Oregon man in Possession of 13 Million Gallons of Illicit Rainwater Sentenced to Jail

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An Oregon resident with 3 massive man-made ponds on his property is sentenced to 30 days in jail after being found guilty (again) of collecting rainwater without a permit.

Oregon man in Possession of 13 Million Gallons of Illicit Rainwater Sentenced to Jail

I’ve taken a look at some mighty impressive rainwater collection systems in the past, but it appears that Gary Harrington, 64, takes the proverbial cake when it comes to hoarder-esque rainwater collection activities: over the years, the Oregon resident has built three massive reservoirs — in actuality, they’re more like proper man-made ponds — on his 170-acre property on Crowfoot Road in rural Eagle Point that hold roughly 13 million gallons of rainwater and snow runoff. That’s enough agua to fill about 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools.
Of course, it boggles the mind as to what a single man needs that much rainwater for. One would assume that Harrington is reusing it both for irrigation purposes and for non-potable indoor use as well, which, unlike in many states, is permitted in Oregon. But 13 million gallons? Apparently Harrington, who has stocked at least one of the  reservoirs with large-mouth bass and built docks around it, believes that his watery stash is a much-needed necessity when wildfires pop up in the area. “The fish and the docks are icing on the cake,” Harrington tells the Medford Mail Tribune. “It’s totally committed to fire suppression.”
The bigger story here is that rainwater collection is indeed kosher in Oregon, provided that you’re capturing it from an artificial, impervious surface such as a rooftop with the assistance of rainwater barrels. But an extensive reservoir set-up complete with 10- and 20-foot-tall dams is verboten without the proper, state-issued water-right permits — after all, Oregon law dictates that water is a publicly owned resource — and Harrington did not possess said permits.


And so, after a protracted battle with Oregon’s Water Resources Department, Harrington was convicted of nine misdemeanors and sentenced to 30 days in jail, slapped with a $1,500 fine, and ordered to breach his dams and drain his ponds. After the sentencing in late July, Harrington surrendered himself to authorities late last week and began his stint at the Jackson County Jail.
Apparently, once upon a time, the state did indeed allow Harrington — code name: “Rain Man” — to collect water in his reservoirs. However, officials reversed their decision the same year, 2003, that the three permits were issued, citing a 1925 law that states the city of Medford holds all exclusive rights to “core sources of water” in the Big Butte Creek watershed and its tributaries.
Despite withdrawal of the permits, Harrington kept on defiantly collectin’ under the belief that the laws did not apply to his situation, adamant that the water was coming strictly from rain and snow melt and not from tributaries flowing into the Big Butte River as officials had claimed. Harrington tells CNSNews.com: “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.”


It gets even more messy with accusations of water diversion and a three-year bench probation issued against Harringon in 2007. In that case, Harrington plead guilty and agreed to open up the gates of his reservoirs only to close them back up again shortly thereafter.
Oregon Water Resources Department Deputy Director Tom Paul tells the Medford Mail Tribune: “Mr. Harrington has operated these three reservoirs in flagrant violation of Oregon law for more than a decade. What we’re after is compliance with Oregon water law, regardless of what the public thinks of Mr. Harrington.”

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Paul elaborates to CNSNews.com:
A very short period of time following the expiration of his probation, he once again closed the gates and re-filled the reservoirs. So, this has been going on for some time and I think frankly the court felt that Mr. Harrington was not getting the message and decided that they’d already given him probation once and required him to open the gates and he refilled his reservoirs and it was business as usual for him, so I think the court wanted — it felt it needed — to give a stiffer penalty to get Mr. Harrington’s attention.
Lots more on this unusual and dramatic, err, rainstorm of a case — a case that’s morphed into a battle not so much over rainwater and reservoirs, but over property rights and government bullying — at the Medford Mail Tribune and  CNSNews. You can also hear Harrington’s side of the case via a series of videos featuring legal advisor Dominic Notter and donate to his “get out of jail fund” over at www.empoweringthejury.com if you feel so inclined. The alleged wet bandit tells CNSNews.com: “When something is wrong, you just, as an American citizen, you have to put your foot down and say, ‘This is wrong; you just can’t take away anymore of my rights and from here on in, I’m going to fight it.”
Is Harrington deserved of his folk hero status? Or is he a straight-out theft? Lots of opinions on this one … what’s yours?

12 Responses

  1. rich says:

    The Oregon government has been foreclosed. They just don’t know it yet. Now, their representatives are under unlimited personal responsibility and could lose all their possessions if they persist. They need to be reminded of that fact. Look up “The One People’s Public Trust”.

