Code Enforcement FAQ
- Commercial Business
- Residential Neighborhood
- Environmental Concerns
Q: What can be done about my neighbor’s rooster that wakes me up?
A: Chickens (and roosters) are allowed in all areas of the County, but in areas within the urban area and/or residential zoning districts there are restrictions. Please see Section 821 of the Clackamas County Zoning and Development Ordinance or check with the Planning and Zoning Division at 503-742-4500 or online at email@example.com.
Q: My neighbor has a lot of dogs -- is that a problem?
A: A person can have many dogs as long as they meet the criteria in Section 5.01.040 of Title 5 of the Clackamas County Code, which takes the size of the property into account. A person cannot keep dogs with the intent of making a profit without land use approval. Dog breeding and/or kennels, training facilities, etc. require land use approval. Check with Land Use and Zoning at 503-742-4500 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Q: There are feral cats in my neighborhood. Who can rescue them?
A: There is a feline rescue center in Lake Oswego that may be able to assist you. Please visit their website at http://www.theoregoncat.org/
Q: I think my neighbor has hundreds of animals in their house, who should I call?
A: Call the non-emergency dispatch number for the Clackamas County Sheriff’s office at 503-655-8211
Q: There is a strange dog roaming the neighborhood, can the County pick it up?
A: You should contact Dog Services at 503-655-8628 to report this. If the dog is acting aggressively, please call 911.
Q: A dog in the neighborhood barks constantly. Can the County talk to the owners about it?
A: Clackamas County Dog Services does not respond to complaints of barking dogs. Please contact Clackamas County Dispute Resolution at 503-655-8850
Q: Who can I call about rats in the neighborhood?
A: The County does not have resources available to provide citizens assistance with rodent problems. You would need to seek advice from an exterminator service or provide or purchase your own method of eradication.
Q: Who can I contact about a horse that looks thin and has no food?
A: Livestock neglect is a criminal matter. If you believe an animal is not receiving adequate food and water to maintain a healthy body weight please call the non-emergency dispatch for the Clackamas County Sheriff office at 503-655- 8211
Q: There is a pig farm down the street that smells, can anything be done?
A: If the smell is derived from a farm practice in a zone that allows farming there is no ordinance prohibiting the smell. If the pig farm is in the urban area or residential area please call the Planning and Zoning Division at 503-742-4500 or online at email@example.com to determine if the farming practice is an allowed use in the zoning district applied to that property.
Q: The farm next door is stockpiling their manure near the fence, is this OK?
A: Composting manure in the rural zones is a common agricultural practice which is regulated by the Oregon Department of Agriculture at 503-986-4550
If the property is in the urban area this may be violation of the Clackamas County Solid Waste and Waste Management Code. Please call 503-742-4452 to report a violation.
Q: The flies from the animals on my neighbor’s property are coming onto my property, what can I do?
A: If the animals are allowed per the zoning district applied to the property then there is little the County can do to decrease the fly populations. There are numerous traps, sprays and services that may provide a solution.
Q: There are a lot of dogs next door and my neighbor doesn’t pick up their feces, the smell is terrible. Can the waste just be left in the yard?
A: Accumulating animal feces is a violation of Chapter 10.03 of the Clackamas County Code. It must be disposed of in an appropriate manner. Please call 503-742-4452 to report this violation.
Dead animal in Right of Way
Q: I saw a dead deer in the ditch, who should I tell?
A: The Clackamas County Transportation Maintenance Division may be able to remove the animal if it is causing a hazard on a County road. Please call 911 to report the hazard.
Q: There is a house down the street that has someone staying in a recreational vehicle on their property, is that allowed?
A: It is the County’s policy to allow people to use recreational vehicles as temporary living space for a period not to exceed 30 days in a calendar year. This use is intended primarily for guests. There may be a way to legalize the use for a longer period of time; however, the criterion for this approval is very specific and there is a formal application process. See Section 1204 of the Zoning and Development Ordinance or call the Land Use and Zoning Division at 503-742-4500 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: My neighbor lets his kids “camp” in a tent all summer long in the back yard, is this allowed?
