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30 Days in Jail for Collecting Government-Owned Rainwater

Written by Gary North on July 31, 2012

A resident of Oregon blatantly collected rainwater in his governmnent-authorized ponds. For this, he was sentened to 30 days in jail and fined $1,500. He must also pay to remove the ponds.

The media are all over this one. This is a great human interest news story.

What has received little attention is the fact that this law has been on the books since 1925. It’s a city law. This is not a case of government out of control. This is a case of voters whose great-great grandparents put government in control.

“The government is bullying,” the convicted criminal said. Yes, it is. What else is new?

“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. So, 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.

This is as optimistic today as it would have been in 1925. And just as naive, politically speaking.

Harrington has resisted this since 2002. The man has stamina.

In Oregon, all water is publicly owned. This has been true since 1925. So, water users must apply for a permit from state water managers.

Harrington says he applied. One of the ponds had been on his property for 37 years. (It is not clear if this was 347 years in 2002 or 37 years in 2012.)

The state Water Resources Department initially approved his permits in 2003. But later a state court reversed this.

“They issued me my permits. I had my permits in hand and they retracted them just arbitrarily, basically. They took them back and said ‘No, you can’t have them,’ so I’ve been fighting it ever since.”

He bases his case on this: the 1925 law does not mention rainwater or snow melt. It referred to streams.

An Oregon official says it’s not the 1925 law that is at stake here. It’s the state law governing streams.

Yet Paul admitted the 1925 law does apply because, he said, Harrington constructed dams to block a tributary to the Big Butte, which Medford uses for its water supply.

Harrington pleaded guilty before. That’s why he is in trouble now.

The moral of the story is unclear, other than this: bog government in the USA did not begin with the New Deal. It began a lot earlier.

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30 thoughts on “30 Days in Jail for Collecting Government-Owned Rainwater

  1. GUSTAPO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  2. Another unconstitutional expost facto law that is being used to hurt the American people. Just like the O'Bama administration putting into place a tax that took money from people that they had earned period to the taxes existence. The US Constitution specifically prohibits expost tacto laws: laws put into place can only apply to future events, not existing circumstances. Which means, the law can't just go after a specific person for legal remedy when it was not in effect at the time of the event. Otherwise, no one would be save before the bench of justice. Any law can only be in effect for future events after the law is written. Prior actions are not terminable. This man has an expost faxto case.

  3. since when can the government own rain water some liberal bu–sh– rain is an act of god anti god people just save your breath as i don't care for mouth

  4. Sorry, that was earned prior to the law's existence. . . on the second line

  5. sorry forgot your

  6. If they decide they own rain water in your yard then they can start taxing you for the air you breathe.What America is this?

  7. And WHEN did big government begin?

    " Constitutionalists, Libertarians, and even Republicans are often heard discussing the idea that limited government was an objective of the framers. It is true that government was much more limited in the late 1700s than it is today. But do not believe for a minute that the Constitution provided us with limited government, even in the late 1700s. A government consisting of a president, vice president, House of Representatives, Senate, and judiciary can hardly be described as limited. When the framers threw away America’s Christian theocracy in exchange for the United States’ secular theocracy, they also cast aside limited government.

    "With some rare exceptions, Yahweh’s government consists of only one King and Legislator – Yahweh – and a judiciary to litigate His commandments and statutes and enforce His judgments. That is limited government. Yahweh’s government has no need for a president and his cabinet, no need for the House of Representatives or the Senate and their glutted bureaucracy, no need for a prison complex, no need for a parasitical welfare system, no need for the Federal Reserve, no need for the Internal Revenue Service, and no need for a tax-subsidized standing army. Constitutionalists want to abolish nearly everything enumerated here, but they would have us “return” to the very document that permitted these excesses and robbed us of a truly limited government."

    For more, see Chapter 4 "Article 1: Legislative Usurpation" of "Bible Law vs. The United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective." Click on my name to get to our website, click on our Online Book page, click on top entry, and scroll down to Chapter 4.

  8. AD Roberts says:

    From the start, the desire for control was the FIRST SIN. Now, we are finding out that our government is full of bureaucrats who are determined to control ALL of our lives. They are no longer serving the citizens. They are acting like the elite.

    It is time to get rid of ANY of these tyrants.

  9. Jerri Lynn Ward says:

    If he fills in the ponds, will the Feds come after him for disturbing wetlands?

  10. It's time to tote up all the governmental jurisdictions you fit into and start cleaning them out of bad laws like this. We've got a long way to go. You can't even get a comprehensive list of all the governments in the USA. Nobody compiles one (I'm working on putting one together).

    On the Internet you should be able to type in your address and get a list. Today, you can't. Once the list of governments is compiled, we need to get all their rules and regulations online so that the look and workalikes can be identified and everybody burdened by the same law passed in different jurisdictions can band together to fight against them all and share resources, tools, and strategies.

