Sherwood, Oregon’s elected officials sent a message to recreational vehicle owners to stay out of the city’s private streets and parking lots, including a local Walmart store.
And now they’re hearing back.
Numerous RVers from across the U.S. have emailed Sherwood’s council criticizing the city’s newly-adopted camping ban, reports OregonLive.com.
Many said they will avoid Sherwood on their trips through Oregon. The news has spread through RV online groups, including a Walmart RVing Yahoo group with more than 9,000 members.
After Walmart announced it was coming to Sherwood, angry residents suggested a flurry of new ordinances, including a ban on overnight parking. Councilors considered it, then punted to a special committee on business regulation.
That committee produced an ordinance banning camping in areas open to the public, including by recreational vehicles and transients. The police chief supported the ordinance, concerned that campers risk becoming victims of crime. The ordinance almost went before Sherwood voters, but councilors made tweaks and unanimously approved it themselves.
Wal-Mart says RV shoppers are among its best customers, but leaves overnight parking to store manager discretion.
Walmart permits RV parking on their store parking lots as they are able. Permission to park is extended by individual store managers, based on availability of parking space and local laws. RVers should contact management in each store to ensure accommodations before parking your RV.
Police Chief Jeff Groth said his officers would ask RV drivers to move along, but allow them to sleep if they need shut-eye.
Councilor Matt Langer, whose company sold land to Walmart, says the RVer outcry made him regret his vote to support the ban.
“It sounds like we have discriminated or excluded a respectable piece of our population, and it’s unwarranted,” Langer said.
He said he voted for the ban as a police tool for transients than to target RV owners.
“I think, quite honestly, the ordinance only got pushed through and passed to appease all the negative sentiment and negative push from some of the folks that purely want to make an attempt to stop Walmart.”
Sherwood Mayor Bill Middleton stands by his vote. He says there are plenty of RV campgrounds near Sherwood that the people who emailed him can stay overnight.
“I worry about citizens of Sherwood, not people emailing us from Delaware and all over the country,” he said.
Sherwood is located on SR- 18, 17 miles southwest of Portland.
A Good Sam RV Park and Campground search indicate no camping facilities in Sherwood but 12 parks within a 25-mile radius.
The Sherwood location isn’t alone in banning overnight stays, as a number of Walmarts turn away RVs.
For a list of Walmarts where overnight parking is prohibited, click here.
Overnight Parking Etiquette
Some of the most respected RV consumer clubs have joined together to support your right to park on private businesses’ parking lots overnight under the following code of conduct. The code pertains to establishments that permit “dry camping” on their lots. Dry camping means camping without the use of external hookups for electricity, water supply, or waste disposal.
Industry-Sanctioned Code of Conduct (RVers’ Good Neighbor Policy)
Stay one night only!
Obtain permission from a qualified individual.
Obey posted regulations.
No awnings, chairs, or barbecue grills outside your RV.
Do not use hydraulic jacks on soft surfaces (including asphalt).
Always leave an area cleaner than you found it.
Purchase gas, food, or supplies as a form of thank you, when feasible.
Be safe! Always be aware of your surroundings and leave if you feel unsafe.
If your plans include touring the area, staying for more than one night, or necessitate conduct not within the code, please relocate to a local campground. It’s the right thing to do!
Most of the complaints lodged regarding RV parking on business parking lots have to do with aesthetics and perceived abuse of the privilege. There are a variety of competing interests that were balanced to arrive at this industry-sanctioned code of conduct. As you can see, this Code of Conduct is nothing more than an RVers’ “Good Neighbor” policy.
Not following the code has serious consequences and is detrimental to the rights of all RVers. Already, some municipalities have passed ordinances to prohibit parking on private business property overnight.
The above Code of Conduct is also available in PDF format from the Walmart Atlas website.
You’re encouraged to print this letter and share it with others to promote these etiquette standards.
Don’t be pushed by your problems. Be led by your dreams.