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Code Enforcement FAQ

Information about many code enforcement issues can be found below.  To file a code enforcement complaint, call 503-742-4452 or complete a complaint form online.  Thank you for helping us keep people and property safe in Clackamas County.

Animals 

Chickens, Roosters and Other Fowl

Q: What can be done about my neighbor’s rooster?
A:
Chickens and roosters are allowed in all areas of the County, but there are restrictions in the urban area and/or residential zoning districts. Please see Section 821 of the Clackamas County Zoning and Development Ordinance or contact the Planning and Zoning Division at 503-742-4500 or zoninginfo@co.clackamas.or.us.

Dogs/Cats

Q: My neighbor has a lot of dogs.  Is that a violation?
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. Contact Planning and Zoning at 503-742-4500 or zoninginfo@co.clackamas.or.us.

Q: There are feral cats in my neighborhood. Who can be done about 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 more animals in their house than they can care for.  Who should I call?
A:
Call the Sheriff's Office non-emergency dispatch number at 503-655-8211.

Q: There is a strange dog roaming the neighborhood.  Can the County pick it up?
A:
Contact Dog Services at 503-655-8628 to report this. If the dog is acting aggressively, please call 9-1-1.

Q: A dog in the neighborhood barks constantly. Can the County talk to the owners about it?
A:
Clackamas County Dog Services will have a program to respond to complaints about barking dogs beginning in January 2015, but does not respond to complaints of barking dogs at this time. Please contact Clackamas County Dispute Resolution at 503-655-8850 for assistance during 2014.  Beginning in January 2015, contact Dog Services at 503-655-8628.

Rats

Q: Who can I call about rats in the neighborhood?
A:
The County does not have resources to provide residents assistance with rodent problems. You may want to seek advice from a pest extermination service, or provide or purchase your own method of eradication.  In addition, since rats are attracted to household organic waste, you could check your property and your neighborhood for sources of household waste.  Any such material should be disposed of at an authorized disposal facility.  If that is not possible, call 503-742-4452 for information or to file a complaint or file a complaint online.

Livestock

Q: Who can I contact about a horse that looks thin and uncared for?
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 or otherwise looks neglected or abused, please call the Sheriff's Office non-emergency dispatch number at 503-655- 8211

Q: There is a pig farm down the street that smells.  Can anything be done about it?
A:
If the smell comes from a farm in a land use zone that allows farming, there is no ordinance prohibiting the smell. If the farm is in an urban or residential area, please contact the Planning and Zoning Division at 503-742-4500 or zoninginfo@co.clackamas.or.us to determine if the farming practice is an allowed use in that zone.

Q: The farm next door is stockpiling their manure near the fence.  Is this a violation?
A:
Composting manure in the rural zones is a common agricultural practice regulated by the Oregon Department of Agriculture (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 or file a complaint online.

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 based on the land use zoning, then there is little the County can do. There are numerous traps, sprays and services that may provide a solution.

Feces

Q: There are a lot of dogs next door and my neighbor doesn’t pick up their feces. Can they just leave the waste just 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 or file a complaint online.

Dead animal in Right of Way

Q: I saw a dead deer in the ditch.  Who should I contact?
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 9-1-1 to report the hazard.

Camping

Recreational Vehicles

Q: There is a neighbor down the street with 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 up to 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 criteria for this approval is very specific and there is a formal application process. See Section 1204 of the Zoning and Development Ordinance or contact the Planning and Zoning Division at 503-742-4500 or zoninginfo@co.clackamas.or.us

Tents

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 regularly 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 or file a complaint online.

Transients

Q: I saw a person camping in a non-residential area of the County. Is that legal?
A:
The County prohibits camping in areas not specifically designated for such use. Call 503-742-4452 to report this violation or file a complaint online.

Noise

Q: A house down the street has loud parties all the time.  Who can I call?
A: Call the Sheriff's Office non-emergency dispatch number at 503-655-8211.  If you are reporting a life or death emergency, or an in-progress property crime, call 9-1-1.

Vehicles

Junk Cars

Q: There are cars next door that haven’t been moved for years.  Is this allowed?
A:
Vehicles must be operable, licensed and registered to the property. If they do not meet this criteria, 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 or file a complaint online.

Dump Trucks/Log Trucks/Semi Trucks

Q: My neighbor is a truck driver and parks his truck in the driveway or on the street.  Is this allowed?
A:
No vehicle in excess of 11,000 GVW (gross vehicle weight) 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 and it looks abandoned.  Who can I call to have it removed?
A:
Vehicles may not be left in the right-of way for more than 72 hours. Contact the Sheriff's Office non-emergency dispatch number at 503-655-8211.

Too Many

Q: My neighbor has 10 cars on the property and hardly ever drives any of them.  Is there a limit to how many vehicles can be on a property?
A:
There is no regulation on how many vehicles a person can own as long as the vehicles are registered to the property, currently licensed and operational.

Commercial Business

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 zoninginfo@co.clackamas.or.us for more information.

Graffiti
Q: I noticed graffiti on the back of a building and some more on a fence. 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 or file a complaint online. If you see graffiti being applied, call 9-1-1.

