Water woes: Gilliam weighs in

February 2015 Posted in News

When Marion County Circuit Judge Claudia Burton ruled in favor of the East Valley Water District’s request to be have permission to go onto the property of Victor Point landowners along Drift Creek, she also stated she sees what is happening as a potential political disaster – one that must be looked at by the state legislature. As the law is currently written, Burton said, a water district in Medford could claim land on Mount Hood.

“This is something for the legislature to fix, not a trial court judge,” Burton said in January. “I see many political problems with this.”

Our Town contacted state Rep. Vic Gilliam to ask if the state legislature would address the question this session.

Gilliam said he has spoken with many people the last few years on all sides of “this difficult issue.”

While he has a lot of respect for Burton, he said he’s not sure a “legislative remedy is in order.”

He added he is willing to explore that avenue in the future, as well as “possible corrections in flawed administrate rule by the Oregon Water Resource Department.”

“Conversations during this legislative session can and will continue as they have for several years, but I doubt there will be consensus for action any time soon – least of all in this session now underway since many important bill deadlines have already passed and agendas are already in motion,” Gilliam said

He said he appreciates “the wisdom of state Sen. Fred Girod and others in several aspects of this matter.

“But as the state representative for our area, I’m especially bothered by the straight-jacket in which policies of the Oregon Water Resource Department may have unnecessarily and unfairly placed on many farmers in my district.”

At this juncture, Gilliam said, the issue is far from being concluded.

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