A: The County does not regulate this type of activity as long as it is on an occasional basis when the occupant(s) of the tent have a regular bedroom in the residence on the property.
Q: I believe someone is living full time in a tent in my neighborhood, are there any rules about this?
A: The County does regulate this activity when it occurs on a regular basis and the person(s) occupying the tent do not have a bedroom in the residence on the property. The use of a tent on residential property for additional living space is not allowed. Call 503-742-4452 to report this violation.
Q: I saw a person camping in an undeveloped area of the County, is that legal?
A: The County prohibits camping in areas which are not specifically designated for such use. Call 503-742-4452 to report this violation.
Q: A house down the street has loud parties all the time, who can I call?
A: Call the non-emergency dispatch number for the Clackamas County Sherriff's office at 503-655-8211. If you are reporting a life and death emergency, or an in progress property crime, call 9-1-1.
Q: There are cars next door that haven’t moved for years, is this allowed?
A: Vehicles must be operable, licensed, and registered to the property. If they do not meet this criterion the County considers them to be a violation of Section 10.03 of the Clackamas County Code. Call 503-742-4452 to report this violation.
Dump Trucks/Log Trucks/Semi Trucks
Q: My neighbor is a truck driver and he parks his truck in his driveway or on the street, is this allowed?
A: No vehicle in excess of 11,000 GVW can be parked or stored in a residential zone without land use approval. The truck owner/operator may be able to obtain a permit allowing this activity if they can comply with the criteria in Section 822 of the Clackamas County Zoning and Development Ordinance
In Right of Way
Q: There has been a car sitting in the street for days, it looks abandoned, who can I call to have it removed?
A: Vehicles cannot be left in the Right of Way for more than 72 hours. Contact the non-emergency dispatch number for the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office at 503-655-8211.
Q: My neighbor has 10 cars on his property and he hardly ever drives any of them, is there a limit to how many vehicles can be on a property?
A: There is no regulation as to how many vehicles a person can own as long as they are registered to the property, currently licensed and are operational.
In a Residence
Q: There is a business running from the property down the street, do they need a license?
A: The County supports economic development by promoting home based businesses (home occupations); however, the business must meet the criteria in Section 822 of the Clackamas County Zoning and Development ordinance. Home Occupations are allowed in many zoning districts; however, land use approval is required. Please contact the Planning and Zoning Division at 503-742-4500 or online at email@example.com for more information.
Q: I noticed graffiti on the back of a building and some more on a fence and it looks horrible. How can I get it cleaned up?
A: Clackamas County Code Chapter 6.11 states that it is the responsibility of the affected property owner to remove any graffiti within 72 hours after being “tagged”. Failure to do so is a violation of 6.11 of the Clackamas County Code Call 503-742-4452 to report this violation. If you see graffiti being applied, call 911
Q: My neighbor is building and I think he is too close to the property line, how can I find out?
A: The Clackamas County Planning and Zoning Division can tell you what the setbacks are in your area. Please call 503-742-4500 for more information or online at firstname.lastname@example.org
Q: The person next door just put up a fence that appears to be about 8’ tall, is a permit required?
A: A fence over 6’ requires a building permit. Please contact the Building Codes Division for more information at 503-742-4739 or call 503-742-4452 to report a violation.
Too Many People
Q: I know a house that has 4 bedrooms but there are 12 people living in it, is this a violation?
A: Clackamas County does not have a housing code that regulates the number of occupants in a dwelling. If the property is on septic, the Soils Department may be able to address this issue due to the added load on the septic system. Contact the Soils department at 503-742-4740m to report this potential problem.
Q: My neighbor’s tree branches are growing over onto my property, can I cut the branches that are on my side of the property line?
A: The County can not give legal advise. In this situation it may be best to contact an attorney to determine what your rights and responsibilities may be.
Q: Someone cut down all the trees on their property, is this a violation?
A: In some circumstances this may be a violation. Please call the Clackamas County Planning and Zoning Division at 503-742-4500 or online at email@example.com for more information.
