March 4, 2022 – Today, despite overwhelming opposition and expert testimony refuting Senate Bill 1589’s scientific merit, it has passed the House and Senate. The bill is now headed to the Governor’s desk for signing. Our last chance to defeat Senate Bill 1589 is to urge Governor Brown to veto it. Sign our petition to the Governor today at: www.oregonfamiliesforboating.org/actnow.
We would like to thank the boating community for your unwavering commitment to speak out against this unnecessary legislation. Thousands of Oregonians voiced opposition to Senate Bill 1589. In the bill’s final moments on the House floor Democrats and Republicans alike urged their colleagues to vote no on the bill because of the lack of data available to support its claims and the impact it would have on local families and small business. The bill barely passed the House in a 33 – 25 vote.
This legislation will significantly impact boaters who recreate in the Newberg Pool and the small businesses that depend on their support. According to legislative analysts, almost 90% of tow boats currently offered by major manufacturers are over the 5,500-pound combined weight limit. Senate Bill 1589 also sets a dangerous precedent for future restrictions. Upon the Governor’s signature:
“This is a devastating day for Oregon families and small businesses,” said Matt Radich, President of Active Water Sports. “Our public policies should be based on solid data, not unvalidated academic hypotheses, and scientific opinion. I’m disappointed our elected officials have knowingly put Oregonians out of good paying jobs and shrunk small business revenue without any proof that a weight limit or wake sports ban will have any positive impact on river health.”
This bill was pushed under the guide of environmental protection, yet local experts including fisheries scientist at Mount Hood Environmental and ecosystem restoration engineer David Gorman have testified that these assertions lack merit. The Oregon State Marine Board also confirmed with the Legislative Policy and Research Office that they are “not aware of where the 5,000-lb weight-limited proposed in Senate Bill 1589 is derived from.
Oregon is quickly becoming one of the least friendly places for recreational boating in the entire nation. Over the last two years bans or significant towed water sports restrictions have been enacted across an unprecedented 41 miles of the Upper and Lower Willamette River. In addition, earlier this month Portland Metro surprised residents of Blue Lake in North Portland with a motorized boat ban without any public hearing or discussion.
Oregon Families for Boating is committed to ensuring boating opportunities are accessible to all Oregonians. We are urging the Oregon State Marine Board to conduct the study proposed in the bill to increase the boat weight limit and will explore all avenues to come up with a more sensible solution for all users to safely share the Newberg Pool. Keeping our waterways safe and healthy is a top priority and we will continue to advocate for education and enforcement, rather than overregulation.
Those who would like to apply for the Newberg Pool Towed Watersports Certificate can find out more on the Oregon State Marine Board website. The new requirements should be updated in the coming months.
Another way Oregonians can advocate for fair access to our waterways is to support elected officials who voted against Senate Bill 1589. Many are coming up for reelection soon. Below is a complete list of how our elected officials cast their vote. You can confirm who your local legislators are at: https://www.oregonlegislature.gov/findyourlegislator/leg-districts.html
Legislators Who Voted FOR SB 1589 (AY)
Rep. Alonso Leon
Senator Gelser Blouin
Senator Lawrence Spence
Senator Manning Jr
Rep. Smith G.
Rep. Smith Warner
Senator Steiner Hayward
Legislators Who Voted AGAINST SB 1589 (NAY)
Rep. Smith DB