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Clackamas Parks Visitors Could Be Subject To Alcohol Searches

Visitors to Clackamas County parks could be subject to searches for alcohol as soon as this weekend, if county commissioners pass rule changes before them Thursday night.

High Rocks is a popular swimming spot on the Clackamas River in Gladstone.

High Rocks is a popular swimming spot on the Clackamas River in Gladstone.

Rob Manning/OPB

Alcohol is already forbidden in county parks. But officials want to crack down on rafters who bring coolers of beer and other alcoholic beverages through places like Barton Park on their way to float the Clackamas River. Alcohol is permitted on state-regulated waterways.

The proposed ordinance would allow sheriff’s deputies to search coolers and other containers for alcohol. People who resist the searches could be excluded from the county park.

It’s an emergency ordinance, meaning it would go into effect right away. But it needs unanimous support to pass.

In study sessions, commissioners have supported addressing alcohol problems on the river. But they’ve also raised questions about the cost of enforcement. There is a state park just upriver of Barton, and commissioners say rafters could bring alcohol with them through there.

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