Services Departments Government

BCC to vote on updated parks ordinance August 15

The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners (BCC) will vote on proposed amendments to the County Park Rules Ordinance at its August 15 evening business meeting.


The amended ordinance was prompted by increased recreational use of the Clackamas River resulting in public safety issues and environmental concerns related to drunkenness, littering and trespassing.


The amended ordinance outlines changes to County Park Rules, including prohibited items, and allows for County Parks staff and Sheriff’s Office personnel to inspect personal property such as coolers, bags, and backpacks of those entering the parks.  Under the amended ordinance, anyone possessing alcohol on county park property without a permit would be asked to leave it in their vehicle, dispose of it in trash receptacles or leave the park premises.


The amendment would also prohibit glass or glass bottles on county park property unless allowed by permit.


The August 15 meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the BCC hearing room on the 4th floor of the Public Services Building – 2051 Kaen Road in Oregon City.


For more information please see the attached Frequently Asked Questions, or contact Rick Gruen, County Parks and Forest Manager, at 503-742-4345 or



Aug. 8, 2013

Proposed County Park Inspections: Amendments to County Ordinance Chapter 6.06 Park Rules




Why is the county considering amendments to this ordinance now?

During the summer months the Clackamas River experiences heavy usage from boaters and rafters.  The majority of river users access the river at county-owned Barton and Carver parks.   Heavy use on the river results in these parks operating at or near maximum capacity, with overflow parking on the shoulder of county roads.  Park rules prohibit the possession of alcohol on park property.  However, river users will frequently run the river with coolers of beer, and based on current observation the majority of empty cans and bottles are discarded along the river. 

 The current proposal would amend county parks rules set forth in Chapter 6.06 of the County Code to specifically provide authority for the Sheriff’s Office, and other individuals designated by the County Parks Director, to perform visual inspections of personal property items, such as coolers.   Those refusing inspection would be directed to leave the park premises.  The amendments would establish a properly authorized administrative program, designed and systematically administered to provide clear authority to conduct administrative inspections of prohibited items.  

 Administrative searches are conducted for purposes other than law enforcement, such as courthouse and airport security, and at large public venues such as concert halls and sporting arenas.  As such, they are a well recognized exception to warrant requirement rule.

 The amendments also clarify the hearing process available to challenge the citation. 

When will this new policy take effect?  If the ordinance passes it will be effective after 90 days, unless the Board declares an emergency, making it effective immediately.


How long will it be in effect?  Indefinitely, or until the ordinance is amended or repealed.  


What will happen if I have alcohol in a closed container?  You will be asked to leave it in your vehicle, or remove it from the premises. 


Does this apply to non-alcoholic beverages in cans or bottles?  Non-alcoholic beverages are allowed in parks.  However, glass and glass containers will be prohibited without a permit.


Can I purchase beverages on parks grounds? No, there are no concessionary sales in county parks. 


Does this apply to campers or to those with permits that allow for alcohol consumption within county parks?  Alcohol is permitted for campers and special events by permit only.  (See question below regarding camping and day use fees.)


Can I bring alcohol on the river as long as I don’t go through a county park?  What if I get permission from another property owner to put my raft/kayak in the water?  This ordinance only applies to county park property.


What is the penalty for consuming alcohol in the park(s)? Possession and/or consumption can result in exclusion from parks property. 


What is the penalty for littering in the park or littering on the river? The county ordinance requests that all waste shall be left only in receptacles designated for that purpose. Any person who violates this or any other park rule, state statute, county ordinance or code while in a county park may be ordered to leave the park area.  


Littering is a class C misdemeanor.  Maximum fine amounts can be $1,250 and up to 30 days in jail. This applies both in the parks and on the river.


Will the Sheriff’s Office monitor the parks and the river?  The County Parks Division and the Sheriff’s Office will monitor park areas; the Sheriff’s Office will continue to monitor the river. 


What are the costs for enforcing this ordinance?

The Sheriff's Office was allocated $45,000 from the Board of Commissioners to add additional officer patrols at Barton and Carver Parks.  The Sheriff's Office and County Parks Division expect to cover other costs in their existing budgets but will report any overages to the Board of Commissioners.

What are camping fees with alcohol permit in the county parks?  What are day use fees that include alcohol permit in the county parks? The alcohol permit is included in your rental fee when reserving a campsite or picnic area. Prices vary, depending on which county park you plan to visit.  Go online to:  to view fees for different parks. Your reservation receipt will serve as a permit upon entering the park.

Does this ordinance apply to the North Clackamas Parks & Recreation District (NCPRD)?  No.  This ordinance refers to County Parks.  NCPRD has its own Ordinance providing rules for the use of all NCPRD owned, operated, or managed parks and recreation areas, including limitations on the consumption of alcohol.


Share this page