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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
PUBLIC HEARING DATE

The Rules Committee scheduled the Public Hearing for Senate Bill 928 for Thursday, August 7, 2003 at 1:30 p.m. in Hearing Room HR B.

If any of you can come and testify, please do. I will be out of town on the day of the hearing. To go this long and miss this key hearing is disappointing for me. I am hoping some of others that feel as I do can come to Salem and let your voices be heard. As I said in an earlier post, I believe filling the room with folks opposed will be important.

According to the Committee Calendar, this is only a hearing and not a work session. If that is true, it means they will most likely have another hearing. We cannot count on this for sure though.

WHAT TO EXPECT

I think the bill’s supporters will fill the room. Do not be surprised if some of those groups that were opposed to the bill switch over if the proposed amendments become part of the bill. We need to make strong opposition showing. We must let them know that we are watching every move on this issue.

If you read the amendments summary I posted earlier and look at the bill carefully, it appears we have achieved something very similar to the Montana Law. We must also remember that the legislature is in deal making overdrive. We have no guarantee that the amendments summarized will actually get included in the bill. We will know by the end of this week.

If the proposed amendments are accepted, it will require a redrafting of the bill as amended. I think this is such a hot item, we will get another public hearing. I doubt the Rules Committee wants to be the one to shut out the public on the final version. This is good for us because we can actually review the amendments.

The Governor’s stance on this issue was a solid plus on our side. We can only hope that he will keep his resolve on the key points he outlined.

HOW I FEEL ABOUT IT NOW

I am still opposed to this bill because it remains exactly as what it started out as, an end run around existing state and federal navigable river laws. Nothing, and I mean nothing, has changed regarding this point. If it passes, Ferrioli is handed a victory… his bill stopped the John Day River Navigability Study dead cold.

I believe it will be to our advantage to kill Senate Bill 928 and have the State Land Board order the Division of State Lands to start the John Day River Navigability Study. Once this has been ordered, I suspect the landowners will become far more willing participants in achieving a compromise that ends all further navigability studies while assuring the rights of all Oregonians regarding the recreational use of public waterways.

Remember, we have several landowners that have agreed to continue to fight navigability regardless of the cost. There stated agenda is clear; they intend to do whatever it takes to keep the public off what they consider to be their private rivers. This hardcore group drives legislation like SB 293 and SB 928. I expect regardless of what happens with SB 928 they will be back next session. Next time some other river will be on their agenda if not the John Day.

The single thing the landowners fear more than anything is a navigability study that ends with a state claim to land title on the streambeds. The more pressure we apply on this point, the more likely they will settle on a compromise – a compromise that assures the public’s rights as set forth in federal law and the Public Trust Doctrine.

The way I see it, the only way we can ever put a stop to all this nonsense is to mandate a statewide river management plan similar to a Montana Law. It is beginning to look like we have two paths to follow. First, we can proceed with a ballot initiative and public education program. This will cost money. Second, we can sue the State Land Board and the Governor to make a statewide declaration of sorts. This will cost money.

A third option to consider; we can continue to fight a defensive battle and hope that eventually the legislature will think of it themselves. This takes a huge amount of time, someone dedicated to watching the legislature and land board constantly, and a constant need to have large numbers of people available to react on a moments notice. In the short run, we can sustain this. In the long run, I suspect they will sneak something past us.

IF YOU CANNOT TESTIFY THEN…

If you cannot testify in person, please send your testimony to:

Judith Callens
Committee Adminstrator
900 Court Street NE Room S401
Salem, OR 97301

Or you can fax it:
503-986-1738 (fax to her attention)

Or email it to her:

[email protected]


KEY TALKING POINTS

The bill does an end run around existing state and federal navigability laws and serves a very small minority group while denying clarification of the rights of all other Oregonians. What is better: create special legislation to serve the demands of a few, or create a lasting set of rules that will serve all Oregonians?

The bill does not address the cost issues associated with a management plan. We simply do not know how much it will cost to create another John Day River Management Plan. In such an economic times as this, can the state really afford such new undertakings?

The state already spent tens of thousands of dollars and thousands of man-hours developing an existing John Day River Management Plan. It appears this legislation would create a duplication of effort at great cost to the taxpayers of Oregon. Why spend more money on something we already paid for? Why not implement what we have?

If the Amendments as summarized get into the bill, it appears that the bill would grant the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department the authority to create a John Day River Management Plan. In reading Oregon Revised Statutes 390.805 – 390.925 it would appear that the Parks and Recreation already has that authority. Why pass another bill giving them the authority to do something they already have the authority to do?

Scruffy
 

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Thanks SBV for alerting us to this continuing threat.
 

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Varmint,

Isn't this a big issue with NW Steelheaders?

Do you know if they are organizing for the hearing? Is their lobbyist speaking, rounding up others to testify etc?

How about Tillamook Anglers?

Brion
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
BrionLutz,

Yes, the Steelheaders have been fighting this bill right along side the rest of us. Unfortuantely, like me, both their head guys are out of town this week. I cannot speak for the lobbyiest as I do not know him. I did speak with him on the phone once or twice.

For the most part the people really fighting this bill are just a bunch of guys like me. I don't belong to any organized group and I sure don't have no high falutten lobbyiest. All I got is me. I am doing the best I can.

Frankly if a whole ton of other fishing folks don't perk up and get involved, we could loose this battle. I been hammering away on it since April 9 when I first learned about SB 293.

On the day the Gov. met with the Treas. office regarding this bill, we put out the word for action and got over 60 people to call the Governor in about a two hour period. Believe me, it made and impact. He kept his word... so far.

Like I said, this is deal making time. Lord only knows what hem pesky politicians is up to.

Scruffy
 
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