Oregon Department of State Lands has suspended its efforts to implement new, controversial administrative rule changes, according to state Sen. Betsy Johnson.

Johnson said today that she had spoken with DSL Director Louise Solliday and the agency has stepped away from the rulemaking process.

A meeting planned in Astoria Wednesday to discuss the rules has been canceled.

"These were very controversial rules, and I pleaded with the governor's office and others to suspend the effort to put them in place," Johnson told The Daily Astorian. "I'm glad to say my opinion and that of many others held today."

The suspension is indefinite, according to DSL.

"We believe we need more time to listen and respond to the public's issues and concerns relating to the waterway authorization process," Solliday said.

At statehood in 1859, Oregon gained ownership of all land underlying navigable and tidally influenced waters. Upland property owners must have authorization from DSL to place a structure on this state-owned land.

The department issues authorizations for such uses as docks, boat houses, marinas and recreational cabins on state-owned "submerged and submersible" land.

New rules proposed last year aimed to increase the number of authorizations the state required as well as the fees for state leases.

Rules governing these authorizations have been in place since 1972, and changes have been made over time to reflect new types of uses or to clarify rule provisions. The last major revision occurred in the late 1990s.

Look for more details online and in print editions of The Daily Astorian.

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