Aumsville, Ore., officials are studying how the city can comply with a state law that requires cities to allow recreational vehicles to stay year-round in manufactured home parks. According to a report by the Statesman-Journal, Salem, foremost among the city’s concerns is how that accommodation could damage the city’s lagoon-based sewer system.

The chemicals in RV holding tanks could kill off the bacteria used to process raw sewage, said Aumsville Mayor Harold White.

“One to two RVs would not make a difference. But as the scale becomes larger, it could wipe out all bacteria in our sewer system,” White said at a July 23 meeting.

The city held a forum July 23 on the issue and invited manufactured home park owners to provide comment, but no park owners showed up.

Currently, the city does not allow RVs to stay in manufactured-home parks long-term. It is working on an ordinance to change its code that will likely come before Aumsville City Council in September or October, White said.

“It’s just trying to … make it as easy to live in RVs as we can, and at the same time making sure we protect our sewer system,” White said.

Aumsville will focus on getting information out to RV owners to use dump sites before hooking up to city utilities, White said. And it also is changing its code to allow RVs to park in the driveway of a private property for 10 days to accommodate visitors.

“Honestly, I don’t think it’s going to be as big of an issue for us with as high as the rent is in all three of the manufactured home parks in the city. I don’t think it’s going to be an ideal situation for some,” Aumsville City Council member Nico Casarez said. “We know there is an issue with the law and we have to comply with it.”

State law was changed in 2005. The nonprofit statewide trade association, Manufactured Housing Communities of Oregon, was a leading author of the legislation.

“We worked with tenant organizations. What had happened was that a lot of communities throughout the state were struggling at the time with counties not allowing RVs to be placed long term in manufactured home communities,” MHCO Executive Director Chuck Carpenter said. “We worked out an agreement with residents who are snowbirds and want to be in a manufactured home community for part of the year and in Arizona for the rest of the year, and for communities that needed to fill space and give a more affordable option for people.”

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