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Thread: Cullaby Lake County Park - put it away or leave

  1. #1
    Regular Member Lord Sega's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    Warrenton, Oregon

    Thumbs up UPDATED w/responce: Cullaby Lake County Park - put it away or leave

    The information on what happened is below in the letter I am thinking about sending to the Clatsop County Sherriff and Parks Foreman.

    Before anyone jumps on me for not standing there and arguing please note:
    1) I did not want to disrupt the picnic for the other Legion members,
    2) there was no police / sheriff involvement at that point,
    3) this was my first negative encounter,
    and most importantly 4) I had already got my fill of BBQ.

    I'm not a hard core activist, just a believer, and I want to choose my fights wisely. I felt that leaving and following up with a letter for clarification and correction is the best way for me to go at this time.

    Please proof read and let me know what you might change. Thanks

    To: Clatsop County Sheriff Thomas J. Bergin and Parks Foreman Steve Meshke,

    Re: County Parks Firearm Laws

    I am writing to clarify state, county, and local law as it pertains to open and concealed carry of a firearm, specifically in a county park but to include all parks within the state of Oregon.

    On Sunday 22 August, I was attending the Astoria Legion’s annual picnic being held in Cullaby Lake County Park. While attending, I was open carrying a 9mm Beretta in a positive retention holster on my belt, I also have a current Concealed Handgun License (CHL).

    Before I continue, let me say that I consider open or concealed carry of a weapon to be a serious responsibility that goes along with the right to carry and that prior to my carrying in public I researched the laws that would or could apply.

    After being at Cullaby Lake for about one hour, I was approached by one of the parks “rangers” (not sure of the official title), asked if I was an officer or a deputy to which I immediately answered “No I’m not, I’m just open carrying”. He stated “then you can’t have that here” and that I would have to leave or put it away in my car.

    I was sure that I was legal and said so, but that I would leave with him. I did inquire if it was a county law or park ordnance, he said that it was state law not county and that “no firearms allowed” was posted at the front on the park (I had not seen the sign, but then I hadn’t looked for it believing that I was carrying legal).

    Please note that the park ranger was friendly and courteous during all of this while remaining firm that I could not have a firearm in the Cullaby Lake County Park.

    If I’m wrong, please let me know (preferably with the law # and quote) so I can stay within the law, but from what I have read of Oregon State Law (from

    166.170 State preemption: specifically preempts local ordinances more restrictive than the state's, except as expressly authorized by state statute.
    166.173 Authority of city or county to regulate possession of loaded firearms in public places: (1) A city or county may adopt ordinances to regulate, restrict or prohibit the possession of loaded firearms in public places.
    (2) Ordinances adopted under subsection (1) of this section do not apply to or affect:
    (c) A person licensed to carry a concealed handgun.

    In the Clatsop Park Regulations (from the only mention of firearms is:

    6. No person shall: …
    (n) Discharge any firearm, slingshot, arrow, air, CO ², spring activated rifle or pistol or other similar device, darts, fireworks or related explosive materials, except in areas designated for such activity;

    There is no mention of carrying a firearm, open or concealed, in these Clatsop park regulations.

    If I’m correct that it is legal to open carry, or conceal carry with a CHL, in state, county, and city parks please see that the park signage is corrected / updated.

    I know with the cost and time required to update the park signs throughout the county and state that this may already be in the works, but I would ask that the incorrect wording on the park signs be taped over / hand corrected and parks personnel are notified of the current rules & regulations and how they apply.

    Thanks for your time on this issue,
    Last edited by Lord Sega; 08-28-2010 at 04:12 PM.

  2. #2
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    Aug 2009
    , ,
    You are correct in your analysis..., in my Personal Opinion.
    Oregon is an Open Carry State that allows Open Carry of Loaded Firearms at every place within The State, provided; that you have a CHL, which..., it seems that you do.
    The Park 'Ranger' was probably just overly zealous in His Job.

  3. #3
    Regular Member Lord Sega's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    Warrenton, Oregon

    Follow up to the thread...

    I sent the letter starting this thread this morning with some very minor changes, but decided to send it to only the Clatsop County Park Forman Steve Meshke, not the Sheriff. I figure it's under his jurisdiction, so I'll start there and see how it goes.

    This evening I returned to Cullaby Lake County Park, and after looking at the posted regulations, I sent a follow-up e-mail. See below:

    To: Parks Foreman Steve Meshke
    Re: County Parks Firearm Laws

    This is a continuation to this morning's e-mail.

    I should have followed up on this first before e-mailing you this morning, my apologies.

