Senator Alan Bates Faces Recall

Alan BatesMEDFORD, Ore. — A Southern Oregon man is launching a recall effort against State Senator Alan Bates, because of the lawmaker’s proposals about dredge mining.

The petitioners say they are unhappy that Senator Bates proposed legislation that would restrict suction dredge mining on Oregon creeks and rivers, and designate some rivers as “scenic waterways.”

The recall effort is being spearheaded by Rick Barclay, who said Bates’ proposals violate property rights. Barclay said the Galice Mining District has moved to stop those pieces of legislation. He said miners have not had support from the Oregon legislature, and the recall effort is their next step.

“None of them have responded to the charges, and it’s time these people realize that they can’t take people’s property rights,” said Barclay.

Senator Bates is in Salem this week. When reached by phone, he said he’s not focused on the recall, and is putting his attention to his work in the legislature.

Bates said none of the petitioners have tried to contact him. He said none of the proposals mentioned by the petitioners have even passed, and have not been up for discussion. He said, “If every proposed bill is a level for recall, we couldn’t function.”

The petitioners need to gather 7,500 valid signatures by July 29th in order to launch a recall election. Barclay says so far his supporters have gathered about 1,000 signatures.


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  1. Andrea says:

    FINALLY some light on the issues that miners are currently facing! Support the miners!

  2. Bud Wickman says:

    Isn’t this the same Alan Bates that basically got run out of California for pulling the same stunts? If so, you’d think he’d learn his lesson…Maybe not…Guess he’ll have to learn again.

  3. Bud Wickman says:

    Maybe a recall is in order. It appears to me that the miners just need to be left alone. During the dredging process it churns up the river beds, much like spading a garden, and helps the habitat overall. Too bad there are some who don’t understand this process. I hope the miners succeed.

  4. Judy T says:

    Property rights – unless something has changed – do not include what is in the stream beds. Property stops at water’s edge. Those rights belong to the state, to all of us. Could the TV12 news team do a follow up on this aspect please…

    1. Danny Vanderschelden says:

      Judy to put it simply the property they are referring to are mining claims. In other words they are trying to say we can’t mine the gold on our privately own gold mines. That being said the land on most gold mines in this state is public, so everyone is welcomed to camp, hunt, etc… on the claims. However it is the ownership of the minerals and metals themselves which are the private property. The ownership of metals is legally looked at and treated like real estate. You have a deed (known as a location notice) which can be transferred, sold, inherited, and even rented like an apartment.

    2. Eric Dubin says:

      Bates’ sponsored SB401 would have created over 14,000 miles of Oregon river with a riparian buffer zone of 1/4 mile on each side of each named “wild and scenic” river sections. That’s over 7,000 square miles of highly populated areas, a great deal of which is private property. You need to read this:


    3. Kerby Jackson says:


      The state’s (actually the public’s) ownership of the waters extends only to those waters which are considered navigable AND are maintained as free and open public highways. Two principles of federal law dictate this in Oregon.

      The first is the Oregon Admission Act which admitted Oregon to the Union on Feb. 14th, 1859. That act recognized that Oregon had concurrent authority (with its surrounding territories) on the navigable waterways which made up the borders of the state (that’s the Snake and Columbia Rivers), provided that they were maintained as free and open public highways.

      The other is the Equal Footing Doctrine in the United States Constitution which deems that all new states are admitted on an equal basis of the others. The Common Law surrounding this doctrine recognizes that the state’s have authority over waters which are navigable and maintained as free and open public highways.

      However, state authority extends only to the waters, while the United States maintains ownership and exclusive authority of the streambed.

      The authority of the states (and hence, public ownership) do not lawfully extend beyond those two parameters.

      Congress maintains the absolute right to dispose of the waters and the submerged lands (streambed) beneath it and has done so through a large body of Public Laws beginning in 1803 with the little known Harrison Act. More commonly it disposed of both, under the Homestead Act of 1862 and the several Acts of Congress that embody the Mining Law of the United States.

      Property rights absolutely can and DO encompass the water and especially the streambeds beneath said waters. Locally, one of the greatest prime examples is the Applegate River which is over 98% private on both sides of the river to the center of the river. On the opposite side is the navigable portion of the Rogue River, which downstream of Grants Pass is considered a free and open Public Highway. This portion of the river downstream of Grants Pass is indeed “public” and is under state management. Where rivers are navigable, the landowners on both sides of the river must respect the Public’s right to use said waterway as a free and open highway.

      As a general rule of thumb, land and water is split estate, meaning that both are unique properties and were typically obtained separately. In the old days, when all of this Western land was still being settled, it was typically necessary for a settler to file a separate claim on BOTH the land and the water they needed, unless the settler pre-empted and already had use of the water in conjunction with the land via the Law of Possession.

      The Mining Law of this country, which is largely embodied in what is commonly referred to as the 1872 Act, conveys a unique form of property. Although it primarily conveys “mineral deposits” to the claimant, the grant extended to ALL the People of the United States a relatively large body of protected property rights. Both the 1866 and the 1870 Acts addressed the issue of water and ultimately grants a property interest in the water, provided that the miner does not deprive others or impair the rights of others. This is still current federal law.

      Obviously, nobody ever said that this is a simple subject to understand and it’s safe to say that unlike previous generations, most property owners today really do not understand the extent and/or limitations of their property rights. It is about time that the average person correct this and make it a point to actually learn about property.

      As far as Bates, the ultimate issue is that he appears to not know the bounds of his authority, does not understand an iota of basic property law and is ultimately, so arrogant that he believes that he is above the law. That is no exaggeration. In Galice Mining District’s suit against Bates, et. al., it has been argued that Bates and his co-conspirators are IMMUNE FROM THE LAW.

