County changes ordinance in hopes of keeping alcohol out of parks
The Clackamas County Board of Commissioners unanimously approved amendments to the county parks ordinance Aug. 15 that will allow for visual inspections of personal items belonging to people entering the parks.
The changes take effect immediately. 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 amended changes alter county parks rules to provide new authority for the sheriffs office, and other designated individuals, to perform visual inspections of personal property items such as coolers, bags and backpacks. Those refusing inspection will be directed to leave the park premises.
Administrative searches are routinely 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, county officials noted.
Under the amended ordinance, anyone possessing alcohol on county park property without a permit and even then only in designated reserved picnic areas and campsites will be asked to leave the park. The amended ordinance also prohibits glass or glass bottles on county park property unless otherwise allowed by permit.
Impetus behind the changes was prompted by increased recreational use of the Clackamas River resulting in public safety issues and environmental concerns related to drunkenness, littering and trespassing.
Commissioners unanimously agreed that these issues must be addressed.
This ordinance transcends politics, Commissioner Tootie Smith said. We were elected to govern and govern we will.
Its time to take back the Clackamas River, said Commissioner Martha Schrader. This is a family-friendly ordinance. People dont want to see one of our pristine rivers sullied by garbage.
Added Chairman John Ludlow: This is our backyard. Its public property and we get to set the rules to protect it from certain elements.
Our job is to protect the public and we do that through the hard work of the Clackamas County Sheriffs Office, said Commissioner Jim Bernard. And we do that also by enacting laws that protect life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.
Commissioner Paul Savas added, People have a choice. If they dont want their coolers and backpacks inspected, they can turn around and go elsewhere. People have a right to enjoy the park safely.
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