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Man Sentenced to 30 Days for Catching Rain Water on Own Property

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Gary Harrington, the Oregon man convicted of collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his rural property surrendered Wednesday morning to begin serving his 30-day, jail sentence in Medford, Ore.

“I’m sacrificing my liberty so we can stand up as a country and stand for our liberty,” Harrington told a small crowd of people gathered outside of the Jackson County (Ore.) Jail.

Several people held signs that showed support for Harrington as he was taken inside the jail.

Harrington was found guilty two weeks ago of breaking a 1925 law for having, what state water managers called “three illegal reservoirs” on his property. He was convicted of nine misdemeanors, sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined over $1500 for collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his property.

The Oregon Water Resources Department, claims that Harrington has been violating the state’s water use law by diverting water from streams running into the Big Butte River.

But Harrington says he is not diverting the state's water -- merely collecting rainwater and snow melt that falls or flows on his own property.

Harrington has vowed to continue to fight the penalty, stating that the government has become “big bullies” and that “from here on in, I’m going to fight it.”

“They’ve just gotten to be big bullies and if you just lay over and die and give up, that just makes them bigger bullies, Harrington said in an interview two weeks ago with CNSNews.com.

"We as Americans, we need to stand on our constitutional rights, on our rights as citizens and hang tough. This is a good country, we’ll prevail,” he said.

His release is expected in early September.

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I carry a gun because a cop is too heavy.

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Nothing new.


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His release is expected in early September.

And I am hoping for NOA2 by early September :devil:


Sent I-129 Application to VSC 2/1/12
NOA1 2/8/12
RFE 8/2/12
RFE reply 8/3/12
NOA2 8/16/12
NVC received 8/27/12
NVC left 8/29/12
Manila Embassy received 9/5/12
Visa appointment & approval 9/7/12
Arrived in US 10/5/2012
Married 11/24/2012
AOS application sent 12/19/12

AOS approved 8/24/13

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What a dumb law.....

and here's a legit news source - http://www.kdrv.com/water-misuse-sentence-begins/ - on it in case anyone is "OMG CNSnews wtfuxors!"


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The Oregon Water Resources Department, claims that Harrington has been violating the state’s water use law by diverting water from streams running into the Big Butte River.

But Harrington says he is not diverting the state's water -- merely collecting rainwater and snow melt that falls or flows on his own property.

How was he collecting the water? If he collected it from his roof it would be one thing, but was he diverting streams?

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As per article he had not created any dam to divert an existing river to his property but he was collecting the run off from his property into reservoirs.

It isn't clear what this means though. If the stream goes through his property, he can't divert the water from the stream leaving no water for the stream... That is obvious...

Edited by rocks

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How was he collecting the water? If he collected it from his roof it would be one thing, but was he diverting streams?

In this case it may be immaterial. As always, there is more to the story than just a spin....

According to Oregon law, all water, including rain water and snow melt, are public. Anyone wanting to collect it for personal use must have a water rights permit. Harrington cannot get that permit because the water in his ponds would go to Big Butte Creek.

The Oregon Water Resources Department says, according to a 1920s state law, water rights to Big Butte Creek can only be granted to the city of Medford, but Harrington and his supporters believe his right is being taken away. More than fifty supporters gathered in front of the Jackson County Jail, supporting Harrington, and what they believe is a constitutional right.


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In this case it may be immaterial. As always, there is more to the story than just a spin....

According to Oregon law, all water, including rain water and snow melt, are public. Anyone wanting to collect it for personal use must have a water rights permit. Harrington cannot get that permit because the water in his ponds would go to Big Butte Creek.

The Oregon Water Resources Department says, according to a 1920s state law, water rights to Big Butte Creek can only be granted to the city of Medford, but Harrington and his supporters believe his right is being taken away. More than fifty supporters gathered in front of the Jackson County Jail, supporting Harrington, and what they believe is a constitutional right.

Including water from your own roof? Interesting.

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It isn't clear what this means though. If the stream goes through his property, he can't divert the water from the stream leaving no water for the stream... That is obvious...

He cannot dry out the downstream thats fair enough.... but putting somone in jail for 30 days and punishing him with penalty.

Thats just insane...

Even if he had reserviors... how much water was he storing in there is another question?

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He cannot dry out the downstream thats fair enough.... but putting somone in jail for 30 days and punishing him with penalty.

Thats just insane...

Even if he had reserviors... how much water was he storing in there is another question?

What happened to the free market??????????? This country was founded on the free market!! It's right there in the Constitution. I assume you can read.

If the water downstream is valuable, someone will pay him for it! That's how it should work.

This is coercion. This smacks of Mao and Lenin. Is this still America or are we in the midst of the second Cultural Revolution?

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Including water from your own roof? Interesting.

The presumption, and the town apparently was able to prove it, is that rain water and melt snow run offs are sources of replenishment to the river.

Just to make sure. The law is clear. It may not be right or even make sense, but it was enacted and since it was never repealed, it still stands...


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