State officials take down illegal dams

, Posted: Wed, June 18 2014 at 4:08 PM, Updated: Wed, June 18 2014 at 4:22 PM

State officials take down illegal dams

Butte Falls, Ore. -- A man convicted of stealing water by building illegal dams watches as state officials render them useless.

Crews from the State Water Resources Office, with court order in hand, modified the infrastructure to the three dams in the Butte Falls area on Tuesday.

Property owner Gary Harrington says he was merely capturing rainwater and kept the 13-million gallons of water in case it was needed to battle wildfires.

Nevertheless Harrington served jail time for stealing the water that a judge ruled belonged to the Medford Water Commission.

Judge Lorenzo Mejia's ruling was based on a 1925 law that gives the Medford Commission ownership of the water in the creek and its tributaries.

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