Barbara and John Burns standing by their drinking water stream on their home property in Cedar Valley.

Today, the Crag Law Center filed a first-of-its kind lawsuit to protect families in rural Oregon from chemical trespass and exposure to toxic herbicides and pesticides.  In October of 2013, the rural community of Gold Beach, Oregon was sprayed by a soup of toxic chemicals, including 2, 4-d and triclopyr as a result of a forestry operation.  Many landowners who were sprayed and exposed to the chemicals have experienced medical problems, damage to their property, and injury to pets and livestock.

The suit, filed in Curry County Circuit Court, targets the Oregon Right to Farm and Forest law, which insulates pesticide and herbicide applicators from liability for certain claims for nuisance or trespass other than death or serious bodily injury that arise from using these toxic chemicals.  The landowners seeks a declaration that the law is unconstitutional under the Oregon Constitution because it strips away their common law remedies for chemical trespass and violations of their property rights.

For years, rural communities around Oregon have been struggling with exposure to herbicides from forestry operations.  This first-of-its-kind lawsuit targets one of the worst laws in Oregon, which prevents every day landowners from protecting their property and families from large polluters.

Read the press release.

Read the complaint.

Read the previous media coverage of the October 2013 spraying:

Lisa Arkin (E.D., Beyond Toxics) with Barbara and John Burns, members of Beyond Toxics.

Crag is working on the case with Liam Sherlock, a shareholder in the Eugene lawfirm of Hutchinson, Cox, Coons, DuPriest, Orr & Sherlock, OC.


Cedar Valley, Oregon is a narrow valley along Cedar Creek near the mouth of the Rogue River, and is home to dozens of rural Oregonians.