  5. Eric Dubin says:

    To be clear, mining claims are not the only property issue here. SB401 would impact tens of thousands of people, and would greatly lower property values for many. This is just a fact, regardless of how one wants to think about “protection” of rivers (and trying to sweep down form upon high and ram through legislation impacting 14,000+ miles of Oregon river without extensive discussions with impacted parties is just flat-out wrong. Bates likes to dismiss the recall saying things like, “If every proposed bill is a level for recall, we couldn’t function.” I totally agree. SB401, in particular, isn’t just any bill proposed (and the miner-specific bills were illegal). SB401 was a massive land lock-up that he attempted to ram through the Senate with just a trivial level of public discussion. When word finally got out that this giant sausage was being pushed through Salem, he backed off and changed the bill to be a “study bill” that would report back in Jan., 2015 about the prospects of naming these 30 rivers and river segments “wild & scenic.” This, from the man that originally declared the existence of a state of emergency (literally says as much in the bill) and used that false claim to justify pushing this sausage through Salem.

    Again, even reasonable environmentalists that look for more river protection can agree that his stewardship of this whole “emergency” was executed poorly. We elect representatives to represent us but they can’t do that if they don’t talk to groups outside of their designated safe zone of existing supporters (KS Wild, etc.). 14,000 miles of rivers folks, with a 1/2 mile buffer around them. Think about it.

  6. Eric Dubin says:

    Sorry, the link I provided above isn’t working for some reason. Just go to http://www.cftg.org and click on the link for the Bates Recall. That will take you to the same page. — thanks.

  7. JOE KUCERA says:


    1. Kerby Jackson says:

      In answer to your suggestion to contact Bates.

      I happen to be one of the miners who have filed suit against Alan Bates and can tell you that Bates was contacted by REGISTERED MAIL on multiple occasions and given the opportunity to discuss his bills with the mining community and other interested parties. The receipts of those registered mailings will be gladly supplied to the media on request. HUNDREDS of other miners also contacted him by e-mail, mail and by phone. Many of those e-mails and letters have been published and are freely available online.

      Bates was also PUBLICLY challenged to a broadcasted debate over his bills and again, did not respond.

      Bates was also asked to appear at a miner’s rally on the front steps of the state capital and instead, slipped away out the back door.

      This ultimately means one of two things:

      Either his staff has kept him completely in the dark (which I doubt) or Alan Bates is lying.

  8. David Ayers says:

    Sheriff Gilbertson “The Feds have no authority”, is using the miners, for his pal Allyn Ford, in an attempt to get The Ford’s chainsaws at what are left of our forests. Their “State Of Jefferson” is no joke to these insurrectos and they would fly a swastika above us. These are fools, being worked by rich nazis. This is treason to America. Treason committed for money and with their eyes wide open. Goilbertson, Ford, and a few others should be facing a gallows.

    1. Eric Dubin says:

      All this time I been told the so-called right-wing and tea party folks had the most outlandish conspiracy theories. David Ayers, I thank you for disabusing me of any such silly notion.

  9. Eathan Mertz says:

    Wow, Senator Bates! To say that none of us have contacted you is absolutely ludicrous! I have a reply from your office sitting in my inbox from January, before much of this legislation even made it out of committee.

    A recall is justified when a Senator is grossly irresponsible with his office. SB 401 would open the state of Oregon up to lawsuit after lawsuit. We’re not talking about navigable streams where Oregon has authority. We’re talking about smaller streams on federal land, county land, city land and private property and a proposed 1/4 mile easement on either side of each stream. Oregon can’t afford to defend takings at that level and any responsible person would know that.

    The proposed dredge mining moratoreum is also irresponsible. Study after study has already been done and they all conclude no significant impact. Do we now have fringes on the left denying science too? California Fish and Game just finished the same study Bates proposes. Are they not willing to loan Oregon a copy? Personally, I think Oregon should give them a call and ask rather than spend the millions to get the same results…

  10. Mark Clay says:

    Utilizing tactics of fear and disinformation, the kind of sham legislation generated by Bates and his “crew” seeks to validate itself as urgently needed to save native fish populations while a multitude of other, more detrimental factors such as municipal pollution, farm waste run-off, decreased stream flows, and increased water temperatures go unaddressed. This group, feeding upon the growing and important environmentalist movement in the country, and relying upon the fact that most voters are uninformed with regards to particular waterway conditions, would have the public believe that a small, already highly regulated group of recreational placer miners are laying waste to streambeds and polluting waterways, studiously omitting the fact that these miners remove much of the toxic lead left in streams by anglers. This group also employs the latest weapon of pseudo-science terrorism in their arsenal, the mercury issue, again studiously avoiding the fact that winter storms naturally churn up 1000s of times as much streambed and hidden mercury as gold dredgers as is evidenced by natural “scours” of stream channels.
    Since hydraulic mining was outlawed long ago, and recreational placer miners have been limited to a painstakingly small nozzle diameter of four inches, there is relatively little effect miners can have on streambeds (where the majority of rock diameters exceed four inches.) Many gold dredgers actually consider themselves friends of the fish as many eager mouths await the tiny morsels freed during dredging activities.
    The most significant environmental impact of Senate Bill 401 is a negative one resulting from turning over private property river access to the public, to strangers with no responsibility or commitment to the property. One need only visit a public river recreation site to witness the destruction (graffiti, broken bottles, trash, erosion) that public access produces. The public already has access to all BLM and National Forest lands so there is no need to widen the potential area of destruction.
    Perhaps Oregonians want the distinction of being the state where you can pull up your boat next to anyone’s riverside home to swig beer and party. Why limit the public’s access to private river property? Why not make all private property bordering public parks and public lands open to public access as well? Or would that not sit well with Senator Bates’ wealthy hometown constituents near Lithia Park?

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