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Criminal Law Blog

Oh, Oregon! Are You Serious?

August 19, 2016

Oregon began as a territory established in 1848 and was later admitted into the United States as the 33rd state in 1859. Although Oregon boasts a diverse landscape that spans several different types of terrain, it also boasts a diverse range of seriously silly laws.

A door on a car may not be left open longer than is necessary.

Oregon clearly does not believe in silly indulgences, such as leaving your car door ajar a single second longer than necessary. The state’s laws contain several clauses regarding the “improper opening or leaving open of a vehicle door,” which is considered a Class D traffic violation. While this law likely originated following public safety concerns related to open car doors blocking sidewalks or roadways, the fact that leaving the door open too long is illegal seems like taking this concept a bit too far.

Babies may not be carried on the running boards of a car.

Public safety appears to be of paramount importance in Oregon, including the safety of its babies. State law expressly forbids carrying babies on the running board of a car, as well as a car’s hood, fender, or any other external feature. People caught committing this crime will face a Class B traffic violation—but only so long as they are driving on a highway. The law appears to hold no such consequences for carrying babies on the running boards of cars on residential roads.

Shoelaces must be tied while walking down the street.

The city of Portland is also a firm proponent of personal safety, going so far as to make it illegal to walk down the street with one’s shoelaces untied. Fortunately, this law doesn’t appear to extend beyond the street, meaning you are apparently allowed to duck into a storefront or stop in the park to tie your shoes and avoid prosecution.

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