It doesn't look like there's any marijuana involvement. My only question now has to do with the bottom of the ponds. If they're natural, that should be OK. If they're concrete, I can see what the government's point is. Water that sinks down into the aquafir is what feeds rivers and streams. If he has built concrete bottoms, he's preventing that from happening. When streams don't get fed, they run dry.
Thanks, watergeek, for pointing some of these things out before too many more people scream about "getting jailed for collecting rain water." It is possible the man in question isn't just collecting rain water if he's preventing some natural processes to occur at the same time. I can see where many more bits and pieces need to be examined here before I make any decisions as to how I will interpret this story/thread.
Go ahead and change the laws regarding marriage....watch it follow suit just like this....once the changes start to accomodate something other than the initial purpose then all bets are off as to where the changes end. It is just another step in the taking away of freedom and liberty and the domination by "big government"...the know all, see all, tell all of tomorrow. ~WB
Yeah, that's what this thread needed, throwing in a completely unrelated emotive issue.
What? You don't think marriage is related to 20 foot dams? How provocative of you! BTW why were 20 foot dams needed in the first place? Aren't dams built to block water flow of some sort? And don't we call water flow a "stream"? Hmmm.
Not that I'm taking sides here. Like everyone, I don't know many of the facts. Some of them just seem a little strange, is all.
BTW if farmers weren't so strongly trying to get rid of the bacterium that helps create rain, maybe there wouldn't be such a fear of someone collecting it.
Nature's Cloud Maker - Pseudomonas Syringae
We still have some ridiculous laws in the constitution, why should a state stray from the norm?
No wonder taxes have to be raised in municipalities to catch offenders like this guy.
by PrettyPanther8 months ago
I live in Oregon, so I have been closely following the occupation of the Malheur Refuge by "militants." Here is a detailed timeline: http://www.oregonlive.com/pacific-north … ne_of.htmlNone...
by TheSituation6 years ago
What do you all think about this one? Seems like some good fodder for my fellow hubbers.
by niall.tubbs6 years ago
I don't know anyone in America that doesn't support the freedom of religion. Why do you ask?
by Ralph Deeds5 years ago
Tea Party Montana Style--Nullification, Secession, and a Pistol in Every Pocket"With each new bill, newly elected tea party lawmakers are offering Montanans a vision of the future."Their state would be a place...
by dutchman19515 years ago
Should the Courts allow this? Why would a Foreign government be allowed to sue any US State? Have we already lost State rights? What the H... are we doing, even entertaining a idea like this for?
by My Esoteric23 months ago
... are trying to encourage those who fall in the Medicaid gap they created to move out of their State? Hospitals in those States are reporting increased unpaid (meaning you paid) emergency room visits from this...
Copyright © 2016 HubPages Inc. and respective owners.
Other product and company names shown may be trademarks of their respective owners.
HubPages® is a registered Service Mark of HubPages, Inc.
HubPages and Hubbers (authors) may earn revenue on this page based on affiliate relationships and advertisements with partners including Amazon, Google, and others.