Man Sentenced to 30 Days for Catching Rain Water on Own Property Enters Jail

August 8, 2012 - 7:03 PM

Gary Harrington goes to Jail

Gary Harrington reports to Jackson County (Ore.) Jail to begin serving a 30-day term for collecting rainwater on his property. (Photo: Gary Harrington)

(CNSNews.com) – Gary Harrington, the Oregon man convicted of collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his rural property surrendered Wednesday morning to begin serving his 30-day, jail sentence in Medford, Ore.

“I’m sacrificing my liberty so we can stand up as a country and stand for our liberty,” Harrington told a small crowd of people gathered outside of the Jackson County (Ore.) Jail.

Several people held signs that showed support for Harrington as he was taken inside the jail.

Harrington was found guilty two weeks ago of breaking a 1925 law for having, what state water managers called “three illegal reservoirs” on his property. He was convicted of nine misdemeanors, sentenced to 30 days in jail and fined over $1500 for collecting rainwater and snow runoff on his property.

Gary harrington news conference

Crowd of supporters outside Jackson County Jail, Wednesday August 8, 2012. (Photo: Gary Harrington)

The Oregon Water Resources Department, claims that Harrington has been violating the state’s water use law by diverting water from streams running into the Big Butte River.

But Harrington says he is not diverting the state's water -- merely collecting rainwater and snow melt that falls or flows on his own property.

Harrington has vowed to continue to fight the penalty, stating that the government has become “big bullies” and that “from here on in, I’m going to fight it.”

“They’ve just gotten to be big bullies and if you just lay over and die and give up, that just makes them bigger bullies, Harrington said in an interview two weeks ago with CNSNews.com.

"We as Americans, we need to stand on our constitutional rights, on our rights as citizens and hang tough. This is a good country, we’ll prevail,” he said.

His release is expected in early September.