Keep water speculators off of the McKenzie River

The Register-Guard has run a series of articles this week on developer Greg Demers’ plans to siphon off our area’s most valuable resource, the McKenzie River, to sell to non-existent customers. He also wants to overturn ODFW’s low-water limit of 2,000 CFS in the summer months that protects our world class fisheries.


The Oregon Department of Water Resources is a rubber stamp agency that rolls over for developers and agriculture, and won’t even enforce its own administrative rules. Thankfully there’s Oregon’s WaterWatch, probably the most effective, diligent conservation organization in the state.

From the RG: “In Oregon, water belongs to the public, and only those who actually need water can acquire a right to use it,” said John DeVoe, executive director of Portland-based WaterWatch.

“Allowing a private company, with no known water needs or customers for this water, to lock up a large amount of water for future sale warps the system and encourages speculation.”

Today’s RG editorial concluded: What more evidence does the state need to prove that Demers’ application is not in the best interests of the McKenzie — and of the many Oregonians who love and want to protect the river and its precious unclaimed water rights?

Folks, put your money where your mouth is and donate to Water Watch today. I love planting trees, tagging trout, and railing against hatchery fish as much as the next person. But what these fish need, more than a bunch of cheerleaders like me who want to save fish so we can put hooks in their face, is water.

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12 Responses to Keep water speculators off of the McKenzie River

  1. Ethan Nickel says:

    Demers has a long record as a world-class douchebag, but this is really over the top. Other than donating to water watch, who should we call, write to, email, lobby? In my opinion, this is a far bigger deal for the future of the McKenzie’s wild trout than the other issues that area anglers squabble over.

  2. Rob R says:

    Water Watch is preparing a call to action for those of us interested in stepping up to the fight. Stay tuned!

  3. Two dogs says:

    Make sure that they keep they environmental news editor for the Seattle Times involved as well. There are a lot of prople from up here that come dowm there to fish those rivers. The more noise the better.

  4. Greg says:

    This is terrible!! I’m a Californian and I know Oregonians don’t like us meddling in their state, but we have horrendous water issues in CA due to agricultural and developmental interests. I absolutely LOVE the McKenzie and have fond memories of this river and still love traveling to Oregon. I’m Tweeting, Facebooking, and spreading the word about this threat.

  5. David Jensen says:

    This is something that urgently all organizations loving the McKenzie should get alarmed about. At a minimum, Trout Unlimited, the McKenzie River Guides Assn., McKenzie Flyfishers, the McKenzie Land Trust, the McKenzie Watershed Council should take action to oppose Demers’ attempt to appropriate the McKenzie. He has already indicated that he also would challenge present minimum flow levels in place.

    If the name Greg Demers looks familiar, just look daily at the Register Guard for reports and letters to the editor about Demers and the McDougal brothers efforts to blow up Parvin Butte in Dexter for gravel mining. Demers in the son in law of one of the McDougals.

  6. Rob R says:

    Camilla Mortensen at Eugene Weekly has done an excellent job of covering Demers’ exploits. Including the millions of dollars in back taxes he owes the federal government…

  7. Matt Ritzow says:

    Expect more of the same as our state and nation continue to ignore bitter lessons of past environmental debacles and choose the fast track path to the 3rd world with continued deregulation and degradation of already existing anemic protections at the hands of the Republicans and corporate raiders.
    Vote the bastards out!

  8. mike wilson says:

    “Republicans and corporate raiders”.That is painting with a broad brush.Lack of concern for the environment is not about republicans ,democrats or independents but more about greed and ignorance.Those of us who use and appreciate the rivers should stick together against this kind of greed and not assume one group is not as concerned as the other.

  9. Oregon Fly Fishing Blog says:

    Great point Mike. Couldn’t agree more.

  10. Clayton says:

    If you haven’t seen it yet, watch “Water Wars on Netflix. It talks about just this type of thing. Who really owns the water? It also goes in depth on what’s happened in other countries when the water was privatized.

  11. M. Ritzow says:

    You are absolutely right, greed an ignorance know no boundaries in relation to political parties but when pillaging the environment becomes a central and clearly articulated part of the GOP platform there is no “assuming” about it.
    You can be a republican and enjoy fishing and clean rivers but at the end of the day if you vote to support someone like Santorum or more locally, Faye Stewart, you are not “sticking together” with anyone that puts the future of our natural resources ahead of their wallet.

  12. Brent says:

    I thought that Oregon water law requires one to “use it or loose it”, so how can one who has non-existent customers or infrastructure for “future” transport even use the cfs rights that is being requested? This guy in general seems to be a proven low-life, defaulting on debt from the purchase of a personal jet, and owing on back taxes…how could one even think to grant this guy rights to OUR water!!!

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