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Old 12-01-2007, 01:57 PM   #1
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Illegal Camping in Kent, Washington

I recently went to Kent, Washington. I parked legally, and went to my trailer. Within an hour two Kent Police Officers were shining their flashlights in my rig, and knocking on the door. I am law abiding citizen, so I figured they must have noticed something wrong with my camper, (like a tire going flat.) When I opened the door, one of the officers said, "Do you know that I could arrest you right now!" I was shocked. I asked him what I had done, and he told me that he could arrest me for illegal camping. I told him that I was from Salem, Oregon and didn't know that it was illegal in Washington. I gave him my ID, and while he was checking it, I told him that I would leave, and I didn't mean to cause any problems. The officer then told me that it is a city ordinance, and the only legal place to camp is Naden Park. After giving me a warning, he instructed me on how to get there. When I arrived at Naden Park in Kent, Washington it was covered in litter. It has to be the only city park with out trash cans. There are no hook ups, but there is a dump station. (Naden park is free, but there are signs that say you can only stay for 24 hours.) 24 hours was way to long, there were different people coming and going at all hours from this run down fifth wheel next to me. I am no expert, but I believe they were selling drugs. When I went to leave, there is no turn around. You can drive around the block, but the other side is gravel and has huge potholes. Not fun when you are trying not to knock stuff over in your camper. I was still pretty rattled by the threat of arrest, so I went to a public library to look up the laws, and sure enough you really can be arrested or fined in Kent, Washington for going into your own RV, unless your in Naden Park.
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Old 12-01-2007, 02:07 PM   #2
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Interesting story and a good heads up. It's not usual for suburban/urban communities to have restrictions on camping/parking RVs on public streets.
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Old 12-01-2007, 02:31 PM   #3
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Even more interesting that they are more interested in harrassing RV owners who are upstanding citizen types, while they ignore drug dealer vagrant types in the "designated camping area".
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Old 12-01-2007, 02:36 PM   #4
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Glad Kent, WA isn't and won't be on my travel list. As many of us, I watch the Forums to see where to head for on our next outing. I guess I'd better start another book to keep a list of places to AVOID. Kent, WA is right up near the top of that one!!!

Nice post! Thank you.
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Old 12-01-2007, 06:57 PM   #5
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hi 56'

interesting.

it's not clear from your post...

were you planning to boondock or overnight on a public street?

i don't think opening the door to your trailer or going inside is specifically the issue.

sleeping on the streets, parking lots or city parks is...

i doubt that even the walmarts in this region have 'campers'...

kent is 80-90,000 people and a HUGE industrial area...

while being buried in the the massive sea-tac/king county metro area.

i suspect most every metroplex city has a rule like this,

and especially along both coasts and major metro destinations.

it's not easy to find most of there ordinances online but kent's are easy...

City code Chapter 8.09 Camping - City of Kent, Washington

you could have easily stayed at the a/s land yacht harbor just a few miles south....

all airstreams and friendly folks.

the police probably did you a favor by saying 'move along'

i'd never consider overnighting in a metro city park.

even the ones with hookups and a gate are crime magnets.

cheers
2air'

doesn't salem have a similar code and guidelines for 'overnighting or camping' in city parks?
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:28 PM   #6
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Even though the Officers probably did you a favor telling you to move on. They shoild have told you that this was advisable becuase they were not competent enough to insure your safety. Their city fathers thought that such an ordinance was necessary to make up for lack of control within their city limits. This is a place not worth visiting.

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Old 12-01-2007, 07:33 PM   #7
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too late 2 fix me spelin errors....

but here is the link to the lacey a/s villa...

Home Page

looks like they have plenty of space right now...

Land

cheers
2air'
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Old 12-01-2007, 07:48 PM   #8
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Spartan,
What kind of area were you in? Residential, commercial, industrial. I wouldn't be too keen on the idea of someone camping outside my home. No matter what kind of area you were parked in if I were in your shoes I would not feel safe on the street. Sorry, but it sounds to me the local contabulary were just doing their jobs. Maybe tossed in the pokey would have been a bit extreme but it sounds to me you were lucky they didn't ticket you.
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Old 12-01-2007, 10:40 PM   #9
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Sorry, but it sounds to me the local contabulary were just doing their jobs. Maybe tossed in the pokey would have been a bit extreme but it sounds to me you were lucky they didn't ticket you.
Maybe true, strictly speaking. But this is very poor police work in my view. It's been my experience that an officer with these kind of people skills (or lack thereof) either:
1. Won't be in his/her job much longer
2. Had an extremely bad day
3. Has a very lax administration

I would (will) avoid the town.
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Old 12-02-2007, 03:56 AM   #10
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If the officers had bothered to check your out of state plates, they would have know that you may have not been aware of the city ordinance. Poor police work on their part. A simple explanation without the "I have the power to run you in" mentality would have sufficed.
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Old 12-02-2007, 07:33 AM   #11
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Originally Posted by Lumatic
Spartan,
Sorry, but it sounds to me the local contabulary were just doing their jobs. Maybe tossed in the pokey would have been a bit extreme but it sounds to me you were lucky they didn't ticket you.

Yes you are correct they were just doing their job, no less no more. You would think they would be polite to a citizen until they find out if it was an intentional violation and what the citizenís attitude is. After all the citizen is paying their salary. I know you will say 56 Spartan is not a resident of Kent, but I am sure federal monies find their way in to the budget of the local department one way or the other so as a taxpayer he is funding part of their department; if not common courtesy should be practiced. I work with many federal officers and I can attest that they are polite and nice to the scum of the earth until the need arises to be otherwise. Kent is off my list of places to visit.
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:47 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Jim Clark
Kent is off my list of places to visit.
I wouldn't let a run in with Barney Fife make me miss a chance for a piece of Aunt Bea's apple pie
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Old 12-02-2007, 08:49 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by Lumatic
I wouldn't let a run in with Barney Fife make me miss a chance for a piece of Aunt Bea's apple pie
Good point, you are right.
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Old 12-02-2007, 09:53 AM   #14
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Poor Kent, now no one wants to go there. Is there not a Kent in Ohio? In Ohio they do not like people taking a rest at rest areas too long. While in graduate school in Indiana, I often was forced to take a nap in Ohio while driving between Maryland and Indiana. I promise you as soon as you close your eyes a state trooper will be telling you to move it down the road...
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