Save Our Canals Association
May 21,2006 00:00 by John P. Robbins

Save Our Canals Association is a group of concerned property owners; we number about 100 property owners that live along the Swalley and the Central Oregon Irrigation Districts canals. As property owners we have come together to protect our property from being defaced and devalued by the irrigation districts ridiculous concept of piping their canals that run through our backyards.

We recently were ruled against in federal court by Judge Aiken. The ruling was, yes the easement law does say only canals and ditches, but I the judge, believe that this is just a modern way of delivering the water. Also, without any input from us, the property owners, Judge Aiken ruled that an above ground pipe in your back yard is not a burden. I loved to roll a six foot pipe into the judge?s backyard; I bet that pipe would be considered a burden.

We also, are not against water conservation or the safety of the canals; we are about protecting our properties from an easement holder. Water conservation can be accomplished with sealing and lining parts of the canal at roughly 10% of the cost of a pipe. Abutments much like the rocks in the canal can be created to slow the water down. Safety concerns can be address by fencing individual properties.
Just as aggravating as the piping itself is that Swalley and COID is asking the City of Bend to pay for the installation of the new pipeline via an increase in Bend water and sewer bills. Swalley is projecting that they will make between $200,000.00 and $250,000.00 per year off of the pocket books of Bend citizens.

The open canals are a unique and precious asset that contributes to the beauty and livability of Bend. It would be a shame to see such an asset be taken away on an idea that is not only a monetary waste but a poor remedy to our water conservation and safety problem. 

For more information or to join Save Our Canals Association please contact
John P. Robbins 541-382-8083
or email