Thursday, March 22, 2007

Oregon House Bill 3317: Private Indecency

In a news broadcast by KATU Channel 2 in Portland, reaction to the 'naked neighbor' who has been exposing himself from his property, has Oregon lawmakers proposing a change to Private Indecency laws (specifically Section 163 of the ORC). According to the broadcast House Bill 3317 would amend the law by making exposure illegal when it is in view of a place where another person has an expectation of privacy.

". . . it would make it illegal to run around your yard naked in view of others" according to the broadcast.

Within the nudist forums there is concern about the effect this proposed amendment might have of Oregon's two clothing-optional beaches. Ostensively, the interpretation is that a person in public will now have some 'expectation of privacy'. What would the outfall be for a clothing-optional beach where the public could come across nude people?

Private indecency concerns itself with a those who get sexual gratification or arousal by peeping or filming others who have an expectation of privacy . . . such as changing in a dressing room.

KATU turns that interpretation around by suggesting that public observation of nudity (ostensibly onto private property) that causes sexual arousal or gratification would be covered by a minor change of the law to add 'in view of'. I don't see how that interpretation can be supported. However, if that is the intent of the bill then it bears scrutiny in case the interpretation is applied to the public's new-founded 'expectation of privacy' from becoming offended when seeing naked people on the beach.

The outfall of this person in Rainier is just the sort of fodder that legislators latch onto to produce some far-reaching, draconian laws that affect far more activities that this person's reprehensible behavior. The interpretation of private indecency as an appropriate vehicle in cases like Rainier is a radical departure from the intent of the law, as originally written.

I suppose I'd better look into what Washington, California and Idaho have to say on the subject. I was kind of hoping that my silly State of Washington might get more enlightened like Oregon . . . not the other way around!

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