State orders boaters to ship out
PORTLAND — Oregon regulators are telling people living on boats on the Willamette River to move on or risk fines.
The Oregon Department of State Lands is cracking down on long-term boaters on the river, saying they are on a state-owned waterway without permission, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported (https://is.gd/kaC3bw).
Lori Warner-Dickason, the state department's operations manager, said this is the first comprehensive sweep of boaters since the agency began tracking the number of people living on the water in 2014. She said there are about 50 boat owners on the river between the Willamette Cove and the Fremont bridge, less than the 75 of 2014 because some vessels have left the water or sunk since then.
So far 14 boat owners on the river between the Sellwood and Hawthorne bridges have been given trespassing notices on suspicion of living along state-owned waterways for at least 30 days.
Boaters have been given 20 days to move to another spot at least five miles away and not return for a year, move to a marina or contest the citation. If they don't comply, they can be fined $100 a day until they move or their boats will be seized.
Rix Miles Chapman, 47, is among those who have been told to leave. He said he has been living mostly on the river for about seven years. He said he was sick of paying landlords and dealing with neighbors and decided to stop. He said he moves for special events, like the Fourth of July fireworks display or a barge, but that he expects to stay.
"They're mad that I don't have to pay anyone anything," he said. "This is public water, and I'm not bothering anyone. What they told me is that I'm breaking an administrative rule. Issue me something that says I'm breaking the law, and maybe I'll go."