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Oregon businesses sign a letter in support of the River Democracy Act

Currently, only 2% or 2,173 miles of the state’s 110,000 miles of rivers are protected as Wild and Scenic.

Posted: Oct 12, 2021 7:43 AM
Updated: Oct 12, 2021 9:12 AM

MEDFORD, Ore. -- Oregon Senators Jeff Merkley and Ron Wyden Introduced legislation meant to protect 4,700 miles of Oregon rivers, calling it the River Democracy Act.

The bill was brought forward in February 2021 and has yet to be passed.

This came following the nomination of more than 15,000 rivers and streams by nearly 2,500 Oregonians.

A growing number of businesses from across Oregon are supporting Sens. Wyden and Merkley’s initiative, and are urging Congress to pass the bill.

A letter released in late September was signed by businesses from every corner of the state ranging from outdoor recreation outfitters to “mom and pop shops."

The letter reads in part, "The Oregon economy relies heavily on outdoor recreation, for which clean water and a healthy environment are necessary. Restaurants, hotels, guides, and outdoor adventure stores all rely on protected waters and lands to draw tourism to our state.”

Priscilla Macy, Executive Director of Oregon Outfitters & Guides Association, brought the letter to Newswatch 12's attention. She says outdoor recreation is the backbone of Oregon’s economy.

"According to a recent study by travel Oregon, 95% of Oregonians participate in outdoor recreation each year so we know that the number is growing."

In 2019 alone, Oregonians and out-of-state travelers spent $15.6 billion on outdoor recreation and related expenses, supporting 224,000 jobs.

“Having healthy rivers is key to our fifty-five year old Oregon business,” said Zac Kauffman of Sawyer Paddles & Oars in Gold Hill. “Now more than ever, people seek to visit the rivers, lakes, and streams of our region, and by protecting Southern Oregon’s rivers, Senators Wyden and Merkley are investing in the economic engine that makes our state run.”

Currently, only 2% or 2,173 miles of the state’s 110,000 miles of rivers are protected as Wild and Scenic, and the River Democracy Act would increase that to 6%.

The roughly 200 businesses who signed the letter today come in addition to the over 50 breweries who sent a letter earlier this summer in support of the legislation.

Oregon Coronavirus Cases

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Cases: 357526

Reported Deaths: 4284
CountyCasesDeaths
Multnomah55810707
Washington38782324
Marion36837455
Clackamas29779309
Lane27744302
Jackson23059310
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Umatilla14492150
Linn12911131
Douglas12118243
Josephine9384196
Yamhill8715113
Klamath8020119
Polk737381
Malheur563677
Benton549431
Coos503794
Columbia382644
Jefferson376052
Lincoln319939
Union319549
Crook291846
Wasco288841
Clatsop244328
Baker203529
Tillamook196932
Hood River192837
Morrow185023
Curry180625
Harney113927
Grant100013
Lake93912
Wallowa68612
Gilliam1544
Sherman1523
Wheeler1121
Unassigned00

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Cases: 4848946

Reported Deaths: 71328
CountyCasesDeaths
Los Angeles148303126527
Riverside3716705041
San Diego3666614183
San Bernardino3586775692
Orange3242885562
Sacramento1596362309
Kern1463481648
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Santa Clara1455431897
Alameda1206921400
San Joaquin1027761721
Ventura1010381167
Contra Costa1000181008
Stanislaus862991335
Tulare80375978
San Francisco54440649
San Mateo54168623
Monterey50911586
Solano46063341
Santa Barbara45223523
Merced42422581
Sonoma40997404
Placer39435429
Imperial36071766
Kings32938325
San Luis Obispo29973333
Madera23955285
Shasta23924352
Butte23818273
Santa Cruz21034221
Yolo20397248
Marin17706244
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Sutter13937175
Napa12898100
Yuba1011582
Tehama9534110
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Nevada916790
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Tuolumne691790
Lake6631105
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Calaveras391481
Del Norte358742
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Inyo214241
Mono16723
Plumas16607
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Trinity88011
Modoc6895
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