RFP protest

Katie Geiser of Eugene protests outside of Roseburg Forest Products’ Springfield office on Tuesday. Geiser joined close to 50 people who protested RFP’s claim on water rights near Weed, California.

A senior vice president with Roseburg Forest Products said Wednesday his company, embroiled in a water war with the “Weed 9,” expects its water rights to be upheld in court.

Stuart Gray, senior vice president and general counsel for the company, released an identical statement it did on Dec. 18 in response to picketing at its Springfield offices.

About 50 residents from Weed, California, say a nearly century-old judgment guarantees the northern California community water rights to at least some of Beaughan Springs. Roseburg Forest Products maintains that it has absolute rights to the water from the springs.

Last year, the company took the city of Weed, the Weed 9 and another advocacy group to court to have a judge decide who has ultimate water rights.

Gray said in the statement that the company bought the Beaughan Spring and the water rights in 1983, but it is working with the city while it works out its water needs.

“The lawsuit at issue simply seeks to eliminate challenges to such ownership; the litigation seeks no monetary compensation from any party,” Gray said. “The legal process to affirm that ownership is lengthy and complex.”

Members of the Weed 9 group consider the lawsut a SLAPP — Strategic Lawsuits Against Public Participation — and a way to inhibit their First Amendment rights, an allegation that the company denies.

“The City and Roseburg have a signed water lease agreement to ensure supply while the City seeks alternative sources to replace the small portion of the City’s water supply that the Beaughan Springs agreement represents,” Gray said.

Janelle Polcyn can be reached at jpolcyn@nrtoday.com or 541-957-4204. Or follow her on Twitter @JanellePolcyn.

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Janelle Polcyn is the business reporter at the News-Review, graduated from the University of Texas, and is a podcast enthusiast.

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