‘Park Host’ RVers Removed From Park

January 14, 2014 by   - () Comments Off on ‘Park Host’ RVers Removed From Park

You’ll often see a “park host” living in an RV at a county park or state campground, but Oregon City’s program is unique for an urban area, the Portland Tribune reported.

Among five park-host spots citywide, full-time RVers Tim and Sandy Yocom have lived at Hillendale Park since October 2012.

In exchange for free electricity, water and sewage, every day they mop the park’s bathroom floors, empty its garbage cans, pick up trash and clean up after large gatherings of people who rent the park shelter for parties. They take pride in keeping cigarette butts, cans and glass bottles out of the Hillendale pond where ducks live near Beavercreek Road.

But they said they were taken by surprise when the city sent them a notice to be out of the park by Jan. 16. “The city of Oregon City appreciates your service and thanks you,” wrote Denise Kai, assistant park-department director, in a letter providing the Yocums their 30-day notice to leave the park.

“It’s affecting us personally, because we had planned on being here at least until spring,” Yocum said. “I’m volunteering for the Gleaners so that my wife and I can get a regular food box, which helps with our expenses, but I’m not sure where we’ll go after this.”

Park staff often must refill these volunteer positions in the five parks where people come and go, said Community Services Director Scott Archer. Agreements between the city and its RV tenants try to make clear that the positions are temporary.

“As part of our management and normal process, they’re supposed to turn over on a fairly regular basis,” Archer said. “If people have been at a site too long, then we look to avoid creating the impression that it’s permanent, and most people understand that.”

Established more than a decade ago, “it’s been a really successful program for the city, and given our very lean staffing, it’s been quite beneficial,” Archer said. “It’s presence for security onsite, good public outreach and if there’s a problem, people can go to the park host.”

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