Campers Protest Rate Hikes in Oregon Park
Like a can of sardines, nearly 40 people sat, stood and squished into the small Port of Siuslaw office for the regular commission meeting Sept. 24 to discuss the rate increase at the Port of Siuslaw Campground and Marina, according to the Siuslaw (Ore.) News.
Oregon and California residents, who use the municipally-owned campground yearly, expressed their concern to the commissioners about the additional hundreds of dollars in monthly fees.
“We know you have to have an increase, but we feel the one you made is too significant,” said Wanda Groshens of Baker City, Ore.
Effective Jan. 1, 2008, the RV campground facility rates were raised and adjusted for inflation. Prior to this, the rates had not been changed for six years.
Current rates for a full service RV is $650 per month between June and October and $450 per month between November and May. Previously, the standard rate for a full service RV was $396 per month. Daily and weekly rates have also increased.
According to the port’s rate resolution, prices should change each year to reflect the cost-of-living increase. Due to this oversight, a large jump in rental rates was implemented this year for the 105-site campground on Oregon’s central coast, located an hour west of Eugene.
Residents believe the adjusted fees are too high, however, and cited the lack of major improvements to the campground as the reason they are not willing to invest more money.
“Folks who normally come here are not coming, and it’s not because of the gas,” Groshens said, adding that $530 per month would be a more reasonable rate.
On Aug. 19, RV residents submitted a letter to the commissioners that listed five promised improvements to the campground that have not been met: new bathrooms with coded entrance for park residents only; the removal of sticker plants (sandbur); upgrade of the F dock and elimination of the old vessel Alava; installation of more 50-amp service; and more sites from the removal of the sand hill.
“Our interest is to find solutions to all these problems,” Commissioner Joshua Greene said.
In a letter submitted to the Siuslaw News on Sept. 10, Port Manager Mark Freeman responded to the campers’ outcry.
“Since last year, we have upgraded the tent sites, budgeted funds for a new restroom/shower facility, secured concrete docks to replace our F dock and will follow through on overdue electrical upgrades to the RV campground,” Freeman wrote.
At the meeting, Freeman promised that the amps, docks and upgrades to the Wi-Fi service would be completed by July 1, 2009.
“I don’t think it’s an unreasonable request,” Greene said about lowering the current rates.
The other commissioners agreed.
Commissioner John Scott said the campers will not come back if the board does not adjust the rates to a more sensible price, while Commissioner John Buchanan believes the $530 monthly rate that Groshens suggested seems appropriate.
The commissioners will add the RV campground rate adjustment to their Oct. 29 meeting agenda for review and possible ruling.