U.S. Water News Online
MEDFORD, Ore. -- A youth pastor has pleaded guilty to
taking water without a permit and using water without authorization.
Pastor Gary Harrington of Trail Christian Fellowship entered the
plea. The water feeds three ponds on his Eagle Point property.
``A lot of people have the misconception that they automatically
have the right to use that water (on their property), and that's not
the case in the state of Oregon,'' said Larry Menteer, Jackson County
Harrington, 54, had faced six criminal misdemeanor charges but
pleaded guilty to just two violations under an agreement with the
Jackson County District Attorney's Office.
County code-enforcement officers noticed in February that
Harrington didn't have the proper permits for the ponds, Menteer
Harrington refused to allow Oregon State Police or the county
watermaster on his property to inspect the ponds, said Janelle
McFarland, a state police fish and wildlife trooper. Troopers issued
the citations this month after serving Harrington with a search
warrant, she said.
Harrington said he pleaded guilty to the violations so he could
apply for water rights to his 172 acres. He said he maintains the
ponds fed by winter runoff for fire protection. His youth group also
swims in the ponds, which are situated near a volleyball court, he
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