Abandoned and Derelict Vessels
There are hundreds of hazardous boats and ships in Oregon’s public waterways, including large 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 our rivers, lakes, and ocean by contaminating water and degrading habitat, damaging property, and creating navigational hazards.
DSL currently coordinates with other state agencies, federal agencies, local governments, and community partners to reduce ADV impacts as best we can, given the lack of funding. ADVs are removed when possible, most often to address emergency situations. Information on reporting vessels can be found in the FAQ section
Convening an ADV Workgroup and Establishing a Statewide Program
The Department of State Lands has convened a workgroup of partners and community members to advise on a program to address ADVs in Oregon waterways.
The ADV Workgroup will provide input to the state agency partners on near-term action for vessel removals, an effective program framework, and legislative solutions. In convening this workgroup, DSL appointed members from organizations that represent and coordinate the interests of multiple communities likely to be affected by ADVs.
Long-Term Camping on Waterways
Meetings will be noticed one week in advance. Subscribe to "Abandoned and derelict vessels" mailing list to receive these updates.
HOW TO ATTEND
Meeting ID: 836 8781 6048
Join online - click here (Passcode: Or3gonADV!)
Join by phone: 1-669-900-6833 (Passcode: 9813529187)
Workgroup meetings are open to the community and meeting agendas include a designated time for community comment.
Tuesday, October 10, 2023 at 1 - 3 PM (Pacific)
- Stay tuned for meeting materials
Tuesday, October 24, 2023 at 1 - 3 PM (Pacific)
- Stay tuned for meeting materials
Tuesday, September 12, 2023 at 1 - 3 PM (Pacific)
On behalf of the State Land Board, the Department of State Lands manages Oregon’s public waterways to ensure use for recreation, navigation, fishing, commerce and more. Abandoned and derelict vessels seriously affect the health and safety of our public waterways by creating both environmental and navigational hazards. Removing vessels from waterways will address current risks, but removal must also be accompanied by long-term solutions.
With the passage of HB 2914 in June 2023
, we can begin work now to address the vessels that have accumulated in our waterways and collaborate on creating a statewide ADV program in coordination with our agency partners at Oregon State Marine Board, Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, and Department of Environmental Quality.
These efforts will be informed by community conversations, the ADV Workgroup, and will be aligned with the collaborative 2020 findings from the ADV Blue Ribbon Program for Western U.S. States
led by the State of Oregon, State of Washington and many partners.
Long-term camping on public waterways, whether on riverbanks or on boats, is happening in communities throughout Oregon. These are difficult situations with no easy solutions. Addressing camping along riverbanks or on boats is directly connected to addressing homelessness.
DSL works collaboratively with communities to address specific situations. Every situation is unique, and we identify possible solutions by working with local governments, public safety partners, and social service providers.
Information on reporting long-term camping on or along waterways can be found in the
Partners and Ongoing Working Groups
DSL works with partners across the state to address ADVs, use of boats for shelter, and long-term camping. Partners include the 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, Waterfront Organizations of Oregon, 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.
Ongoing Working Groups
The Metro Abandoned and Derelict Vessels and Camping group is a working group of Portland-area residents, local business owners, state agencies, local governments, and other stakeholders.
The group meets quarterly to discuss ADVs and long-term camping within the Portland Metro area. The group seeks to share information about vessels of concern, improve partner coordination, leverage resources, and prioritize actions.
Contact DSL to request to join a future meeting.
Vessels that have been left on public land or a waterway for an extended period of time without a use authorization are considered abandoned. Oregon’s limited duration rules restrict the amount of time a vessel can stay in a given spot:
- Recreational vessels cannot stay in one location for more than 30 consecutive days.
- After 30 days, vessels must be moved to a location at least five miles away. Further, vessels cannot be moored within that five-mile area for a 12-month period.
- Commercial vessels cannot be moored in one location for more than 14 consecutive days.
Vessels in varying stages of disrepair that may pose a significant threat to human safety, environmental health, or waterway navigation are considered derelict. These boats may have sunk, be in immediate danger of sinking, or pose an environmental threat.
ADVs Pollute Our Rivers and Ocean
ADVs often contain harmful quantities of oil, lubricant, and other toxic substances in the materials used to construct the vessel or in cargo on board. These chemicals can injure or kill marine mammals, waterfowl, and other aquatic life, and contaminate aquatic lands, nearby shorelines, and water bodies.
ADVs Impact Waterway Recreation and Commerce
ADVs can impede access to public boating facilities like ramps and docks and present a hazard to recreational and commercial navigation. Their presence can also diminish the level of enjoyment sought by Oregonians recreating on waterways.
Vessel removals are both challenging and costly. Vessel condition, contamination levels, and environmental and physical hazards all affect how complex a removal is – and how much it costs. Though variable, the cost of removing a single ADV is substantial, ranging from thousands to millions of dollars. While recreational vessels typically have a lower per-vessel removal cost, there are far more recreational ADVs than large ADVs. Large ADVs typically have significantly higher removal price tags than recreational vessels. Removing a vessel that has sunk costs significantly more than removing a vessel that is still afloat.
For example, the recent removal of the Sakarissa and the Alert, two sunken former military vessels in the Columbia River, cost upward of $6 million and involved significant time and coordination by federal, state, and local agency staff.
Often, Oregon's Common School Fund. There is currently no permanent statewide funding stream to address ADVs.
As the State Land Board's administrative agency, DSL oversees school lands and the Common School Fund, as well as Oregon-owned waterways. Revenue from waterway leases and other paid uses covers most waterway expenses. But ADV cleanups come with big price tags that far exceed revenue – so the Common School Fund and Oregon schoolkids end up footing the bill. Since 2017, the Common School Fund has spent more than $18 million removing ADVs from public waterways.
We always wants to keep owners on the hook for vessel removal or cleanup costs. Often owners can’t be identified or there are no assets to recover – but we still need to protect our ocean, rivers and streams.
Recreational camping is allowed on Oregon-owned riverbanks for up to 30 days through a Limited Duration rule (OAR 141-088-0002(6)).
Limited duration rules also apply to recreational boats. Boats may occupy waters of the state for up to 30 days before they must be moved to a location that is five miles away. Further, individuals cannot move back to that same location within a 12-month period.
For all Oregon locations except Eugene please contact Jacob Taylor. For Eugene, contact 541-682-4800 or use the City of Eugene's website at: https://www.eugene-or.gov/2427/Park-Watch
When reporting an ADV or campsite, 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)
- Your name and email
- Location (i.e. latitude/longitude, or any nearby landmark)
- Are there fires present?
- Number of camps?
- Known minors?
- 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 toward solutions.
In addition to providing information about ADVs and long-term campsites, you can:
- Tell your local and state elected officials action on these issues is a priority for you.
- Support the organizations working to address homelessness.
- Participate in local efforts to address homelessness, or support the organizations working to address homelessness.
- Participate in local waterway cleanups, through SOLVEoregon.org or another organization.