    With all the "pro-freedom" and "constitutionalist" groups out there, isn't it astonishing that in 2012 we don't have the basic tools we need to go in to the thicket of laws and start tearing out the bad ones? I'm trying to fix it and I can't believe it.

  11. Bill in NC says:

    Other articles indicate he diverted existing streams of running water – a big NO NO west of the Mississippi.

    Yes, generally you don't own surface water running through your property out west – someone else already has the rights.

  12. DieHardPatriot says:

    When you look at 'When did Big Begin"? In the "Farewell Address" by George Washington…..Americans did not heed his warning as to what would happen if from that time and down through the years they didn't keep their eyes on the Parties. If you haven't read it do a search and you will see what I mean along with much other advice Washington foretold….and that is why we have the Bulling Government we have today along with other ills the major parties have done to eradicate the U.S. Constitution and keep us in almost perpetual wars. War is a racket.,..a money maker for the bankers and other elites.

  13. DieHard, thank you for your input. I'm familiar with Washington's farewell address. However, most of today's patriots are not familiar with the real Washington or the other key players in the Constitutional Convention. I highly recommend Gary North's book "Conspiracy in Philadelphia: The Broken Covenant of the U.S. Constitution." Following is a portion I quote in my book "Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution: The Christian Perspective":

    " Washington had served as Grand Master [actually Worshipful Master7] of the Alexandria [Virginia] lodge in 1788 and 1789. When he was inaugurated President of the U.S., he was therefore a Grand [Worshipful] Master, the only Mason to be inaugurated President while serving as a Grand [Worshipful] Master….

    "As President, he … never wavered in his attachment to Masonry. …Washington wrote: 'Being persuaded that a just application of the principles, on which the Masonic Fraternity is founded, must be promotive of private virtue and public prosperity, I shall always be happy to advance the interests of the Society, and to be considered by them as a deserving brother.'….

    "John Eidsmoe, in his book-length attempt to defend the Constitution as a Christian document, takes seriously Washington’s outright lie – it can be nothing else – in a letter to G.W. Snyder in 1798, that he had not been in a Masonic lodge 'more than once or twice in the last thirty years.' One does not become the Grand [Worshipful] Master of a lodge by attending services once or twice over thirty years, but one can certainly fool two centuries of Christian critics by lying through one’s wooden teeth about it." (Gary North, "Conspiracy in Philadelphia: The Broken Covenant of the U.S. Constitution," (Draper, VA: Nicene Council.com, 2004) pp. 160-168)

    Excerpted from Chapter 4 "Article One: Legislative Usurpation" of "Bible Law vs. the United States Constitution."

  14. Living near Portlandia, I can attest that nothing is too weird for Oregon. This nonsense makes perfect sense in an Oregon way…a stupid controversy in a State that refuses to balance its budget and is broke, bankrupt, spending tax-payer money to argue over rainwater accumulated on private property…how Oregonian.
    In Portlandia, there are the "Zoo-bombers", riding their bikes half-drunk or more at midnight down the freeway from the top of the hill at the Zoo, attempting to navigate the sharp curve through the tunnel at the bottom of the hill. There is the officially recognized day in Portlandia called "Ride Your Bike To Work Nude Day"; Portland is an European city: gaga over bicycles. It chased out the semi-pro baseball team and now lovingly embraces soccer; crime on the public transit train is common, as are the protestors and the panhandlers who wear the weirdest clothes… I always feel when I visit Portland that I have landed in a Walmartian colony…

  15. thus the bumper stickers “Keep Portland Wierd”. I remembe,r not too long ago, when folks could just get on their bikes and ride them, no need to be “cool” or “wierd” about it. Riding was the object, not role playing.

    I have to admit, zoo bombing DOES seem like fun….. that is some hill. I’ve come screaming down burnside from the West Hills on my bike…. hit fifty miles an hour on a few stretches when traffic allows…. that’s faster than traffic normally goes. One time, some clown pulled out making a left turn onto Burnside in front of me…. I guess he didn’t think I was moving. He failed to yield right of way to me… putting me in danger. I simply pulled out and passed him, hollered at him through his open driver’s window. The look on his face……. I think he realised then he’d blown it. I beat him to the bottom by a good half mile, making the signal. He didn’t.

  16. But the article states he is mainly in trouble because he built a dam to divert water from a tributary to the water source the city uses. He sounds like he is the problem, not the government. Of course, all the other examples above re. not balancing the budget, not cracking down on crime, letting people ride their bikes nekid, are all unacceptable.

  17. Oregon is an Eco-Tryrannical Fascist Marxist Democrat party run state and it is run by marxist/Leninists secular pagans who are marginally sane. The only thing done right in recent years is the TRI-MAX. These Oregon government bureaucrats think more like Twentieth Century SS Gestapo type of people. The state also has state sanctioned murder. the life of animals, insects, snails, fish have more protection than human beings who are created in God's own image of course they don't believe that for a nano-second. Which is why these people think like they do.