Residential Neighborhood

Property Lines

Q: My neighbor is building a structure and I think he is too close to the property line.  How can I find out?
A:
The Planning and Zoning Division can tell you what the setbacks are in your area. Please contact them for more information at 503-742-4500 or zoninginfo@co.clackamas.or.us.

Fences

Q: The person next door just put up a fence that appears to be about 8 feet tall.  Is a permit required?
A:
A fence over 6 feet tall 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 or file a complaint online.

Trees

Q: My neighbor’s tree branches are growing onto my property. Can I cut the branches that are on my side of the property line?
A:
The County can not give legal advice. In this situation it may be best to contact an attorney to determine your rights and responsibilities.

Q: Someone cut down all the trees on their property.  Is this a violation?
A:
In some circumstances this may be a violation. Please contact the Planning and Zoning Division at 503-742-4500 or zoninginfo@co.clackamas.or.us for more information.

Vegetation

Q: The neighbors down the street never mow their lawn and the grass is now 3 feet tall.  Can the County make them cut it?
A:
Clackamas County does not have an ordinance that addresses this issue. Properties in the county that are outside of city limits are not required to cut their grass or remove noxious vegetations such as blackberry vines or English Ivy, 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.

Standing Water

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 or file a complaint online.

Noise

Q: A house down the street has loud parties all the time.  Who can I call?
A:
Call the Sheriff's Office non-emergency dispatch number at 503-655-8211.  If you are reporting a life or 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, and I think they are running a business. Is a noisy business allowed in my neighborhood?
A:
Business activities in residential zones may be allowed; however, the County regulates the activity including the noise level. Please contact the Planning and Zoning Division at 503-742-4500 or zoninginfo@co.clackamas.or.us for more information.

Q: The people next door have dirt bikes and ride them all day long, and 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 number at 503-655-8211.

If there are events happening on the property regularly that are open to the public, advertised or to which an admission fee is charged, this activity would constitute a violation of the Clackamas County Zoning and Development ordinance. To report these violations, please call 503-742-4452.

Lighting

Q: The person next door installed a bright light that shines into my house all night long. Are there any rules that address this situation?
A:
Clackamas County does not have any lighting regulations that 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.

Basketball Hoops

Q: My neighbors have a portable basketball hoop and leave 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 or file a complaint online.

Apartments

Landlord/Tenant

Q: My landlord and I don’t agree on the conditions of my rental unit.  Who can I talk to about this?
A:
The County does not have a housing code requiring landlords to maintain certain living conditions. This is a landlord/tenant issue and a civil matter. Please contact Clackamas County Dispute Resolution at 503-650-5750 for assistance.

Q: People walk their dogs and don’t pick up after them, and I can’t get the apartment 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 or file a complaint online.

Remodel/Repair

Q: The maintenance company is working on some units of my apartment complex. I’m not sure whether they need permits. How can I determine if permits are required?
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.

Environmental Concerns

Rivers, Streams and Ponds

Q: I saw some trees being cut down and vegetation by a stream being removed.  Is that something the County regulates?
A:
Most streams and creeks, and all rivers in Clackamas County have a protected buffer. The buffer distance varies depending on the size of the waterway. Tree cutting, vegetation clearing, grading, excavation work 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 contact Planning and Zoning at 503-742-4500 or zoninginfo@co.clackamas.or.us, or call 503-742-4452 to report a violation or file a complaint online.

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 a 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 or file a complaint online.

Q: My neighbor is digging a big hole in his field to create a pond.  Is this regulated by the County?
A:
A grading permit is required for any grading, excavations or filling activities larger than 50 cubic yards, exceeds more than a foot in depth (except for agricultural purposes) or that changes the flow of surface water drainage. Additionally, creating a pond requires approval from the Oregon Water Resources Department. Please call 503-742-4452 to report this violation or file a complaint online.

Mold

Q: I noticed 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 allows inadequate ventilation that may be causing too much moisture to remain in your home and allowing mold to grow. 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 or www.epa.gov/mold/.

Groundwater

Q: There is water coming from an adjacent property onto my property.  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 you could consider the County's mediation services available to County residents 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 adjacent to their property.  Failure to do so is a violation of Title 7 of the Clackamas County Code. Please call 503-742-4452 to report this violation or file a complaint online.

Q: There is vegetation obstructing a stop sign on my street.  Who can I contact?
A:
Please call the Transportation Maintenance Division at 503-650-3773 or email transportationcomplaints@clackamas.us.

Garbage

Residential Properties

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; residents are allowed to haul their own garbage to an authorized disposal facility.  However, garbage must be removed from the property at least once every 7 days and must be kept in a rodent-proof container with a tight fitting lid while on site. If this is not the case, please call 503-742-4452 to report this violation or file a complaint online.

Q: There is trash all over a property in my neighborhood.  What can be done about it?
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 local fire districts and the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ). If garbage is being burned, the DEQ has regulatory authority. For more information about open burning, please contact DEQ at 1-888-997-7888 or contact your local fire district.

Commercial Properties

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 or file a complaint online.

Illegal Dumping

Q: I saw a pile of debris that has been dumped alongside the road.  Who can I contact about 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 $3,500 if evidence can be found identifying the owner of the garbage. Please call 503-650-3347 to report this violation.

Q: I was hiking on U.S. Forest Service or Bureau of Land Management property and found a car that had been abandoned and burned. There were 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 file a complaint online.

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