  2. rich says:

    HIS property. HIS water. Any questions?

  3. Archie1954 says:

    After hearing many stories of unfair court cases such as this one, it makes me wonder if the possibility of getting justice from the American “judicial” system is now gone forever. When the state can expropriate nature’s abundance as it affects every human being on their own property you know that the Constitution is a dead document.

    • 5 War Veteran says:

      Archie1954
      After hearing many stories of unfair court cases such as this one, it makes me wonder if the possibility of getting justice from the American “judicial” system is now gone forever. When the state can expropriate nature’s abundance as it affects every human being on their own property you know that the Constitution is a dead document.

      That is exactly what the Elite want us to think, that the system is broken. All that is necessary is to enforce the laws already in existence, Remove the unnecessary ones and enforce morality as well as common sense.
      The people have to speak and do so loudly. Unless we are heard and are willing to express our disgust en-force nothing will be done and that may include riding certain persons out of town or state on a rail.
      Persons with loose moral values like Charlie Rangel for instance.

  4. Ltpar says:

    I think that if the government ever sent me to jail for collecting rainwater on my own land I would become violently hostile toward the people who were doing it to me. This is just another incident where government bureaucrats have gotten too big for their britches and need to taken down a few notches. What the voters in Oregon need to comprehend is, if they can do this to Mr. Harrington, they can do it to anyone else. Voters need to fire the people involved.

    • 5 War Veteran says:

      Ltpar
      I think that if the government ever sent me to jail for collecting rainwater on my own land I would become violently hostile toward the people who were doing it to me. This is just another incident where government bureaucrats have gotten too big for their britches and need to taken down a few notches. What the voters in Oregon need to comprehend is, if they can do this to Mr. Harrington, they can do it to anyone else. Voters need to fire the people involved.

      Just remember hostile is what they want, they would like nothing more than to shoot you and reason it all out afterwards. Remember that with you dead they can say anything they want and they will write that you became insane and suicidal.
      History is written by the victors and they will say anything to make themselves look good to history.
      The Elite are pushing for a civil war so they can unleash UN Troops on American soil which is also why 1.35 million American troops are out CONUS. Meaning out of the Continental United States.
      Even our soldiers will not be allowed to protect American born citizens on American soil.
      Do not expect an elite owned and operated government to be the heroes of the day when they will not send their children into battle. They always risk nothing of their own and all of ours.
      Remember it was Henry Kissinger that said:“Military men are just dumb stupid animals to be used as pawns in foreign policy.” – Henry Kissinger, quoted in “Kiss the Boys Goodbye.”
      He remained the adviser to 7 presidents.
      Like Barack Obama he received the Nobel Peace Prize. he did so in 1973 “With Humility”.
      Yeah right.

  5. Dee says:

    we need to create an organization that keeps up on cases like these backed by thousands or millions of people that feel the situation isn’t right to stand up to the tyranny happening all over these people can not fight alone. if we start to fight back legally maybe we can win some of these pathetic cases. anything is better than doing nothing. we need to push back otherwise they will continue to change our laws and take our rights. something needs to change. maybe in this case he can have his land and the ponds changed to a wildlife preserve to fit the parameters of what they are saying is wrong. we should start to hide behind legal corporations too just like them. if they want to play games with us we should figure out the rules of the game and play better than them. of course then they will just change the rules but hey worth a shot.

  6. phugemawl says:

    A permit to collect rainwater on your own property … What the fuck?
    Maybe next we’ll require a permit to breathe the government’s air !!!

  7. 5 War Veteran says:

    It is my “opinion that Oregon has more important matters to deal with like corruption within their legal system and rampant stupidity within their collective political system. I wonder which one follows the Guam will capsize from over population theory?
    Authority does not replace morality OR intelligence OR common sense. The political Elite do not replace God in any matter.
    Hey Oregon! How about dealing with the crime rampant within your larger cities and leave harmless citizens alone.
    There will come a reckoning one day and the idiots will be ousted.
    This is what happens when Carpet Baggers come to roost.

    Of all the senses why is “common” the least used?

  8. nick says:

    rain water doesnt contain floride in it. thats why there mad he has fresh water. floride is put in our water systems to dumb us down.. since he hasnt ben drinking the floride water they got mad and fined him and jail time for him.

  9. Elaine says:

    This IS insanity….

  10. Elaine says:

    This IS the most ridiculously obscene thing I have ever heard of.
    It came from the sky! He didn’t steal it.

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