The Department of State Lands coordinates with state, federal, and community partners to minimize the impact of abandoned and derelict vessels, live-aboard boating, and long-term camping on Oregon-owned waterways and school lands.
Abandoned and Derelict Vessels
There are hundreds of abandoned and derelict vessels on Oregon’s waterways, including large vessels like tugboats, barges and former military vessels as well as recreational vessels like sailboats and motorboats.
These abandoned and derelict vessels (ADVs) seriously threaten the health and safety of Oregon’s public waterways. Water contamination, navigation hazards, damage to public and private property, are among the potential problems caused by the known vessels of concern currently littering our ocean, rivers, and lakes.
Vessels of concern can be ADVs in varying stages of disrepair or vessels that have been moored at an unauthorized location on a state waterway for more than 30 days.
DSL coordinates with partners to address ADVs, include collaboration to remove vessels of concern. More information on reporting vessels can be found in the FAQ section
Live-Aboard Boating and Long-Term Camping
Use of boats for shelter is another issue DSL responds to in coordination with local partners. All recreational boaters must follow state rules, including the limited duration rule (more information in the FAQ section).
In recent years there has also been an increase in long-term camping along Oregon-owned rivers and lakes. Unauthorized camps can degrade public lands and waters and affect public use.
This is a complex issue that requires coordination with local and federal agencies, community organizations, and social service providers. DSL monitors and responds to reported camps on Department-managed waterways and lands and schedules site cleanups when possible. Personal property retrieved is stored following cleanups to be reclaimed by owners.
More information on reporting camps can be found in the FAQ section.
Partners & Coordination
DSL collaborates with many statewide partners to address ADVs, live-aboard boating, and long-term camping, including
City of Portland,
Metro Regional Government,
Port of Portland,
Multnomah County Sherriff's Office,
Oregon Parks and Recreation Department,
Oregon State Police,
Oregon State Marine Board,
City of Eugene,
Department of Environmental Quality,
U.S. Coast Guard, and
Willamette Riverkeeper. We also collaborate and work with social services. We continue to seek out new partnerships across the state to grow the reach of the our work and resources available to the community.
Metro Abandoned and Derelict Vessels and Camping Working Group
The Metro Abandoned and Derelict Vessels and Camping team is a working group of residents, local business owners, partner state agencies, local governments, and other stakeholders that come together quarterly to discuss ADV and camping issues within the Portland Metro area.
Working group focus areas include: reducing impacts of abandoned and derelict boats, cleaning up unoccupied boats, proactively addressing potential problem boats, and camping concerns.
Meetings are facilitated by DSL with the goal of gaining knowledge about ADV and camping issues, improving partner coordination, leveraging resources, and prioritizing action.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
What impacts do unauthorized camping and ADVs have on Oregon’s resources?
Camping impacts include erosion issues, and habitat loss. Further, camping fires can degrade air quality and create safety concerns, while solid and hazardous waste can decrease water quality. Finally, illegal activity can create community and personal safety issues.
Impacts from ADVs are much the same and include illegal dumping and sanitation issues, as well as safety issues.
What rules pertain to ADVs, live-aboard boating, and unauthorized camping?
Recreational camping is allowed on state-owned submerged and submersible lands for up to 30 days through a Limited Duration rule (OAR 141-088-0002(6)).
There is also a limited duration rule that also applies to recreational boats. It states that boats may occupy waters of the state for up to 30 days before they must move to an authorized location or a location that is five miles away. Further, individuals cannot move back to that same location within a 12-month period.
Oregon's ADV laws, ORS 830.908 – 948, state which agencies may enforce this issue, define what an abandoned or derelict vessel is, set pre-seizure and post-seizure processes, and determine what violations exist.
What is DSL doing about unauthorized camping and ADV issues?
DSL continues to be committed to responding to camping and ADV issues throughout the state. Our relationships with partnering agencies help us to leverage our resources.
In 2019 alone we removed 24 ADVs in partnership with the Oregon State Marine Board. Further, we have removed more than 43 tons of solid and hazardous waste in coordination with our partners at Metro Regional Government, the Port of Portland, City of Portland, and SOLVE.
How significant is houselessness around Oregon?
Houselessness in Oregon is a complex social and public health issue that involves many dynamic factors, such as institutional racism, poverty, housing supply and affordability, public and mental health, and unemployment.
At the time of the 2019 Point in Time survey there were 4,015 people experiencing houselessness in the Portland and Gresham areas of Multnomah County. It is important to note that the number of houseless people is expected to rise in the near future as the economic impacts of COVID-19 continue to be realized in our communities.
How do I report an ADV or unauthorized camp site?
If you have an ADV or camp issue you would like to report, for all Oregon locations, except Eugene, please contact our Compliance and Outreach Specialist, Jacob Taylor.
If you would like to report an ADV or illegal camp in Eugene, contact 541-682-4800 or through the City or Eugene's website at: https://www.eugene-or.gov/2427/Park-Watch
When reporting an ADV or camp, provide as much of the following information as possible:
- Location (i.e. river mile, latitude/longitude, or any nearby landmark)
- Registration number or any other identifying articles on the boat
- Is anyone living on the boat? Are there personal items visible on the boat?
- Any details about the boat you can provide (i.e. hull material, fuel on board, length of boat)
- Please include any pictures
- Your name and email address
- Location (i.e. latitude/longitude, or any nearby landmark)
- Are there fires present?
- Number of camps?
- Known minors?
- Please include any pictures
- Your name and email
DSL works with many partners to address these challenging issues and the resources available are never enough. We appreciate your understanding and patience as we work collaboratively to solve these complex and sensitive issues.
You can write to your local and State representative and express the need for more funding for ADVAC work for us and our partners. You can donate to your favorite charity or social service organization to further their work and support their efforts. Finally, visit SOLVEoregon.org to learn about how you can participate in a local cleanup.