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Oregon, Washington respond to areas of outdoor overcrowding on the coast

Oregon coast beach state park
One can find solitude on the Oregon coast, but issues of crowding and illegal parking are bringing enforcement crackdowns

PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) — The north Oregon coast crowds have been overwhelming the state park sites this summer with highway traffic jams, illegal parking and overflowing trash bins amid the coronavirus pandemic, officials said.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department, Oregon Department of Transportation and other local agencies on the Oregon coast are teaming up to tackle the issues, the parks department announced Friday.

Key among their efforts will be increased enforcement of illegal parking, the agencies said, including ticketing “unsafely parked cars” and towing vehicles when needed, The Oregonian/OregonLive reported.

Drivers may receive tickets of $115 to $250 for illegal parking, the parks department said, and would need to pay for the cost of towing. Cars are usually towed to the nearest town with tow service.

“As has been true since March, we’re usually left with the ‘least bad’ option when it comes to managing a huge crowd of people,” state parks spokesman Chris Havel said.

No official crowd numbers have been released from this summer, although park officials have been sounding the alarm for months, as anecdotal reports pour in from rangers and visitors on the north coast that weekends have consistently reached “holiday level” crowds.

In Washington, people have been cramming themselves into Lake Cushman recreation area on the Olympic Peninsula, prompting closures, The Seattle Times reported.

Read more at:

News release from Oregon State Parks/ODOT:

Agencies taking measures to control parking congestion, trash at Oregon State Parks on north coast

Salem, Ore – Visitor traffic on Oregon’s north coast has spiked to extraordinarily high levels in August, causing problems with parking congestion and trash.

The Oregon Parks and Recreation Department is working with other state and local agencies to create a safer, more enjoyable experience for visitors. While resources are stretched thin by the public health emergency and economic stress, Tillamook County, the Oregon Department of Transportation, the Oregon State Police, and OPRD will:

  • Designate safer, legal parking options and advise drivers to keep traveling if parking lots are full. With support from ODOT, more than a dozen new advisory and “No parking” signs will be installed along U.S. Highway 101,
  • Increase restroom and trash services, where money and labor are available,
  • Step up enforcement, ticketing unsafely parked cars and calling for tows at the owner’s expense, where needed.

“If you love the coast, show it,” says Lisa Sumption, OPRD director. “Take care of it and yourselves with some very simple steps.”

Visitors play a key role in protecting parks from damage. In addition to preparing for a safe visit using the guidelines posted online at, each visitor can help by:

  • Only parking in designated stalls,
  • Bypassing full parks and going someplace else,
  • Packing out anything brought in and leaving no trash,
  • Using restrooms before arriving or after leaving.
  • Visiting mid-week, early in the day.
Article Topic Follows: Government-politics

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