PORTLAND, Oregon — A new low against individual and homeowner rights was reached when a Jackson County man was sentenced for illegal water diversion and ordered to breach his dams.
Gary Harrington has been filling ponds on his own property for a good while. For this he has been sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined $1,500.
State Water Resources Department officials say Harrington has three dams across channels that cross his property outside of Medford and feed into Big Butte Creek. The creek is a tributary of the Rogue River.
Two of the dams stand about 10 feet high and the third is about 20 feet tall. Harrington stocked the reservoirs that formed behind the dams with trout and bluegill, built boat docks and used the ponds for fishing.
Oregon State has decided it is illegal to divert and store such water, even if it has been stored on your own property but without a paid state without a permit.