A series of bills proposed in Oregon's Senate have brought frustrations from metal miners and opposing law makers. One of the bills authors, Oregon Senator, Alan Bates says the bills are set to protect the states waterways and home owners along them in the future.
Sen. Aland Bates (D-Ore) says since the price of gold went up and a ban on suction dredge mining in the state of California, modern day 49er's are going to Oregon.
Where there used to be only a couple hundred suction dredge miners, today, there are close to two thousand. Josephine County Forestry Department Manager, Vic Harris says, many of them, (from Oregon or otherwise) have been caught mining at night and that the practice has eroded river banks.
In the series of senate bills, one would require (if and when the law passes) any home or landowner to shield unsightly views from the public view-the river. Legal issues are currently being reviewed and law makers aren't sure yet if the state parks department has the right to enforce such laws.
Alan Bates says his intent is to regulate metal mining along Oregon's pristine & scenic waters ways and should not be distorted, however home owners have suggested they will be looking closely at what the bills will say.
The Oregon Scenic Waterways Act was voted in place by the people in 1970 to achieve a balance between protecting the rivers natural resources and equally the lives and plans of people who live along them.
Below are links to each 2013 bill.