Some folks treat the river and city docks the way some other folks treat the sidewalks and the parks

DAVID F. ASHTON - Although watercraft are only permitted to tie up at Portland Parks docks for a maximum of four hours, it appears some itinerant boaters have taken up permanent residence along the Willamette River - like these, at Sellwood Riverfront Park. Once again, in December, at least one – and probably more – of the same "boat campers" who last August were tied up for days at the Sellwood Riverfront Park dock along the Willamette River, were again moored there – again, and yet again.

"They get chased away – but soon, sometimes a day later – the boats are back, tied up again to the dock," neighbor Eli Roberts told THE BEE in late December. "I run my dog here in the park almost every day, and I watch the people living on these boats treat the dock like their own moorage. And I wonder what they're dumping into the river, from buckets, in the morning."

To find out more about the situation, THE BEE contacted Portland Parks & Recreation Public Information Officer Mark Ross to ask what Park Rangers can do to keep the same "river campers" from returning to, and tying up to, the same docks, in the same parks.

"Portland Park Rangers strive to educate park visitors on the rules," Ross began. "Park sites are for everyone, and the rules on docking boats are meant to maintain access for all. 

"For serious violations, Park Rangers may issue park exclusions, with the support of Multnomah County Sheriff's Office; and, PP&R Security works closely with Department of State Lands (DSL) regarding vessels on PP&R property," Ross remarked. "DSL has a policy in place to permit towing vessels which are out of compliance for an extended period; however, our desired outcome is that the boater remove their vessel and follow park rules."

According to regulations, boats can be tied up at PP&R park docks for no longer than four hours at a time, Ross said.


Monitoring docks, and having boats removed, can take PP&R staff away from other duties. "With more than 200 parks and natural areas spread over 11,500 acres, any persistent issue is going to tap into our limited Ranger staff capacity," Ross reflected.


Call the Park Rangers

For emergencies, such as crimes in progress, call 9-1-1. "And the Parks Bureau welcomes problem reports from park-users for any non-emergency issue in a city park, via e-mail – This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. – or call 503/823-1637," Ross told THE BEE.

For issues centering on livability, and/or related to homelessness (anywhere on city land, not just in a park), use Portland's "One Point of Contact" system:

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