The 8 Weirdest, Strangest and Stupidest Laws in Oregon

There are some truly bizarre laws in Oregon. For instance, it is illegal to leave your cellar door open in the city of Yamhill, and owning bolt-cutters in the city of Portland is forbidden even though they are sold in almost all local stores.

Granted, some of these laws are a bit obscure and are not being enforced as much as they were a while back, but they are still good for eliciting a few giggles from your workmates in the office.

Below is a collection of eight weird laws from the state of Oregon that you’ve probably broken at one time.

1. Only one person is allowed in the restroom

In Portland, it is illegal for more than one person to occupy any restroom that is located in a public building or on public property, unless one of those persons is assisting a handicapped person or persons, a child or children under 12 years of age, or an elderly person, or persons in need of assistance. 

This law was put in place to curb drug and prostitution-related activities that have plagued many cities in the U.S.

2. Citizens can issue tickets to traffic officers.

According to state law, a private party can issue a ticket in a couple of situations, even to police officers!  These ‘tickets’ are referred to legally as citizen citations.

This law states that “A person other than an enforcement officer may commence a violation proceeding under this section only for boating violations, traffic violations, violations under the wildlife laws, and violations under the commercial fishing laws.

3. Leaving your car door open for long durations could get you into trouble

A person commits the offense of ‘improper opening or leaving open a vehicle door’ if the person leaves a door open on the side of a vehicle available to traffic, or to pedestrians or bicycles on sidewalks for a period of time longer than necessary to load or unload passengers. 

This offense is considered a Class D traffic violation and the penalty is a maximum fine of $250, minimum of $60 and presumptive fine of $110.

4. No drapes in doorways

Hospitals and prisons in the Portland area are not allowed to place drapes instead of a door when a doorway or door frame is present. This edict is intended to protect patient and inmate safety, and privacy. It also helps to alleviate the risk posed by a dangerous fire.

5. Occult arts are forbidden

This ordinance is from Yamhill. By the law’s definition, “occult arts” refers to “the use or practice of fortunetelling, astrology, phrenology, palmistry, clairvoyance,

mesmerism, spiritualism, or any other practice or practices generally recognized to be unsound and unscientific.” Violating this law is considered an unclassified misdemeanor.

When starting a business in Oregon, you need to understand the rules that the state imposes on businesses. Perhaps these guides on how to start an LLC in Oregon and how to find a great registered agent in Oregon can help you avoid any legal issues when opening or doing business in the state.

6. No trucks in these streets

Portland streets to be precise. Any person who owns or controls any truck or truck trailer must provide, at his or her own expense, complete off-street parking facilities for the storage of all such equipment.

7. Don’t carry a baby on the running board of a vehicle

This could be obvious to any level-headed individual but the state legislature thought to intervene and make sure that it was absolutely clear to everyone not to carry a child on an external part of a motor vehicle. 

That includes the hood, fender, running board, or other external part of any motor vehicle that is upon a highway. Anyone who violates this rule is guilty of a Class B traffic violation. The maximum fine for an individual is $1,000.

8. Drivers must yield to pedestrians on the sidewalk

This is somewhat a reversal of roles. In most places, pedestrians (unless at a zebra crossing) should give way to motor vehicles. However, in Oregon, vehicles are supposed to yield way to any pedestrian who is standing on a sidewalk. Failure to do so is a Class B traffic violation.


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