When you invest in communities, your goal is always to promote the highest quality of life. Sometimes that goal is disrupted when a trespasser enters your community. As Portland continues to grow, so do the opportunities for trespassers.
In real estate, trespassing is the act of entering a property or the surrounding premises without first obtaining the consent of the owner of the land. This can be a criminal or civil issue, depending on certain circumstances.
Each state has its own trespassing laws and they can be highly complex. In Oregon, the guidelines for trespassing are very clear but that doesn’t diminish their complexity.
To help you understand these laws, we answered some of the most common questions about the City of Portland trespassing ordinances. Get familiar, so you can protect and improve your community.
What Are Oregon Civil Trespassing Laws?
Under Oregon civil law, a property owner is entitled to file suit against a person who has trespassed on their land and caused damage to their property. They have a legal right to seek compensation for any losses they sustained as a result of the property damage for replacement or repair of the property and other related expenses.
Because of this, trespassing can fall under civil law and criminal law. A person can be charged with criminal trespassing and also be sued in civil court for damages. Likewise, a person may only be charged with criminal trespassing or only sued according to civil trespassing laws.
Is Trespassing a Civil Offense?
Trespassing is a civil offense if it involves property damage. Depending on the damage and circumstances surrounding it, other charges may also be introduced.
Say you own a property that is unfenced. You have posted “No Trespassing” signs at several points on the perimeter of the property where they are highly visible. A person walks past the signs and onto your property. In the process, they stumble and hit a car, causing damage to it.
Under civil law, you may be able to file suit against the person to be compensated for the property damage the trespasser incurred.
What Constitutes Trespassing on Private Property?
Intent and knowledge are vital to a trespassing case. In any type of trespass situation, whether it’s civil or criminal, the legal criteria listed below is vital to a trespassing case.
The person must be aware that they are not allowed to be on the property. This can be accomplished by posting signs in highly visible areas. A fence is another way to restrict access. Of course, the property owner can always tell the trespasser that they are not allowed on the land.
2. Express Consent
The property owner gives the person permission, either written or verbal, to be on the property.
3. Implied Consent
The property owner’s behavior indicates that the person is allowed on the property. Perhaps they allowed the person access to the property in the past.
This focuses on the behavior of the trespasser. If the person left immediately once they were told they did not have permission to be on the property indicates they did not intend to break the law and trespass. If the trespasser in some way interferes with the owner’s use of the property, that can be used in the trespassing case as well.
Is Trespassing a 911 Emergency or a Non-Emergency?
Usually, when a person is informed they are trespassing, they will be compliant and leave the premises. However, there are some people who will not comply. At that point, you have to decide how you want to handle the situation.
If the person refuses to leave but there is no threat of bodily harm, then the situation can probably be treated in a non-emergency capacity. Notify your security services company if they are not onsite to de-escalate the incident. Your security patrol team will arrive and handle the trespassing situation professionally.
If the trespasser is brandishing a weapon, if they threaten another person, or if their presence on the property puts someone in danger, then it is an emergency situation and should be treated as such. Dial 911 immediately. You can contact your security provider after authorities have secured the situation.
What is the City of Portland’s Single Point of Contact?
In response to the growing problem of homelessness in Portland, the City has created the One Point of Contact Campsite Reporting system. Citizens can report issues that involve campsites and all information is contained in a central location. This is a more efficient, practical way to document these issues and how they were handled.
Each report is reviewed by a specialist and analyzed to determine what action is to be taken. When a camp is moved, the City of Portland will do perform the operation in a humane, compassionate manner, first posting a notice at the camp prior to clean up. This is pursuant to the Anderson v. Portland lawsuit.
What Does Portland Police Neighborhood Response Team (NERT) Do?
The Portland Police department has assembled Neighborhood Response Teams to address chronic challenges that are the result of or related to crime, nuisance issues, and livability problems.
Officers on these teams are typically exclusive to the neighborhood on a full-time basis and do not respond to regular calls. These police officers work within the community to address various issues, including campsites and trespassing.
It’s important to maintain order in your community, but the wheels of government may not always turn as swiftly as we would like. There are often policies, procedures, and laws in place that prevent a speedy resolution.
It isn’t a perfect system, but it is a working system. Understanding these City of Portland trespassing ordinances will help you feel more equipped to handle future incidents. Being proactive is the first step in creating better communities.
Are you challenged with trespassers? Find out how the PPS team can help.