Oregon loses the Upper Rogue to landowners - Mountain Buzz

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Old 07-08-2010   #1
malloypc's Avatar
Albany, Oregon
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Oregon loses the Upper Rogue to landowners

Judge rules the Upper Rogue is not navigable:

State loses decision on ownership of portion of Rogue | MailTribune.com

Interesting considering all the boats on it these days.
The ruling was based on the use (lack of) for commerce in 1859.


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Old 07-08-2010   #2
Stoner, Colorado
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It looks as though (from the article) that this just affects access to the banks not actually floating the river. "If the river remains listed as non-navigable, river users could face heightened restrictions on access to the river banks, although the river itself would still be open to the public."
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Old 07-08-2010   #3
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Oregon City, Oregon
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Ike is right. Nothing was lost. The issue of navigability in this context relates only to ownership of the riverbank. In a non-navigable stream, property lines can extend to midstream--but the river itself is still a public resource (although ranchers have been known to string fences across creeks and rivers).

In a navigable waterway, the river bank up to the mean high waterline is public in most, but not all, cases. (I own Willamette Riverfront property, and my ownership goes to "the usual low waterline," grandfathered-in way back in the 19th century).

But Oregon has been conducting its own crusade to establish public ownership of the riverbanks throughout the state, using the navigability of the waterway as the easiest way to accomplish that. If they are successful, then they think they won't have to deal with trespassing complaints by riverfront property owners.

In reality, it only creates MORE trespassing complaints, because it is impossible for passers-by to know where the "mean high waterline" is. Oregon actually spends many, many thousands of taxpayer dollars sending a Department of Transportation aerial photographer all over the state to photograph rivers at high water, so that they can mediate trespassing disputes.
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