SALEM, OR -- Recreators who float the Deschutes River in kayaks, canoes or any other non-motorized watercraft longer than 10' would face new fees under a bill advancing in the Legislature. A two-year permit would cost $30, one-year would be $17 and a weekly permit would cost $5.
State Representative Caddy McKeown (D-Coos Bay) says users of non-motorized watercraft also use services, but currently don't contribute like other boaters, "Launch ramps are used; restrooms are used." State Representative Ken Helm (D-Washington County) agrees, "They need to pay in a little bit." He adds, "It might be a little bit of an annoyance to get your permit. But, your permit provides funds for vitally needed services."
State Representative Cheri Helt (R-Bend) took to social media Monday to share her frustration with the proposal. During floor debates, she said it will affect many users of the Deschutes River, "Due to the nature of how many people float our river every day, during the summer, I think this would be a burdensome process." The bill was opposed by all of Central Oregon's Representatives. Rep. Christine Drazan (R-Canby) also voted against it, saying people who can't afford a sail or power boat often find kayaks, canoes or paddle boards are an inexpensive way to get on the water, "The best way to support underserved populations who have a non-motorized boat is to not charge them."
The bill has been approved by both chambers, but changes still need approval before going to the Governor.