Oregon bill would increase penalty for assaulting rangers amid growing violence outdoors

By Zach Urness
Salem Statesman Journal
February 13, 2023
Category: Forestry
Region: United States, US West

Oregon’s House Bill 2011 proposes to increase penalties for assaulting parks and recreation employees. It would punish by a maximum of five years imprisonment, a $125,000 fine, or both. …The harassment has been growing as the number of people heading outdoors has skyrocketed, especially during the pandemic. Overcrowding at state parks and sold-out campgrounds have brought frustration, including extreme examples of campers literally fighting over first-come, first-served campsites. …The issue has also been growing on federal lands, often managed by agencies such as the U.S. Forest Service. “Traditionally about 1% of our visitors really struggle with complying to rules and regulations,” Dennis Benson, recreation manager for Deschutes National Forest, said. “Now, we’ve got more like 10% of the population that doesn’t comply or adhere with rules, regulations, those kinds of things, which is lending itself to more problematic behaviors on public lands.”

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