River Rights legislation hits Oregon Senate in special session: Need help today!

River Rights legislation is currently being drafted in the Oregon State Senate. At the time of statehood, Oregonians were given rights to use any navigable waterway, as well as the submerged and submersible land along it, for any legal activity.

Common Waters of Oregon says the Oregon Senate committee Environment & Natural Resources will hear river rights legislation SB 1060 this Thursday February 4th, at 1pm. It’s very important that they receive public input on this matter. It’s a very very short legislative session and in the course of a two hour meeting in Salem, much can change.

It’s not a perfect bill, and it needs some shaping from the river user community. Common Waters has a page set up to help you mail your Senators to make sure this bill includes Common Waters’ amendments and will support river users. You can find out more about SB 1060 and find your legislator here.


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7 Responses to River Rights legislation hits Oregon Senate in special session: Need help today!

  1. Rob R says:

    I recommend trespassing as a form of civil disobedience on all rivers where navigability issues have yet to be resolved. Just be prepared to take your lumps. In most cases where navigability is in question, trespassing tickets are thrown out by the DA to avoid a court case. In other places where navigability has been resolved (like the John Day and Sandy, recently), you had better stay below the mean high water mark, or you risk BIG fines and other legal problems.

  2. Rob Lewis says:

    I e-mailed Jason Atkinson today on this very subject! Get out there people and have your voices Heard!!!

  3. David Jensen says:

    I have a hard time endorsing, or criticizing, a bill which is not posted. I do have a link to what CWO says is the gospel, but I am not willing to take that as a matter of truth without reading the bill. CWO should have posted the bill. Ends up that I know one of the named Senators, but I’m not weighing in on the CWO amendments as good or bad. In my view, that would be as stupid as endorsing a past presidential candidate base upon Democratic or Republican party ads without further inquiry.

  4. Gabe Parr says:

    @David Jensen –

    I have a copy you can download of SB 1060-1 which is being proposed tomorrow. Here is the link: http://www.deschutestu.org/PDF_files/SB1060-1%5B1%5D.pdf

    Please let me know if that helps!


  5. Jason Wells says:

    Matt – thanks for posting this information so quickly. It turns out that a new amended version of the bill was posted today – 1060-2, which includes a new section that would allow for local jurisdictions to impose their own regulation on river use. Common Waters Oregon will not support this bill that fractures river rights across the state.

    With local regulation, we could end up with different rules for river use in different parts of the state. Heck, a person floating a long river like the John Day could end up having to follow different rules and regulations as they traveled through multiple counties on the same trip. We don’t allow Tillamook county to make one set of rules for our beaches while Curry county has another. The beaches are for all Oregonians to enjoy with the same rules and regulations from Clatsop Spit to Crissey Field State Park. This bill was intended to give clarity to the issue of river rights. Unfortunately, Section 12 will lead to less clarity for river users as multiple localities implement local regulations.

    If you have not contacted your state senator, please do so and inform them that 1060-2 is not acceptable. If you already have contacted them in support of 1060-1, please send them a quick note rescinding your support until the second amendment allowing local rules and regulations is removed from the bill.

    The CWO blog will be updated as quickly as possible as the bill changes, but please keep in mind that this legislative session is short and legislators are attempting to move things along as quickly as possible.

    Thank you,
    Jason Wells
    President, Common Waters Oregon

  6. Heather says:


    CWO always posts the source documents so that people can read them for themselves.

    We provided source documents for all the versions of this bill
    SB 1060

    SB 1060-1

    And now, at 5:30 today they issued SB 1060-2

    Some of those bills were not issued as readable text, and only as an image file, so you’ll have to click on the link we provided and follow it to the image and read it there.

    It’s important to note that CWO opposes SB 1060-2. This amendment would mandate the State of Oregon to follow the lead of local control on the rivers. In no other area of law does the state have that mandate. Local groups can lobby the state, but the state serves all the people, not special interest local groups.

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