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MailTribune.com
  • Landowners can take legal action against drones

  • For several hours yesterday a drone was flying over our property and a few properties adjacent to ours. We live in the county. It seemed like such an invasion of our privacy that we concluded we could (A) call some "official," (B) shoot it down with a shotgun (probably not legal), (C) moon it, or (D) all of the above. Most of...
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  • For several hours yesterday a drone was flying over our property and a few properties adjacent to ours. We live in the county. It seemed like such an invasion of our privacy that we concluded we could (A) call some "official," (B) shoot it down with a shotgun (probably not legal), (C) moon it, or (D) all of the above. Most of our friends recommended option (D), but we are opting for (A) — with you as our "official." What legal recourse does a landowner have? Thanks!
    — Vicki Purslow,Jackson County
    You were on the right side of the law steering clear of option (B) Vicki, though who could blame you had it been chosen.
    Here is the letter of the law.
    In 2012, the Oregon Legislature passed House Bill 2710 to regulate the use of drones in Oregon. The vast majority of the bill is directed toward law enforcement use of drones, but there is a civil section of the bill that covers your dilemma.
    It states that a property owner can take legal action against the operator of a drone, but only if the drone is being flown at a height of less that 400 feet over the property against the wishes of the property owner.
    Before suing the drone operator, you, as the property owner, must notify the operator that you do not want the drone flown over your property at a height of less than 400 feet.
    If the civil lawsuit is decided in your favor, according to the bill, you "may recover treble damages for any injury to the person or the property by reason of a trespass by a drone ... and may be awarded injunctive relief in the action."
    Your attorney fees also will be repaid if the amount pleaded is less than $10,000.
    In Oregon, this bill is the only law regulating drones as of now, because it bars local governments from creating laws to regulate drones.
    Send questions to "Since You Asked," Mail Tribune Newsroom, P.O. Box 1108, Medford, OR 97501; by fax to 541-776-4376; or by email to youasked@mailtribune.com. We're sorry, but the volume of questions received prevents us from answering all of them.
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