You may have caught my previous diary, Maritime Hoovervilles in Portland, Oregon. Well, now the good citizens of Oregon, speaking through the State Land Board, have decided to do ... uh ... something.
The rules, just approved by the state Land Board and due for implementation January 1, will allow non-commercial boaters to remain in one place for no longer than 30 days. After that, they will be regarded as trespassers, required to move at least five miles away or face stiff civil penalties of up to $1,000 per day.And what's the reason for this? The blue tarps on the the boats offend the gentry: The Oregonian quotes a sheriff's deputy:
Currently, so-called transient users must move every 14 days, but regulations are silent on how far they must travel. A couple inches up or down the channel appear adequate.
The pending change has many river-dwellers crying foul.
"It really feels like they are targeting us and I don't see how that is fair," said Johnny Brett, 35, who has called his 26-footer on the Willamette home for the past four years. "We're such a small population. More people live in a doorway on one street downtown than here. How can we be that big of a problem?"
The five-mile requirement would cause severe hardship for boaters who have jobs or need access to shopping and services, he said. Some even have children.
Most of the complaints, however, do not involve allegations of any criminal behavior. Rather, callers are unhappy with the mere visual presence of crafts anchored long-term, he said.So, no jobs, no services, economy in La Crapper, but by golly, let's get those pesky maritime reminders of social failure out of our faces, off the river and BACK UNDER THE BRIDGES where they belong. Thank you, State Lands Board!