Transient boaters still litter Portland waterfront

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by Abbey Gibb

NWCN.com

Posted on July 2, 2013 at 9:31 PM

Updated Wednesday, Jul 3 at 11:51 AM

PORTLAND-- A portion of Portland's homeless population has moved off the streets and onto the water. Dozens now have moored themselves for the Portland Waterfront Blues Festival.

The transient boating population continues to frustrate the Multnomah County River Patrol.

"We've seen more and more people live on the boats. With the Willamette and the Columbia Rivers we have probably 40 boats," said Deputy Kevin McAfee.

Background: Portland transients create 'skid row' on river

McAfee said transient boaters are usually men, who have jerry-rigged boats, without working motors, bathrooms, or even water.

"Some of the boats are eyesores. It doesn't portray a good image of Portland," he added.

It's the first thing many tourists will see when they come to the blues festival this year. These boats are usually scattered along 30 miles of water, but when the series of concerts comes to town, so do they.

"A lot of these guys know me by name because of the number of times I've talked to them or the number of times I've cited them. We can't kick them out but allow everyone else in, but we also want everyone to enjoy it," said McAfee.

Living aboard a boat is not illegal, but dumping waste is. So is staying moored in one place for more than a day, but both of those are tough to prove.

"There are loopholes in the laws," McAfee told KGW. "It doesn't say how far they have to move their boat and a boat moves with the current."

The only thing deputies can do is cite them for expired tags.

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