At their public meeting on June 10, the State Land Board adopted the Final Rogue River Navigability Study prepared by the Department of State Lands (DSL) which asserts the beds and banks of the 89-mile segment has been owned by the state since 1859.
"After many months of research, and extensive public input, we now have
resolution on this study," said DSL director Louise Solliday.
"However, there is no doubt this has been a contentious effort, and
will continue to be as new navigability studies are requested. DSL and
the Land Board will continue to look for ways to ensure the public’s
right to use its waterways, while protecting the interests of
landowners who live along Oregon’s rivers."
"We will be
filing papers for a judicial review through Stoel Rives, Portland on
behalf of Save Our Legacy," (SOL) said Roger King, a local leader of
the SOL group. "We have many things where they violated their own rules
in the process."
King said the group has plans for action
against the State Land Board statewide. He has visited with groups on
the Columbia and Sandy Rivers. "Before the year is over we will have
thousands involved," said King. He said a county plan will be in the
hands of commissioners in Jackson and Josephine counties within the
next week or so."Hopefully they will sign on so we can plan to manage
the river through counties and have a special commission to work with
Educating the legislative members and putting
pressure on the legislature to pass a bill doing away with the
navigation issue, leaving it in the hands of counties, is the SOL plan.
King said all southern Oregon legislative members have signed a letter opposing the navigability study.
DSL used the federal test for navigability in its determination:
To be considered navigable, and therefore a grant to a state upon its admission to the Union, the river must have been:
- Used, or susceptible to being used,
- In its ordinary and natural condition,
- As a highway of commerce over which trade and travel were, or could have been conducted,
- In the customary modes of trade and travel on water at the time of Oregon’s statehood (1859).
hearing in Medford attracted 46 speakers, all but two or three opposed
the plan. A similar meeting was held in Grants Pass with 26 people
testifying against the plan.
More information about the Rogue River study is available on the DSL Web site.
other meeting business, the Land Board approved disposing of, through
open competitive bid or exchange, 15 scattered forest parcels
(approximately 3,221 acres) in Coos, Curry, Douglas and Lane counties;
extended the public comment period to 5:00 pm, July 3 for
administrative rules governing leases, licenses and short-term access
authorizations for special uses on state-owned land; and approved DSL’s
and the Oregon Department of Forestry’s 2009-11 budget proposals.
State Land Board consists of Governor Theodore Kulongoski, Secretary of
State Bill Bradbury and State Treasurer Randall Edwards.
By Nancy Leonard
Of the Independent