The Lane County Planning Commission and the Water Quality Canard
By Scott Rohter 11-08-10
Excerpts from this article were reprinted in the Eugene Register Guard 11/15/10.
If they or anyone else can show me the proof that an individual homeowner is contributing in any significant way to the pollution of one of our beautiful rivers in Lane County, which we all love, then I would support a specific remedy for that particular homeowner on that particular lot, wherever it is occurring, and I dare say that almost everyone else would too, but not a blanket seizure of 150 ft of everyone else’s waterfront property. That’s crazy! That’s communism! The fact that this proposal got this far, shows just how close we are to loosing ALL OF OUR RIGHTS!
Let me offer a few suggestions if there ever is a pollution problem arising along the river: Inspections and maintenance of older septic tanks; limiting the use of pesticide application along the river or repeated applications of fertilizers; limiting or banning altogether the storage of hazardous materials within 50 ft or 100 ft of the water; and educational outreach programs. I'm sure we would all agree with common sense measures like these that respect private property rights, but not what the Planning Commission proposed and the Board of Commissioners was considering.
The current regulations for septic tanks and drain fields are 50 ft for tanks and 100 ft for drain fields. That being said, what possible good can come from requiring that a house be setback 200 ft from the water, other than the rather questionable goal of preventing a homeowner from enjoying the view. We all want clean water and I can safely say that rural residential property owners value their land and the water that flows through it. As a rule, ownership promotes responsibility and good stewardship, and that is our best protection and safeguard for water quality now and in the future, i.e. well informed individual small landowners who love their land and the water that flows through it. Most of us are good stewards, and we don't need a lot of fear mongering by government bureaucrats and paranoid members of watershed councils looking over our shoulders to see if we are dumping gasoline in the river or urinating in the creek!
What possible harm can come from someone sitting out on their deck overlooking the river and enjoying the view?, (a view that we all worked and saved very hard for and probably paid through the nose in order to get). If you folks want the right to do that, then I suggest you keep working very hard and start saving your money right now because it probably isn't going to get any cheaper!
As I've already said, the McKenzie river is one of the cleanest rivers in North America. I know personally because I live along several small tributaries of it which run through my land, and for years I used to drink the water straight out of the creek, untreated. While I don't recommend that you do that, the biggest problem with the water is Giardia or Cryptosporidium that comes from animals NOT from people. Show me the human component to any problem with the water quality in the river or any of its tributaries, and if you can’t, then get the heck off our backs and out of our back yards!
You want to make it so we can’t mow our lawn, cut the blackberries, pull a thistle out of the ground or dig up a scotch broom. You don't want a horse, cow, or sheep to graze within 200 ft of any water course. I guess you're afraid they might…to be polite, pollute the water. Well I’d hate to tell you how many deer, elk, fox, bear, skunk, possum, beaver and other little rodents would ignore your stupid regulations and poop or pee in or near the water. You'd probably have a heart attack if you only knew! And they're not going to stop just because some members of the Board of Commissioners pass an ordinance and an overlay with a 200 ft setback. And yet in spite of all the furry little critters we still have some of the cleanest rivers in North America, right here in Lane County!
So I suggest that you all relax a little bit and take a chill pill, but keep working hard and saving your money. Then you can buy some of this beautiful Oregon real estate and YOU CAN TRY TO KEEP THE DEER FROM PEEING IN THE CREEK, if there is any property left for sale by the time you're done implementing all the rest of the United Nations Agenda 21 goals and Oregon's own statewide Land Planning goals like Goal #6!
You asked us to trust you at the last meeting. "That’s the problem," someone said, "We don't!" We know or suspect where all this stuff is coming from and I'm here to tell you that this is our country, and Oregon is our state! It belongs to us, not to the United Nations and you work for us, not for them. Oregon belongs to Oregonians, not to the rest of the world, and if you don't like that or like working for us then get the heck out and move somewhere else!
Did you know that people in St Louis drink the water that comes from the Mississippi River? It has diesel oil, gasoline, and all kinds of other nasty things in it. They filter it, treat it, and they drink it. By comparison, are you actually complaining about the water in the McKenzie River?!!! The people in Chicago drink water directly out of Lake Michigan. Aren't all the rivers of Lane County a thousand times cleaner than Lake Michigan?
So really, what is your problem? We are all very fortunate to live here. We have clean air, clean land and clean water and we all want to keep it that way! But any solution to a problem regarding water quality should be specific to the individual property and to the property owner/resident that is causing the problem! You don't need to take a hatchet to sheer all of us. We aren't all guilty!
Finally, if you're going to take away someone’s private property for the public good then you need to compensate them for their loss under the 4th and 5th amendments to the Constitution, or did you also throw them out too, along with your common sense?If you're thinking of taking 150 ft of everyone’s property, you don't have the money nor the support of the citizens of this community to do that. I'm appalled at the lack of good judgment and leadership on the Planning Commission and the Board of Commissioners. Perhaps we should recall all of you! We actually have better things to do, believe it or not, than to come down here and defend our property rights every time you guys get a whim to threaten them!
"A journalist has no better friend than the truth." - Scott Rohter