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Harrington, of Eagle Point, Oregon, has been fighting for his right to do what he wishes with water since 2002. Now more than a decade after he first defended himself over allegations that the man-made ponds on his 170 acres of land violated local law, Harrington has been sentenced to 30 days behind bars and fined over $1,500.



Authorities say that Harrington broke the law by collecting natural rain water and snow runoff that landed on his property. Officials with the Medford Water Commission contested that the water on Harrington’s property, whether or not it came from the sky, was considered a tributary of nearby Crowfoot Creek and thus subject to a 1925 law that gives the MWC full ownership and rights. Therefore prosecutors were able to argue in court — successfully — that three homemade fishing and boating ponds in Harrington’s backyard violated the law.
For filling “three illegal reservoirs” on his property with runoff water, Harrington has been convicted on nine misdemeanor charges in Circuit Court. He says he will attempt to appeal, but as long as the conviction stands to serve 30 days of imprisonment. He has also been sentenced to an additional three years of probation.
Thirty days in jail for catching rainwater?” Harrington tells the Mail Tribune. “We live in an extreme wildfire area and here the government is going to open the valves and really waste all the water right now, at the start of peak fire season.”

“When it comes to the point where a rural landowner can’t catch rainwater that falls on his land to protect his property, it’s gone too far,” he adds to the Associated Press. “This should serve as a dire warning to all pond owners.”

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  1. That's just obsurd

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  2. This is such insanity that it defies belief, what can we do to help this guy out? Does anybody have address of the judge, prosecutor etc?

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    1. http://www.cityofeaglepoint.org/index.aspx?nid=114
      17 S Buchanan Ave Eagle Point, OR 97524
      (541) 826-2801

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  3. This is actually the 3rd or 4th time they have jailed him for this. He is a 70+year old man, and the last time, they made him spend the whole sentence in solitary confinement, while people with a year long sentence were released after a few days. I hope he sues and bankrupts Medford.

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    1. i hope he does also,its crazy

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  4. Okay! Time to replace these idiots with folks that have common sense.!

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    1. Good luck finding a politician or prosecuter, really any attorney for the government, with common sense. After all isn't that the problem we're having in Washington DC right now anyway? This is absolute nonsense and I agree with the person that say they hope he sues them and bankrupts the city. The only problem with that is it is an actual law so I imagine the only way to fight this issue is by changing the law.

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  5. Does anyone have the link to the law? I'd like to read it.

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  6. And the award goes to this county for the most stupid court decision ever made, what kinda flakes do you folks have in office, they are indeed the biggest joke in the whole western civilization, WOW!

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  7. Well everyone with swimming pools better take them down because they collect rain water this government is so fucked up.

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  8. And I had thought Oregon was a progressive State.

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    1. Do you mean "progressive," as in "liberal democrat," or as in "forward thinking?" I know Oregon is a liberal state politically, but I've never heard of anyone accusing them of being "forward thinking."

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    2. That's the problem with progressives they impose their beliefs on you. Why because they know what is best for the common good than you do.

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    3. Yep bogie7129 you're right about that. Forward thinking they're not.

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  9. OMG, are you joking, with all the people committing crimes that are way more serious. Who would of ever known that a silly thing like collecting rain water was breaking the law. Some people just have way toooo much power.

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  10. If I were him and could afford it, I would drill a well, then sue the MWC, tell them to keep THEIR WATER off my property and make them pay storage if they didn't. Makes about as much sense as the law!

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  11. his property is a large portion of the catchment....and his "ponds" aren't small.......it might seem small and niggly but the size of his "ponds" and the nature of the catchment it impacts the amount of water available for wildlife and primary industry who have permits and laws protecting them......I am pretty sure he could continue with what he does if he reduced the size of his ponds and had applied for a permit but instead proceeded to fight them on it.....think you will find his title doesn't give him rights to the water catchment.....just as not all titles entitle a person to mineral rights on the land.

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    1. Private ownership of property in this nation is and has always been the economic engine that drives our entire economy. In old England, the crown owned all the land and the people were serfs with no rights. That is how we differ from them. However, the elitists in power want to eliminate our right to own property, therefore, they are doing whatever they can to that end (think: Agenda 21 and ICLEI.) Placing niggardly restrictions on a landowner, telling him what he can or can not do with his own property, is another right taken away. It should not matter what size his ponds are because whatever rain lands on his property should be his and his alone. Giving a monopoly to the MWC is tantamount to government ownership of what used to be private property and their way of making us serfs again. He is right to fight them on this, as we all should if/when something like this happens to us. STAND UP AND FIGHT! God gave us unalienable rights, including the right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Government interference on what water lands on his property is a usurpation of that God-given right. Because it is God-given, neither man nor government has any right to encroach on it.

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    2. Why should a person have to get a permit for rain water. That is just ridiculous. Next they are going to start fining people for the air they breath.

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  12. People don't really realize how serious things have gotten. When you read these stories, it sounds ridiculous, and people think that these are isolated incidents that can't happen to them. I myself, just served 3yrs in prison for a DUI that I did not commit. I was even acquitted of the Driving While License Revoked charge that accompanied it, by a jury of 12, therefore proving that I did not even drive the vehicle! "It's a huge mistake, so don't worry, they will fix it on Appeal!", I was told, but on appeal, the State lied and added in extra "evidence" that wasn't presented at trial, etc., etc.. I have been undergoing NUMEROUS appeals, that still are not resolved, and after 3yrs in prison, 3 months on house arrest, and I am currently on 2yrs of parole for this, I am murderously angry at a system that has broken my life completely unjustly! (Please note; that the reason they sentenced me so harshly was apparently because I had 2 misdemeanor DUIs 20yrs ago that happened back when it was only a traffic offense, not a felony)There is no justice anymore! While I am not a saint, I do happen to be a normal, working class, blue collar, productive member of society. People can never understand what prison did to me, and the ways it changed me for the worse! These things are happening people! This is not a joke, or just a side note! I pray that this doesn't happen to anybody else!

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    1. Pete you are absolutely right! These things may appear to isolated but they are quite intentional. They are test programs to see how the masses respond. Just like marshal law during catrina when they went door to door even in the high land areas that were not effected by rising water from the cough cough dam and levies breaking. This was also a test program to see how the masses reacted. That's why we "all" have to be vigilant and peacefully fight these encroachments on our rights.

      Do YOU have any recourse for a civil suit against the municipality that obviously broke the law by incarcerating you illegally? They ruined your life what can you do to regain your life?

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  13. 17 S Buchanan Ave Eagle Point, OR 97524
    (541) 826-2801

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    1. troll them it will work gogogoogogogogogogogo help this man

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  14. i think they should fire the ass holes get rid of the law those as holes just want to charge for the water that does not belong to them. that is are dum city county and fed and state at work

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  15. seems to me this should be ethe judge that his wife poisoned to death, what is wrong with all these idiots that are the law

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  16. Why not recall the judge and prosecutor in this case?

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