Q: The man down the street never mows his lawn and the grass is now 3’ tall, can the County make him cut it?
A: Many cities within Clackamas County do have a high grass or noxious vegetation ordinance; however, Clackamas County does not. Properties located outside of City limits but within the County are not required to cut their grass or remove noxious vegetations such as blackberry vines, English Ivy, etc, nor can the County require residential property owners to maintain their landscaping. You may contact Clackamas County Dispute Resolution for free mediation services at 503-655-8850.
Q: The neighbor’s pool is half full of green water and I’m concerned about mosquitoes, would the County address this issue?
A: As long as there is an adequate barrier around the pool, the County would not regulate this. You can contact Vector Control at 503-655-8394 to discuss a solution for mosquitoes.
Q: There are several old tires on a neighboring property full of water, isn’t that a breeding ground for mosquitoes?
A: An accumulation of junk tires is a violation of Chapter 10.03 of the Solid Waste and Waste Management Code. Please call 503-742-4452 to report this violation.
Q: A house down the street has loud parties all the time, who can I call?
A: Call the non-emergency dispatch number for the Clackamas County Sherriff’s office at 503-655-8211. If you are reporting a life and death emergency, or an in-progress property crime, call 9-1-1
Q: There is a lot of loud banging, sawing and grinding noise coming from the garage next door, I think they are running a business. Is a noisy business allowed in my neighborhood?
A: Businesses in residential zones may be allowed; however, the County would regulate the activity including restricting the noise level. Please call the Planning and Zoning Division at 503-742-4500 or online at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Q: The people next door have dirt bikes and ride them all day long, I am tired of the noise and dust, is there anything that can be done?
A: Riding dirt bikes or ATV’s on private property for personal use is allowed in most areas of the County; however, if the noise is excessive it may be a violation of the Clackamas County Noise Ordinance which is regulated by the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office. Please call the Clackamas County Sheriff's non-emergency dispatch at 503-655-8211.
If there are “events” happening on the property on a regular basis which are open to the public or where a fee for admission is being charged, this activity would constitute a violation of the Clackamas County Zoning and Development ordinance. To report these violations please call 503-742-4452.
Q: The person next door installed a bright light that shines into my house all night long. Are there any rules that would address this situation?
A: Clackamas County does not have any lighting regulations that would address this issue. The County does, however, offer free mediation services to residents of the County. Please contact Clackamas County Dispute Resolution at 503-655-8850.
Q: My neighbor has one of those portable basketball hoops and he leaves it in the street or on the sidewalk all the time. I’ve asked them to move it but they continue to leave it there. Can anything be done?
A: Portable basketball hoops are not prohibited; however, using, storing or abandoning a portable basketball hoop on the public road or in the public right-of-way is a violation of Chapter 7.03 of the Clackamas County Code. Please call 503-742-4452 to report this violation.
Q: There is a person standing on the street corner in my neighborhood selling produce, is that allowed?
A: Unless the person placed objects in the right-of-way such as a table that caused a hazard, the County would not address this issue.
Q: My landlord and I don’t agree on the conditions of my rental unit, who can I talk to?
A: The County does not have a housing maintenance code requiring landlords to maintain certain living conditions. This is a landlord/tenant issue and a civil matter. Please contact Clackamas County Community Resources at 503-650-5750 for assistance.
Q: People walk their dogs and don’t pick up after them and I can’t get the managers to address the problem, can the County help?
A: An accumulation of dog feces is a violation of the Chapter 10.03 of the Solid Waste and Waste Management Code. Please call 503-742-4452 to report this violation.
Q: The maintenance company is working on some units of my apartment complex. I’m not sure if they need permits or not. How can I determine if permits are required for the work they are doing?
A: If you are unsure if work being done requires permits or may already be permitted, contact the Building Codes Division at 503-742-4739.
Rivers, Streams and Ponds
Q: I saw some trees being cut down and vegetation by a stream being removed, is that something the County would regulate?
