To address a growing public health and neighborhood livability concern, the Portland City Council on Wednesday voted to ban the sale of hazardous recreational vehicles. The City will also offer to dispose of recreational vehicles for free for Portland residents at a first-ever RV Disposal RV Turn-In Day on Oct. 29.
With the emergency ordinance passed unanimously by City Council, Portlanders who sell, lease, donate or give away an RV that leaks waste water or fuel may be fined $500 or subject to six months in jail, or both. The ordinance does not apply to sales of RVs to licensed repair facilities or dismantlers.
The hazardous RV ordinance, which may be unprecedented on the West Coast, comes in response to growing public concern about derelict RVs on city streets. The Portland Bureau of Transportation received 4,000 complaints about derelict or abandoned RVs parked in public right-of-way in 2016. So far this year, PBOT has received nearly 7,000 such complaints. PBOT has towed 156 abandoned RVs this year. Portland Police have towed another 100 RVs that were occupied and posing a public safety hazard.
Portland residents, PBOT parking enforcement officers and Portland Police have observed RVs leaking raw sewage or fuel, as well as instances when RV owners were dumping sewage onto public streets and storm drains.
"Portlanders are justifiably concerned by the growing public health and safety threat posed by abandoned or derelict RVs on our streets," Mayor Ted Wheeler said. "Portland Police have been working closely with transportation staff to address this issue and this ordinance and turn-in day will help catch unsanitary RVs before they get to our streets and become a problem for our community."
Commissioner Dan Saltzman, who oversees PBOT, sponsored the ordinance, along with Mayor Wheeler.
"Every week, I hear from Portlanders who are concerned about derelict or abandoned RVs," Saltzman said. "This ordinance will help us keep the worst of the worst RVs off our streets, to protect the environment and public health."
The new approach may also save money. The cost of removing abandoned and derelict RVs from city streets has been rising and is expected to cost more than $1.3 million in the 2017-18 fiscal year. Preventing RVs from being abandoned would prevent the City from paying the cost of enforcement and removal.
Working with Portland Police and Metro, PBOT will offer its first-ever opportunity for Portland residents to dispose of their older RVs free of charge. Owners must make an appointment online for the Turn-In Day, which will be held Oct. 29 at Portland International Raceway.
The Turn-In Day event is intended to address the disposal cost of older RVs, which is a barrier to people who no longer want to own the vehicles. It can cost an RV owner $1,000 to $2,000 to properly dispose of an older vehicle, because of the expertise required to dispose of water and waste water systems and other parts. Many older RVs are worth less than the cost of proper disposal.
Our goal is to provide the public a way to dispose of unwanted RVs.
The Turn-In Day is only available to residents of Portland who are the registered owner of the vehicle. Learn more and make an appointment online.