Update posted at 6 :30 p.m. July 22

The city staff have been tasked with researching a kiosk system for the docks and creating a law enforcement response plan for Sand Island, according to St. Helens Communications Officer Crystal King.

"Council will review staff research and recommendations at a future council meeting to be determined," King told The Chronicle following the Wednesday council session.

Previous Chronicle coverage

Following citizen complaints and concerns, the City of St. Helens is taking a close review of how to best manage the docks along the Columbia River.

City Docks Enforcement

The City of St. Helens is reviewing new options to address numerous complaints from the community regarding transient boaters overstaying the time limitations at the St. Helens docks.

The City of St. Helens owns the the main docks adjacent to Columbia View Park and accessed from the ramp in the park and the Sand Island docks located on Sand Island.

The St. Helens City Council is exploring ways to manage and enforce the moorage rules at the City docks after receiving numerous complaints from the community regarding transient boaters overstaying the time limitations, according to the city's communication officer Crystal King.

"The city docks are available for short-term recreational use and are not intended to be permanent or long-term moorage," KIng said.

As a component of the city council’s future decision regarding management of the docks, local law enforcement was scheduled to give a presentation to the council Wednesday afternoon, July 21, concerning the rules that law enforcement must follow when enforcing moorage laws and examples of other management programs in the state.

The presentation, attached to this story, includes a review of how the Southern Oregon community of Brookings faced similar dock challenges. That city had been relying on private and various city officials to manage the docks, it had no legal authority to enforce ordinances, there was no consistency and there was confusion with enforcement.

As a solution, Brookings adopted a new ordinance that addresses exclusion from port-owner property. The Brookings ordinance reads: "A person is subject to immediate exclusion from a port owned building or property if that person is observed to be engaged in any of the following types of conduct

  • Disorderly
  • Riotous or violent or threatening
  • Disorderly or riotous assemblies
  • Disruption of lawful meetings, events or work
  • Obstruction access to government services or interfering with government responsibilities, including but not limited to garbage cans and fish containers on port property
  • Visible intoxication
  • Panhandling, begging or otherwise contacting port staff, visitors or invitees for personal gain without port permission
  • Violation of port policies intended to maintain a safe, orderly and efficient work environment in and around public buildings
  • Conduct that is otherwise disruptive to the efficient function of government affairs
  • Abusive language or conduct

The review of the Brookings ordinance also includes the city's port kiosk operations, the city's installation of a security camera system and Brookings use of Notice of Exclusion and Warning Slips.

The St. Helens Police give the council the following options to move forward with a solution for the City of St. Helens docks.

Create a new position

  • This position would manage all property and enforcement of docks and Sand Island.

Expand existing position

  • Update job description as well as appropriate compensation for increase of duties

Acquire city boat

  • Allows for violations to be enforced consistently
  • Has the ability to tow away violating boats

King said the city council will evaluate the St. Helens Municipal Code ordinance related to the city docks and make any changes needed to ensure that our local rules are more easy to enforce.

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