Should parks workers search your cooler?

7-30-13-cooler search
A screencapture from a video of watergoers making the Clackamas River trip between Barton to Carver Park. (Screenshot from a Clackamas County Sheriff's Office public service video)

CLACKAMAS COUNTY, Ore. (KOIN) — Clackamas County deputies say problems with alcohol abuse — and trash left behind — on the Clackamas River have never been worse.

“We saw more beer cans than people,” said rivergoer Jonathan McBride Tuesday.

Now the county is considering cracking down.

Clackamas County commissioners want to give park workers the power to seize alcohol from coolers — and limit the number of people who drift the Clackamas River from Barton to Carver parks.

Deputies have tried to calm river traffickers down in recent years, but said it appears the current measures are not working.

The problems on this 5-mile stretch of the Clackamas River have gotten so bad that the sheriff’s department put together a video about it. Beer cans line the river bottom, trash litters the banks and one reserve deputy said that when the temperature gets above 80 degrees the Clackamas River degenerates into Fort Lauderdale on spring break.

“The bottom of the river, in some points, is silver with cans and bottles,” said Sgt. Robert Wurpes. “…It’s an environmental problem.”

As if problems with litter and beer cans aren’t enough, deputies cite occasional alcohol-related fights and alcohol-related vehicular crashes — all involving people who had been drinking on the river.

One group, not adding to the trash problem, ended its 4-hour float at Carver Park just before 6 p.m. Tuesday. They packed out their empties — and took their trash with them — but did notice trash and litter during their float down the river.

“It was upsetting to, every once in a while, to look down and see a beer bottle at the bottom of the river,” said Danielle Lopez.

blog comments powered by Disqus