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  • When It Rains in Oregon, the State Owns the Raindrops

    Who owns the rain? That sounds like a silly question, but the answer may surprise you. If you live in Oregon, Oregon does.

    So what does that mean in practice? Well, if you live in Oregon and dig a pond on your own property without a license, and the pond fills with rain water, the state now owns that water. Oh, and apparently you can go to jail if you decide to keep it.

    An Oregon man was recently convicted, fined $1,500, and sentenced to 30 days in jail for illegally storing rain water on his property. Gary Harrington is going to spend time in jail because he dug three ponds on his property that were capturing rain water and snow runoff that the state of Oregon says would otherwise go somewhere else. (Did you notice how specific the alleged damages are?)

    If you are reading this in Oregon next to your rain barrel worrying that you may be a criminal, fear not! Oregon graciously allows Oregonians to collect water from artificial impervious surfaces (rooftops, parking lots, etc.) and feed it directly into rain barrels. You’re probably thinking, “The benevolence is overwhelming.” (Not to mention the fact that Oregon lets people keep the fallen rain when it lands on their lawns and gardens.)

    But if that water touches the ground, it is the property of the state of Oregon, and you cannot collect it without a permit. Since Oregon owns it, using it without permission would be a form of stealing.

    Harrington has even attempted to get permits in the past for his ponds in order to reimburse the state for the rain they have so graciously allowed to fall on his property. The state initially granted the permits but then immediately revoked them and has ordered Harrington to drain his ponds.

    The idea that the state owns the rain is ridiculous. The fact that the state enforces their “ownership rights” through criminal prosecutions is, if possible, more absurd. Is this a proper use of state resources? A proper allocation of time for the prosecutors? What about the resources they will be using by being in prison for 30 days? What about the money Harrington would otherwise be earning and paying taxes on?

    This is a drain on society that needs to be “rained” in.

    Posted in Legal [slideshow_deploy]

    17 Responses to When It Rains in Oregon, the State Owns the Raindrops

    1. RFinVA says:

      Oregon is a case study in the progressive control of every environment and people don't really count except to pay taxes

    2. Linda says:

      If rainwater lands on your lawn, that's A-Ok, but if it lands in a hole/depression/crater/pond/etc on your property, that's not ok? But If it goes into an artificial surface into an artificial container, that's hunky-dorey? Say what?

      Pond collected rainwater would go elsewhere? And Oregon knows this how, exactly?

      Where, precisely, does Oregon say said rainwater would go? Where exactly does Oregon want it to go? The storm drain? A river?

      Batshit craziness.

    3. Fred says:

      According to the 5th Bill of Rights, if the State takes the rain from a property owner, the State owes the property owner just compensation for that which is taken… Or just let the property owner keep the rain, and if they don't want it, and the property owner doesn't agreements with neighbors (or others) for the deposition of the rain water, it's the States to claim.

      Next thing gubermint is going to claim is they have a right to the oxygen in the air we breath… And C02 we exhaie…

    4. Jen B. says:

      That's crazy! Never heard anything so ridiculous.

    5. Leon Lundquist says:

      I am old enough to remember the stories that came endlessly out of the old Soviet Union. It was exactly this kind of unbelievable crap that we heard went on behind the Iron Curtain. Crazy things! Well! The leopard doesn't change his spots, the Liberals are doing Totalitarian things. No matter how crazy the Soviet policies seemed, the State won out against common sense. These stories are getting more common in America and they are getting worse. People are Overcriminalized, prison and unreasonable fines. This has all happened before a hundred years ago. The same kind of unbelievable stuff. Just reporting them didn't stop it. We simply have to Prosecute Traitors. They won't stop unless they are Prosecuted for their violations of the Constitution. They really don't care what the truth is! They don't care what the voters think! Democrats support the Domestic Enemy without knowing. They don't want to know!

    6. Bobbie says:

      what the heck happened to the strength in leadership respects to this country and her people!? Clear the obstacles and get the monkeys off the backs. How dare the treatment of people in this country drop down to 3rd level!!

    7. viking says:

      Oregon also passed a law several years ago which mandates owners of private wells to install monitoring devices to measure how much water (from that private well) the OWNER is using.
      The clause was buried in the bill. The people didn't know until the last days of the election and then it was too late.
      The lemmings of Oregon still voted for it!

      Oregon and Washington are so screwed up and they're both run by the most liberal of democrats.
      In both states the major population centers are in the western part; more conservatives live in the east but there are not enough people to offer anything but minimal objections.

      Where did the pioneers go wrong?

    8. SuzeTX says:

      Welcome to the wonderful NWO, U.N./Agenda 21.

    9. Frenchy says:

      So if your house is flooded by the rain the state must paid the damages because they are the owner of the rain water and it touch the ground, and they were not able to control they property, like a car or tuck maybe a bridge or dams
      Put your rain water were your mouth is.

    10. red says:

      Is this about rain, or about the 3 ponds? Farmers have to pay attention to a lot of rules regarding drainage, tiling, fertilizers, etc.

    11. Frenchy says:

      So if your house is flooded by the rain the state must pay the damages because they are the owner of the rain water and it touch the ground, and they were not able to control they property, like a car or tuck maybe a bridge or dams

    12. Bradley says:

      Oregon's Rain Huh? Then keep it the heck off my property. Isn't that trespassing?

      The State of Oregon owes this guy for all "their" rain that fell on his property – retroactive

    13. COE_Feenis says:

      Is it govt t to blame here, or those lobbying govt to create laws for access to this water? Think this one through to the real motivations and interets behind such arcanley stupid laws,,,private enterprise is not blamless…

    14. Yone' Ward says:

      So, if the State of Oregon owns the rain, should they no be held liable for any damages the rain does?

    15. oregon homesteader says:

      this law has been in place since 1925, people! that's right ***1925***
      and it's based on not allowing water to drain naturally, thereby preventing water from going downstream to neighbors or streams, damaging ecosystems, etc. and it was actually *runoff* for a nearby creek. not just rain that hit the ground on his property. he created illegal reservoirs in a dry area, thus reducing the tributary, which he had never had permits for.

    16. oregon homesteader says:

      it's really not a difficult concept to grasp. http://cms.oregon.gov/owrd/pages/pubs/aquabook_la

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