UPDATE: Snake River Ranchers vs Federal Government

February 17, 2018

Public Statement - FOR IMMEDIATE PUBLIC RELEASE – February 16th 2018


‘The Three Percenters – Original’ continues to support the rancher Walter “Sonny” Riley in Pomeroy, Washington.

We have been in direct and close contact with Sonny and have heard his story first hand. We will be sending a very small party to visit with him, interview him, and survey the area that is being disputed. We also have contacted the Whitman County Assessor and Sheriff to notify them of the dispute. We have received their appreciation and support at this time.

After days of intense research we have gained a better understanding of this dispute and the charges that have been filed. Here is a synopsis:

In the mid 1940’s Sonny’s father Walter Riley Sr. purchased the land along the Snake River in Washington. In the 1960’s the United States Army Corps of Engineers began their dam construction along the river causing water levels to rise. The railroad tracks also had to be placed on higher ground due to the water rise. Using imminent domain, the Army Corps of Engineers surveyed and then fenced their land. When they arrived at Walter Sr.’s piece of land on west side of Highway 127 just north of the Snake River, they encountered a building that was on their fence line. In order to avoid purchasing the building, they fenced around it, and provided Walter Riley Sr. (Sonny’s father) with maps of the survey that show the changes around his property.

From the mid 1960’s until 2011, there was no issue. Walter Riley Sr. passed away in 2001 and Sonny took over the ranch. In 2011 he received a letter to “Cease and Desist” all ranching activity on the disputed land, which is less than 1 acre. They responded and spent nearly 2 years negotiating a land trade or purchase. Those talks ended abruptly and without reason. The negotiator for the US Government was later fired (His name is known but has been redacted to protect his identity).

No more contact with Sonny Riley was made, until Jan 19th, 2018 when he was charged with trespassing and disposal of animal carcasses on United States Government Property.

We have pulled all records from the Whitman Country Assessor. We have obtained maps from the Library of Congress. We are researching aerial views of the area from multiple time periods.

All of this effort is being done to try and handle this without trial and to prove that this is another case of Governmental harassment all due to a clerical error on their own behalf. It is most plausible that the Army Corps in the 1960’s made a change on paper, but failed to update the survey.  This goes to show that the Government is incapable of admitting mistake, and will go to any length to infringe on the rights of The People.

We continue urge the Government and the prosecutor’s office in Spokane, Washington to work with the Riley family to solve this issue in a civil manner that is easily workable from both sides.  We urge the Assistant U.S. Attorney Vanessa Waldref to consider the proposals submitted to her office, which would resolve this issue peacefully.

She can be reached at:


Fax: 509−353−2766,

Email:  USAWAE.VWaldrefECF@usdoj.gov


We also recommend that you contact Congresswoman Cathy McMorris Rodgers through her website: https://mcmorris.house.gov/contact/

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