Willamette River Boat 'Aquatic Squatters' Ranks Thinning Despite Enforcement Difficulties

Posted: February 22, 2013  |  By: Dana Tims [The Oregonian]

A new rule targeting people living on boats on the Willamette River and elsewhere has yet to be enforced, but it's already prompting so-called "aquatic squatters" to hoist anchor and be on their way, officials say.

In reality, the two agencies left to deal with complaints of increasing numbers of transient boaters lack the personnel and financial resources to effectively implement the rule, which took effect Jan. 1.

But the Multnomah County Sheriff's Office's River Patrol unit nonetheless cites the rule as a main factor in the sharp drop of live-in boaters since summer.

"There was a high point when we knew of between 41 and 45 boats we considered transient in our area," said Lt. Travis Gullberg. "That's now down to the mid- to high 20s. People on the water know about the rule, and I think a lot of them are saying it's not worth the risk or bother." 

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