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Gov. Brown considers veto of ditch cleaning bill

SALEM, Oregon — Gov. Kate Brown said she might veto a bill that changes the law regulating the materials farmers can remove from ditches, citing the ditches as potential salmon habitat.

State Sen. Betsy Johnson (D-Scappoose) sponsored Bill 24-37, and she told Brown’s staff that they’re making a mistake.

“I told them it was a mistake for a variety of reasons,” Johnson said. “I believe it’s good policy and I believe it represented good process.”

Johnson pointed out that while some may call the ditches pristine salmon habitat, they really are just ditches, and the farmers need to clean them to keep good farming practices in place.

“Organic material grows in the bottom of drainage ditches,” Johnson said. “It sloughs off the banks and it accumulates and the ditch has to be cleaned out periodically to keep the water flow working.”

Gov. Brown has until Friday to make her veto decision.

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