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Historical Navigability Reports
"The Farnell Reports" Concerning the Navigability of Oregon's Waterways
 
In 1973 the Oregon Legislative Assembly enacted Senate Bill 33 (codified as ORS 274.034). This act directed the Department of State Lands (then the Division of State Lands) to "...investigate the issue of navigability of a stream or any portion thereof and...determine, prior to July 1, 1977, the issue of navigability for such stream or portion upon its own motion or upon the request of any person or state agency affected by the Division's performance of its lawful functions."
 
The Department hired Dr. James E. Farnell, a professional historian, to assist agency staff in collecting and analyzing evidence relating to the historical use and condition of many of Oregon's waterways. The goal of this research was to determine which waterways met the requirements of the federal test for title navigability and, therefore, were intended by the federal government to be granted to Oregon at the time of its statehood.
 
Because of the large number of waterways in Oregon, the Department was unable to complete its research by the July 1, 1977 deadline. Therefore, in 1977, and again in 1981, the Legislature extended the date by which these studies were to be completed - the last being by July 1, 1985.  In 1983, the Department completed a report summarizing the historical evidence of use contained in each navigability study completed (commonly referred to as the "Farnell Reports"). This summary ("Report and Recommendation on the Navigable Waters of Oregon") was presented to the Oregon Legislative Assembly in 1983 for its consideration. Following its review of the report, the Legislature rescinded the statutes relating to the Department conducting navigability studies, and enacted and added two sections under the heading "Navigability of Streams."
 
Section 3(1):
"The ‘Report and Recommendation on the Navigable Waters of Oregon’ dated January 1983, prepared by the Division of State Lands pursuant to ORS 274.031 (1981 Replacement Part), shall not constitute a determination of navigability under ORS 274.031 (1981 Replacement Part), and shall be considered an interim report only, nor shall the report change, create or relinquish any right."
 
Section 3(2):
"Any conclusion of the report that a particular body of water is or is not navigable shall not be considered evidence to prove or disprove the navigability of any lake or stream or portion of a stream in the State of Oregon."
 
These reports are provided by the Department as sources of historical information concerning the past use and condition of many of Oregon’s waterways. The determination of the ownership (title navigability) of a waterway must be done through conducting a navigability study pursuant to ORS 274.400 to 274.412 or by the courts.
 

Astoria Rivers, Port of
Calapooia River
Clackamas River
Clatskanie River
Coos and Coquille Rivers
Curry County Rivers
East Central Oregon Rivers
Grand Ronde River
Hood River
Klamath Basin
Lincoln County Rivers
Long Tom River and Coast Fork of the Willamette River
Luckiamute River
Marys River and Rickreall Creek
McKenzie River
Middle Fork Willamette River
Mohawk River
Mollala and Pudding Rivers
Nehalem, Necanicum and Nestucca Rivers
Rogue River
Sandy and Hood Rivers
Santiam River 
Siuslaw River
Smith River and Umpqua Tributaries
Tillamook Bay Rivers
Tualatin River
Umpqua River
Yamhill River