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Clackamas Commissioners Allow Police Searches At County Parks

Clackamas County commissioners have voted unanimously to allow police to search coolers for alcohol at county parks. It’s a policy change that took effect right away.

County sheriff cars at Barton Park

County sheriff cars at Barton Park

Rob Manning/OPB

Commissioners are primarily concerned about rafters who take coolers full of beer with them as they ride the Clackamas River out of Barton Park. Officials say more than 400 people an hour get on the river there during the hottest times of the summer.

Park rules have long forbidden alcohol, but deputies didn’t have the authority to force visitors to open their coolers and backpacks.

County chair John Ludlow said the newly-approved ordinance changes that.

“So for those out in the public who are thinking about bringing alcohol into Clackamas County parks, our strong suggestion is just, Do not do so,” Ludlow said.

Glass is now prohibited, too.

Commissioners say they believe the ordinance should cut down on drunken driving and rafting, and reduce the trash that lands in the river.

Alcohol is allowed on the river and in a nearby state park.

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