  18. My thoughts, also. God owns the rain water, not the government and He gave us water from rain, snow, etc. for our benefit, not government "regulations". How stupid, ignorant and abominable to take away the "water" that fell on his own property. Next, I guess they will claim artesian wells on ones own property belong to the "government".

  19. A great book on how the communists have taken over our institutions – churches, schools, businesses, government, Military and now our court system is

    – The Naked Truth: The Naked Communist – Revisited
    by James C. Bowers

    He discusses how W. Cleon Skousen ( author of the 5000 Year Leap ) was an FBI agent for 16 years and was concerned about the implementation of what he felt were the top 45 stated goals of the communists at that time. You will be shocked how successfully their plans have been completed. A MUST READ book for any freedom loving American. Please pass on to others when done reading – SPREAD THE WORD

    Also – A MUST SEE – We were warned – watch the youtube video of Yuri Bezmenov, from the 80's with G. Edward Griffin ( Jekyll Island author ). A Soviet KGB defector, he tells how it was his job to infiltrate these institutions and place communist supporters in positions of leadership and power. He was successful in doing so. Mind boggling stuff.

  20. That law was created when it was necessary. Rogue ranchers cut off the water from all ranchervs downstream forcing other ranchers out of business and then stole their land. These were the same type that later decided that government was the way to control everything to their advantage. Now our government is full of them; on steroids. Did you know that the second paragraph of our Declaration of Independence leaves us an out. We can dissolve the Federal Government.

  21. But I would rather wait until Jesus comes and watch them try to hide under the rocks. The only reason it works at all is because there are still some men like DeMint and Issa.

  22. doris not too loud, you do realize we are talking about liberals here dont you they do believe they are god

  23. Jest leave it to our Government they will tell you it is OK they will even put it in writing and then they will change there minds and they are the only people that will make it official by recording it and then they will stop you and put you in prison for doing it and they will fine you. Our Government that does belong to We there People will do whatever it wants when it wants and as business as usual they take what you have away from you and ultimately what you have will now be theres. I don't mean the Government I mean the ones that We the People elected to represent all of us they will take what we have at anytime and if the ones we elected wants it they will own it for very little money if they pay anything. Under Barrack Obama this is going to happen more frequently and the property that was ours what We the People paid for will now belong to the Government unless Barrack Obama wants it personally or one of the Ellette that he chooses it will become his or hers. Private property will be only private when the Government says it is private and that means it will belong to the person of Obama's choice.

  24. Abraham Obama says:

    Sorry but ObamaCare is about taxing you for the air you breath. If you are alive Obama wants you to pay for it.

  25. Abraham Obama says:

    Wow how many ways can you spell "Ex Post Facto" Latin for (after the fact).

  26. If everyone connected to this case against this man were to start being found dead and with notes pinned to them saying this is what happens to everyone who scr*ws with me and cover his teacks well cases like this would soon go away!
    In this case and any like it the wrong people are being fined and jailed!Rain water comes from God not government
    AS* H*LES!

  27. Infidel48 says:

    In AZ the state owns all the water also, but Arizona is mostly desert and they wanted to stop people from killing each other over water. Makes sense to me. But in western Oregon it rains, what, 364 days a year

  28. Infidel48 says:

    South Carolina tried that and the Worst President in American History, Abe Lincoln, started the Civil War in order to give us a Huge Federal Beaurocracy and Abolish States Rights. John Wilkes Booth was NOT a bad or crazy man. He just did what needed to be done for States Rights

  29. Spokane WA 3rd Leg Dist – (my votes)

    Michael Baumgartner……U.S. Senator
    Cathy McMorris-Rogers…U.S. Rep Dist 5
    Shahram Hadian…………..Governor
    Brad Owen………………….Lt Gov
    Sharon Hanek……………..State Treasurer
    Karen Murray………………Sec of State
    James Watkins…………….State Aud
    Stephen Pidgeon…………A.G.
    Clint Didier…………………Comm of Pub Lands
    Ron Higgins………………..Super of Pub Inst
    Scott Reilly…………………Insurance Comm
    Nancy McLaughlin……….State Senator
    Tim Benn…………………..State Rep Pos 1
    Dave White……………….State Rep Pos 2
    Scott Stafne………………Supreme Court Justice Pos 2
    Bruce Danielson…………Supreme Court Justice Pos 8
    Richard Sanders…………Supreme Court Justice Pos 9

  30. For consistancy, I would expect the Oregonian government to start sending out massive police sweeps to ticket and fine all the greenies that have put out rain barrels and are impeding the flow without a permit. And they should also be fining all of the home supply stores and hardware stores that are contributing materials that allow this gross interuption of the people's water. May be time to make sure that everyone has a license for any 50 gallon drum.