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River navigation bill set for hearing

Statesman Journal
April 29, 2003

At 3 p.m. Wednesday, the Senate Committee on Water and Land Use will hold a hearing on Senate Bill 293, the so-called “Alternatives to Navigability” legislation.

The meeting will be held in Hearing Room D at the capitol.

As originally presented, the three-page bill would set up a four-year pilot program of drafting and using a “Management Plan” for recreation on the John Day River.

The bill, crafted by state agencies and the public over a period of months, has with a laundry list of amendments from property-rights groups, swollen to 27 pages.

The original goal was to come up with an approach to allowing recreational use of rivers by the public, while offering liability limits and enforcable rules for property owners.

The major hurdle was a requirement that recreational users, through fees, pay for bathrooms, on-water enforcement, posting of signs and compensation of riverside landowners for damage caused by recreational users.

With the piling on of the amendments that include everything from adding the Sandy River — which has been declared navigable — to the list of study rivers, and having the state pay for both sides of federal litigation contesting navigability determinations, recreational groups are backing off of their original, tentative support for the bill.
 

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It looks like Metsger will be the swing vote on killing or passing this through committee. He owns property on the Salmon, a tributary to the Sandy. He stated that he is not in favor of the state owning river beds and banks. He also implied (only a small hint) he may not be exactly sold on the approach dictated in SB 293. Phone his office ((503) 986-1726) today and let your thoughts be known... even if he is not your senator.

TOMORROW LOOKS LIKE FISH OR CUT BAIT DAY

The Steelheader guy told me that the Senate wants to close up all the committees on Friday. That means we will most likely see a vote to move this monstrosity on to the House at wednesdays hearing. If it goes to the house committee it will almost be a shoe in because Ferrioli will call in all his favors, however, we will have one crack at public testimoney in the house committee, another opportunity to tell those bozos this deal really stinks of special interest group money.

Now is the time to really start pouring on the letters, faxes, emails, and phone calls. Let your senator... all senators know how you feel.

Most Senators probably still believe they will see a compromise bill. Let them know that Ferrioli's amendments bastardized the compromise to the point you find it totally unacceptable. Spell it out for them. The devil, as they say, is in the details. Be specific in your objections. Pick one or two of the 14 points otlined in MooseTurds thread and hammer it home, but do it in your owns words.

Scruffy
 
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