Booze searches approved in Clackamas County parks - KPTV - FOX 12

Booze searches approved in Clackamas County parks

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In an effort to curb alcohol consumption on the Clackamas River, county commissioners approved an amendment to an ordinance that allows deputies to search people's belongings as they enter county parks.

The controversial idea was first introduced last month and will go into effect immediately following Thursday night's unanimous vote.

"So for those out there in the public that are thinking about bringing alcohol into the Clackamas County parks, our strong suggestion is you just do not do so," said Clackamas County Chair John Ludlow.

Most people who float the Clackamas River get in at Barton Park and get out at Carver Park.

Park signs clearly state that alcohol is not allowed, but each summer, it becomes clear that people are bringing alcohol through the parks to the river.

At Thursday's meeting, the sheriff's office played a video for commissioners that illustrated some of the major alcohol-related problems deputies encounter on the river, including public drunkenness, water rescues and tons of litter.

"I think it doesn't hurt to lay those rules out and hopefully clean up the river," said Lori Swanson, who supports the effort. "I'm hoping it will also work for the Molalla River."

Deputies won't need a warrant, and if people deny the search, they won't be allowed into the park.

According to the county, people who are caught trying to bring alcohol into its parks will be asked to leave it in the car or throw it away.

Critics of the ordinance think people will find a way to sneak it in.

"The people that are going to break the law, the people that are going to (go) out of control are going to go upstream, and they're going to go farther up the river," said Les Poole. "And they're probably going to get in more trouble and get in a worse place."

Alcohol is still allowed in county parks with a camping permit.

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