Gov. John Kitzhaber (D.-Ore.) has authority under Oregon’s constitution to pardon or commute the jail term and remit the fine of a man sentenced for collecting rainwater and snow runoff in reservoirs on his own property. But the governor is ducking for cover.
Gary Harrington of Eagle Point, Ore., was sentenced July 25 in Jackson County Circuit Court to 30 days in jail and over $1,500 in fines for violating Oregon state laws that say all water is publicly owned–making the 3 reservoirs on his property used to house rainwater and snow runoff illegal.
Since Monday, CNSNews.com has repeatedly contacted the governor’s office via phone and email to ask if the governor has any intention of pardoning Harrington or commuting his sentence. But the governor’s office has not responded to any of those inquiries.
Steve Buckstein, senior policy analyst at the Cascade Policy Institute in Portland, told CNSNews.com that he doesn’t think the governor would lift a finger to help Harrington out.
“Well our governor, knowing what I know about him, would probably want to increase the sentence,” Buckstein said. “He wouldn’t want to pardon him. Our governor is a very big environmentalist.”