    This evening I went back to Cullaby Lake County Park to view the posted rules.
    I found that they, like the official Clatsop County parks website park regulations, has only a rule against discharging of a firearm.
    Nowhere in the park rules does it say firearms are not allowed. So the park employee that asked me to disarm and secure my weapon in my car or leave was incorrect.
    I should have asked to see the posted rules at that time, but not wishing to disrupt the American Legion annual picnic, I left without pushing it.

    Note: I'm not an activist, just a believer in the US 2nd amendment and the Oregon state constitution. I open carry at all times (if possible & legal), by personal choice & for safety, I am not looking for confrontations.
    I just want to make sure that everyone is on the same page and to avoid anyone (myself included) getting arrested for misunderstood laws, rules, or regulations.

    You may want to issue a memo to park employees restating that open carry and concealed carry (with a CHL) is legal in state & county parks.

    Please note, what I did find was not the large white on brown sign right at the entrance that I expected.
    Instead it was six typed papers in document protectors behind plexiglas on the side of a park's building off to the side of the parking area.
    These papers listing the park regulations were readable, but not easily, and it took me three circles of the parking area to finally see where they were located.
    Also the date on them was 9-24-99, you might want to update & replace them; maybe even relocate them to the parking permit dispenser shack closer to the entrance.

    I would like to request a short letter confirming that open carry and concealed carry (with a CHL) is legal / not against park regulations in Clatsop county parks.
    Preferably on official letterhead with your signature, just scan & e-mail me. This is just so I have something official to carry should a parks employee approach me in the future.

    Thank you very much for your time and effort on this issue.


    I will follow up on this thread when I get a response.
    Last edited by Lord Sega; 08-24-2010 at 02:02 PM.

  4. #4
    Regular Member SargentMac's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    Vancouver, Washington, United States
    Great work Doug. No need to jump into extreme activist mode if you can get things done in a civil manner. Makes us all look good. I look forward to reading his reply.

  5. #5
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    A, A
    Excellent job, I look forward to the response you get.


  6. #6
    Regular Member
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    Beaverton, ,
    I got this email from Oregon Firearms a while back....

    "The following was forwarded to us about a year ago:

    From: FOREMAN Jeff
    Date: Mon, 12 Jan 2009 09:59:15 -0800

    Subject: RE: OAR 629-25-050(5)

    The Oregon Department of Forestry (ODF) has stopped enforcing section
    c of OAR 629-25-050(5). This section relates to possession of a
    loaded firearm in state-owned forestland designated as a recreation
    area. The rule was originally developed with assistance from the
    Oregon State Parks and Recreation Department. This was done so ODF
    would be aligned with that agency's rules for campgrounds. Oregon
    State Parks has since rescinded that rule. We, too, recognize the
    need to do the same.

    Thank you for your interest in State Forests. If I can be of further
    assistance, don't hesitate to contact me.

    Jeff Foreman
    Public Information Officer
    Oregon Dept of Forestry
    2600 State Street
    Salem, OR 97310
    (503) 945-7506"

  7. #7
    Regular Member Lord Sega's Avatar
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    Jul 2010
    Warrenton, Oregon

    Thumbs up Got a positive responce!

    GSXRrider, thanks for the info, I had seen a lot of info about State parks/forests, but not much about County parks.

    I did get a response from Clatsop County Parks Foreman Steve Meshke:

    Doug, I would like to apologize for the situation involving our Park Host and the topic of carrying a weapon in the County Park. In reviewing our own County Park Rules you are correct in that it dose not prohibit carrying a firearm in the Parks system, it only states than no person shall "Discharge any firearm, slingshot, arrow, air, CO ², spring activated rifle or pistol or other similar device, darts, fireworks or related explosive materials, except in areas designated for such activity. With that said you where correct in being able to carry weapon the park, we have no rule that prohibits carrying a fire arm.

    My Park host was under the impression that it was a rule for our parks system and he was wrong in confronting you. I have talked to my Park Staff and Park Host to ensure that they are familiar with our park rules to prevent any further conflicts with park users concerning all of our park rules. I find no reason to write you a letter with these facts as it is very clear in reviewing County and State laws in the carrying of firearms.

    I apologize again for disrupting your picnic event and hope that we didn't ruin the rest of your day with this situation. Please feel free to contact me if you have any further questions. My cell number is 503-xxx-xxxx, Thanks

    All-in-all a very quick and good response.

  8. #8
    Regular Member Ironbar's Avatar
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    Jul 2009
    Tigard, Oregon, USA
    Dude, you handled that situation about as well as it possibly could have been handled. Well done, and thanks for representing all law-abiding gun owners in a positive light!!
    Last edited by Ironbar; 09-08-2010 at 01:57 AM.

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