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Don’t Push the Reset Button, Pull the Plug
By Scott Rohter, April 2011
“Don’t participate in a process that is designed to hurt you!”
At the October 26, 2010 Lane County Commissioners meeting that was scheduled to discuss a proposed 200 ft. setback along Lane County waterways, and a water quality overlay map, Commissioners Sorenson, Handy, and Dwyer, as well as members of the Planning Commission all spoke out about how the only real problem with the whole process involving the overlay and the setback was NOT that they had planned to confiscate private property without just compensation, (or as it was in this case, without any compensation at all), it was that they hadn’t involved the property owners who were actually going to have their property taken away. I’m sorry, I mean who were actually going to be affected by the proposed ordinance change. They hadn't involved them in any of their policy deliberations or discussions. It must have been an oversight, I’m sure! As if our input would really make any difference. I think they actually believe that they can get rural Lane County property owners to just rubber stamp their decision to take 200 ft., or maybe a little less than 200 ft. away from property owners in Lane County who have any surface water on or running through their property. We, the Property Owners of Lane County are truly an afterthought to these people.
There isn’t any real, valid basis for concern over the water quality in the McKenzie River, which is the source of the drinking water for the City of Eugene. EWEB, the local water utility company even acknowledges the fact that the McKenzie River and its tributaries is one of the cleanest river systems in North America! So what actually is the problem then? Oh, they forgot to involve the so-called “stakeholders” (read property owners), in their decision to take our property away. They forgot to involve the rural property owners of Lane County who actually have something to lose from their ill conceived concerns and misguided solutions to problems that don’t even exist! See my articles The Lane County Planning Commission and the Water Quality Canard and Don’t Push the Reset Button, Pull the Plug Out of the Wall.
The way I see it, the only real problem we have, is not with the quality of the water in the river. It is with the quality of the public employees and the public officials in the government! It is their overall disrespect of and disregard for property owners and private property rights in America! It is a disregard for the United States Constitution and the Bill of Rights! For the authoritative position on private property rights in America, one only needs to look as far as the 4th and 5th Amendments to the US Constitution. As set forth in the 5th Amendment in what is commonly referred to as the “Takings Clause” it states “nor shall private property be taken for public use without just compensation.” Moreover the 4th Amendment speaks to the fact that Americans are supposed to be secure in their homes against unreasonable searches and seizures of their property! That was what was wrong with their water quality overlay and the 200 ft. setback! It violated both the 4th and 5th Amendments to the US Constitution! That, plus the fact that there never was any real problem with the quality of the water in the McKenzie River! It was just a water quality canard, as I wrote back in November of 2010.
Since then, there has been a citizens group formed in the McKenzie River Valley that consists of concerned property owners up and down the river that have an interest in this matter. They usually own land that has river frontage, or has a tributary of the river running through or along their property. The alleged purpose of this group is to keep property owners informed about ‘concerns’ along the river. The name of this group is The Clearwater Coalition. That’s a peculiar name for a property rights organization, so I suspect that its real purpose is something other than defending and protecting our private property rights! If you think that it is, then perhaps you should stop reading now and just turn on Dancing With the Stars or American Idol!
The Clearwater Coalition seems to think that all concerns along the river are equal. In other words, infringements of private property rights or violations of the 4th and 5th Amendments are on a par with unsubstantiated and unproven allegations of poor water quality in the river. All of the members of The Clearwater Coalition should be aware of what you have become involved in! You are participating in a ‘process’ that is not designed to help you. Rather, it is designed to circumvent the 4th and 5th Amendments to the US Constitution and take away a portion of your property for no justifiable reason! The Clearwater Coalition schedules meetings from time to time to promote so called “open dialog among all 'stakeholders' along the river.” They seem to schedule a lot of meetings with various government officials and spokespersons from EWEB, the Watershed Counsel, and the McKenzie River Trust among others. In case you don’t remember, these are the same parties that were responsible for the 200 ft. setback proposal and the water quality overlay map in the first place! They were responsible for the ‘Confiscation Proposal’ going as far as it did! And these are the exact same people that wanted to push the reset button back in November of 2010 and go back and “involve stakeholders in the process” instead of just pulling the plug on the whole misguided endeavor!
Do you members of The Clearwater Coalition feel like 'stakeholders' that are participating in a revitalized process that has been started all over again? Do you feel like somebody has just pushed the “reset button”? Well they have, and you should! You have been duped so far into cooperating in a process that is not designed to help you. Rather it was conceived to take away your property and your property rights, under the false pretense that there is something wrong with the quality of the water in the McKenzie River!
“Beware of Greeks bearing gifts!” You Trojan members of The Clearwater Coalition have been suckered into participating in a process that is still designed to do essentially the same thing that it did the last time, only this time it will be done with your own acquiescence! That is, it will try to circumvent the Constitutional protections afforded to you by the 4th and 5th Amendments, and try to separate you from the full legal enjoyment of and utilization of your property! Now that you know it, perhaps you should consider whether or not you want to continue to participate in this sham process, or whether you should stop cooperating all together with those who want to take your land away!
I’m sure for a while that the whole process will seem rather harmless and non-threatening, but it’s only a matter of time before they will try to convince you that there is a real or potential threat to the water quality in the river that requires you to give up some of your land. With the current Board of Commissioners they know that a proposal to circumvent the 4th and 5th Amendments and seize private property for unsubstantiated environmental concerns will not fly! And they can afford to bide their time. But as soon as the Board goes liberal again you will have secured your own unfortunate demise. At that point, the ‘land confiscation machine’otherwise known as the water quality overlay, that was started up again when they pushed the reset button with your unwitting help, will come along and gobble up your property rights, and some of if not all of the 200 ft. of land that they originally wanted! I honestly hope that I am wrong about this, but I don’t think so, and I know that it depends on you. So don’t participate in a process that is designed to hurt you. Don’t push the reset button. Pull the plug out of the wall!
"A journalist has no better friend than the truth." - Scott Rohter