A: Most streams and all rivers within Clackamas County have a protected “buffer”. This distance varies depending on the size of the waterway. Tree cutting, vegetation clearing, or any sort of development within or near a stream bank without a required permit is a violation of the Clackamas County Zoning and Development Ordinance. For more information, please call the Clackamas County Planning and Zoning Division at 503-742-4500 or online at email@example.com or call 503-742-4452 to report a violation.
Q: I saw a piece of heavy equipment working in the creek near my home, is that ok?
A: Any grading, excavation or "tractor work" in or within a protected buffer along the creek bank without required permits is strictly prohibited and constitutes a violation of the Clackamas County Zoning and Development Ordinance. Please call 503-742-4452 to report this violation.
Q: My neighbor is digging a big hole in his field to create a pond, is this regulated by the County?
A: Any grading, excavations or filling which is in excess of 50 cubic yards, exceeds more than a foot in depth, except for agricultural purposes or which changes the flow of surface water drainage requires a grading permit. Additionally, creating a pond requires approval from the Oregon Water Resources Department. Please call 503-742-4452 to report this violation.
Q: I noticed that there is mold growing in my house despite how much I clean, what can I do?
A: Mold is a common problem in Oregon due to the wet weather and mild temperatures. It’s possible that there is a structural problem in your home that is allowing inadequate ventilation which may be causing too much moisture to remain in your home. The County does not address mold issues. You can obtain more information on mold at the following links. www.oregon.gov/DHS/ph/envtox/mold.shtml
Q: There is water coming from an adjacent property onto mine causing me problems, are there any rules regarding this?
A: The County does not enforce Oregon Drainage Law in regards to groundwater runoff from neighboring properties. This is a civil matter and legal counsel should be contacted or, the County does offer free mediation services to residents of the County. Please contact Clackamas County Dispute Resolution at 503-655-8850.
Q: There are bushes growing over the sidewalk so we have to walk in the street to avoid them. Whose responsibility is it to maintain the vegetation?
A: Property owners are required to maintain the vegetation which may grow into the public right of way, failure to do so is a violation of Title 7 of the Clackamas County Code. Please call 503-742-4452 to report this violation.
Q: There is vegetation obstructing a stop sign on my street, who do I contact?
A: Please call the Transportation Maintenance Division at 503-650-3773.
Q: My neighbor doesn’t have garbage service and is storing all his debris in a trailer, is this allowed?
A: The County does not require property owners to have garbage service. Citizens are allowed to self-haul; however, garbage must be removed from the property at least once every 7 days and it must be kept in a rodent proof container with a tight fitting lid while onsite. If this is not the case, please call 503-742-4452 to report this violation.
Q: There is trash all over a property in my neighborhood, what can be done?
A: An accumulation of putrescible (household) trash of any amount on property is a violation of the Clackamas County Solid Waste and Waste Management Code. An accumulation of other debris may or may not be allowed depending on location, type and amount. Please call 503-742-4452 for more information.
Q: My neighbors burn their trash rather than pay for garbage service, is that allowed?
A: All open burning in Clackamas County is regulated by your local Fire Districts and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). If garbage is being burned, the DEQ has regulatory authority. For more information regarding open burning please contact DEQ at 1-888-997-7888 or contact your local fire district.
Q: The dumpster at my apartment complex is overflowing, who should I contact?
A: Commercial properties are required to maintain adequate garbage receptacles and disposal for their complex, failure to do so is a violation of Chapter 10.03 of the County Code. Call 503-742-4452 to report this violation.
Q: I saw a pile of debris that has been dumped alongside the road, to whom do I report this?
Dumping trash, litter, refuse or debris in any amount is a violation of Chapter 10.03 of the Clackamas County Solid Waste and Waste Management Code and may be subject to civil penalties up to $3500 if evidence can be found identifying who the garbage belonged to. Please call 503-650-3347 to report this violation.
Q: I was out hiking on U.S. Forest Service and Bureau of Land Management property and found a car that had been abandoned and burned. There was also some tires and garbage dumped nearby. Who should I call to report this problem?
A: Contact the Dump Stoppers program at 503-650-3333 or to file a complaint online www.clackamas.us/dumpstoppers