Friday, April 3, 2009

Oregon's Proposed Raft and Kayak Tax

Oregon House Bill 3447 would require Oregonians to buy nonmotorized boat permits for their rafts and kayaks.

The biennial fee would be $50 for one boat or a maximum of $300 if you own a play boat, creek boat, inflatable kayak, raft, and cat (5 or more boats is $300 total). The maximum penalty for failing to display a permit would be $90.

Apparently this is Oregon's attempt to pay for House Bill 2220, which would require check stations to examine boats for aquatic invasive species. HB 2220 doesn't provide for any funding, thus this tax on Oregon's rafters and kayakers.

Whitewater boating is not cheap to do safely. The above photo is the author's wife rafting the middle McKenzie River at higher water.

This bill would tax our family $150 after we already injected thousands of dollars into the Oregon economy purchasing all of the gear, not to mention the hundreds of dollars in gas money and the resulting gas tax traveling around Oregon to rafting destinations.

I challenge the legislature to produce any evidence of a whitewater kayak or raft ever transferring an invasive species. Ever seen a zebra mussel attached to the bottom of a creek boat? I haven't.

Oregon's whitewater boaters do more to protect our creeks and rivers than almost any other group. Visit for an example of Jason Rackley's efforts.

This bill originated in the House Rules Committee. I contacted Vice-Chair Chris Edwards' (D-Eugene/Santa Clara) office and learned that it was referred to the Transportation Committee, where Terry Beyer of Springfield is the chair. This committee has until April 17th to hear all of its bills.

Please call (503-986-1412) or email Terry Beyer's office and tell them to bury this in committee. It should never see the light of day. Call Rep. Beyer's office and say, "Please stay out of our rafts and kayaks by drowning House Bill 3447!"

Click here to find your Oregon legislator.

by C. Michael Arnold, Attorney at Law,
Eugene, Oregon Arnold Law Office, LLC

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