By Boyd C. Allen

Pilot Staff Writer

A spate of abandoned RVs on North Bank Chetco River Road has created an unsightly mess of shredded furniture and scattered belongings alongside stripped campers.

On South Bank Chetco River Road, a camper, an RV and a van have parked alongside the road, about one mile in, and set up house.

Curry County Sheriff John Ward said this is an old problem but there has been an increase in abandoned trailers lately.

County Administrator Clark Schroeder agreed, calling it an ongoing problem that has gotten much worse this summer.

The campers, one of which was dumped on Willow Bar Ranch property, are creating a horrible first impression of the area, according to caretaker Samantha Getty.

The privately owned Willow Bar Ranch is off North Bank, right before Loeb State Park.

“People who visit us or visit Loeb, the first thing they see are these dumped and stripped campers,” she said, “and it’s setting a bad standard.”

The area polluted with one of the trashed trailers is also a school bus turnaround, according to Willow Bar Ranch owner Bob Lackey.

Schroeder and Curry County Roadmaster Rich Christensen said the area was in fact a turnaround, and Christensen sent a crew out Thursday to remove the trailer.

Friday, Lackey said the trailer was gone, and he went up with Getty and cleaned and smoothed the area for school busses.

He said a man in a white pickup was dropping another man off during the days to strip the campers, and then they returned at night to collect what they wanted.

“In some instances, people who had nowhere else to live were living in the campers then deserted them,” Ward said. “The county will go after them and bill them for disposal as well as cite them for breaking county ordinances if we can determine ownership.”

But, he added, the owners have removed the tags and the vin numbers and investigators can seldom determine ownership.

Tow companies don’t want to tow them, according to Ward, because it costs more than they make and no one wants the old trailers; they are not salvageable.

South Bank resident John Yost collected signatures to let the county know how unhappy residents were with the illegal camping occurring there, but he said the county had not accepted his signatures, and he was unsure what people could do to stop roadside camping.

Schroeder said it was a systemic problem, and he had called the Oregon Department of Environmental Quality because campers were discharging sewage over the roadbanks.

But they don’t address vehicles, according to Schroeder, and the county doesn’t have the budget to fix these issues continuously.

Christensen and Schroeder said the county will discuss the camper and camping problems at the next department meeting and try to create a plan.

“We are currently interviewing for a code enforcement officer,” Schroeder said. “Curry County has a bottomless pit of need for code enforcement.”

For now, county officials say the issues are “unresolved.”

Reach Boyd C. Allen at ballen@currypilot.com .

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