Agencies Responsible for regulating drones in the State of Oregon
FAA Drone Website: https://www.faa.gov/uas/
UAS Laws – General rules for flying drones in Oregon
Drone operation in the State of Oregon is broadly governed by The Federal USA agency responsible for drone safety, the FAA. Click here for details on FAA USA Drone Laws.
In addition, the Oregon legislature has enacted several supplemental rules specific to Oregon drone operations. The highlights are enumerated below. For more details go to the links above.
Are drones allowed in Oregon?
Drones are allowed in Oregon for recreational and commercial use, subject to FAA regulations and flight controls put in place by local governments. Read on for details.
Specific additional drone use laws by Oregon State legislature
837.310 Restrictions; exceptions.
Except as otherwise provided in ORS 837.310 to 837.345, a law enforcement agency may not operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system.
Oregon law enforcement may only use a drone under one or more of the following circumstances: they obtain a written warrant that specifies the period of use of the drone which cannot exceed 30 days, they reasonably believe that exigent circumstances exist in the commitment of a crime making it unreasonable to wait for a warrant, they have written consent from the individual whose property is being searched, they are using the drone solely for training purposes, or if they intend to use the drone to conduct search and rescue operations during a time of emergency.
837.320 Authorized use upon issuance of a warrant; exigent circumstances.
A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, if:
- A warrant is issued authorizing use of an unmanned aircraft system; or
- The law enforcement agency has probable cause to believe that a person has committed a crime, is committing a crime or is about to commit a crime, and exigent circumstances exist that make it unreasonable for the law enforcement agency to obtain a warrant authorizing use of an unmanned aircraft system.
A warrant authorizing the use of an unmanned aircraft system must specify the period for which operation of the unmanned aircraft system is authorized. In no event may a warrant provide for the operation of an unmanned aircraft system for a period of more than 30 days. Upon motion and good cause shown, a court may renew a warrant after the expiration of the 30-day period. [2013 c.686 §3; 2015 c.315 §3]
837.330 Written consent.
A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system for the purpose of acquiring information about an individual, or about the individual’s property, if the individual has given written consent to the use of an unmanned aircraft system for those purposes. [2013 c.686 §4; 2015 c.315 §4]
837.335 Search and rescue; use in emergencies.
A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system for the purpose of search and rescue activities, assisting an individual in an emergency, and during a state of emergency that is declared by the Governor.
837.340 Criminal investigations.
A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system, acquire information through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, or disclose information acquired through the operation of an unmanned aircraft system, for the purpose of reconstruction of a specific crime scene or accident scene, or similar physical assessment, related to a specific criminal investigation.
A law enforcement agency may operate an unmanned aircraft system for training purposes.
- A public body may not operate an unmanned aircraft system in the airspace over thisstate without registering the unmanned aircraft system with the Oregon Department ofAviation.
- The Oregon Department of Aviation may impose a civil penalty of up to $10,000 againsta public body that violates subsection (1) of this section.
- Evidence obtained by a public body through the use of an unmanned aircraft system inviolation of subsection (1) of this section is not admissible in any judicial or administrative proceeding and may not be used to establish reasonable suspicion or probable cause to believe that an offense has been committed.
- The Oregon Department of Aviation shall establish a registry of unmanned aircraft systems operated by public bodies and may charge a fee sufficient to reimburse the department for the maintenance of the registry.
- The Oregon Department of Aviation shall require the following information for registration of an unmanned aircraft system:
- The name of the public body that owns or operates the unmanned aircraft system.
- The name and contact information of the individuals who operate the unmanned aircraft system.
- Identifying information for the unmanned aircraft system as required by the department by rule.
- A public body that registers one or more unmanned aircraft systems under this sectionshall provide an annual report to the Oregon Department of Aviation that:
(a) Summarizes the frequency of use of the unmanned aircraft systems by the public body during the preceding calendar year;
(b) Summarizes the purposes for which the unmanned aircraft systems have been used by the public body during the preceding calendar year; and
(c) Indicates how the public can access the policies and procedures established under section 7 of this 2016 Act.
- The State Aviation Board may adopt all rules necessary for the registration of unmanned aircraft systems in Oregon that are consistent with federal laws and regulations.
Section 9 of HB4066 said:
- Section 7 of this 2016 Act and the amendments to ORS 837.360 by section 8 of this 2016 Act become operative on January 1, 2017.
- A public body may take any action before the operative date specified in subsection (1) of this section that is necessary to enable the public body to exercise, on and after the operative date specified in subsection (1) of this section, all the duties, functions and powers conferred on the public body by section 7 of this 2016 Act and the amendments to ORS 837.360 by section 8 of this 2016 Act.
837.365 Weaponized unmanned aircraft systems.
A person may not intentionally, knowingly or recklessly operate or cause to be operated an unmanned aircraft system that is capable of firing a bullet or projectile or otherwise operate or cause to be operated an unmanned aircraft system in a manner that causes the system to function as a dangerous weapon as defined in ORS 161.015
Violations are either a class B or C felony depending on whether the action resulted in the drone causing physical injury to another person.
The rule does not apply if:
- The person uses the unmanned aircraft system to release, discharge, propel or eject anonlethal projectile for purposes other than to injure or kill persons or animals;
- The person uses the unmanned aircraft system for nonrecreational purposes in compliance with specific authorization from the Federal Aviation Administration;
- The person notifies the Oregon Department of Aviation, the Oregon State Police and any other agency that issues a permit or license for the activity requiring the use of the unmanned aircraft system of the time and location at which the person intends to use an unmanned aircraft system that is capable of releasing, discharging, propelling or ejecting a projectile at least five days before the person uses the system;
- If the person intends to use an unmanned aircraft system that is capable of releasing,discharging, propelling or ejecting a projectile in an area open to the public, the person provides reasonable notice to the public of the time and location at which the person intends to use the unmanned aircraft system; and
- The person maintains a liability insurance policy in an amount not less than $1 million that covers injury resulting from use of the unmanned aircraft system.
837.375 Interference with an unmanned aircraft system; unauthorized control.
In addition to any other remedies allowed by law, a person who intentionally interferes with, or gains unauthorized control over, an unmanned aircraft system licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, or operated by the Armed Forces of the United States as defined in ORS 352.313, an agency of the United States or a federal, state or local law enforcement agency, is liable to the owner of the unmanned aircraft system in an amount of not less than $5,000. The court shall award reasonable attorney fees to a prevailing plaintiff in an action under this section.
837.380 Owners of real property; Attorney General.
Oregon statutes forbid any person from flying a drone over another’s property multiple times, as long as the drone has been flown over the property at least once and the property owner notified the drone operator or owner that they did not want the drone flown over the property. However, the property owner has no cause of action if the drone is taking off or landing, or is lawfully in the flight path of an airport or runway. If the property owner brings a cause of action and prevails, they may recover treble damages and attorneys’ fees.
837.385 Preemption of local laws regulating unmanned aircraft systems.
Except as expressly authorized by state statute, the authority to regulate the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft systems is vested solely in the Legislative Assembly. Except as expressly authorized by state statute, a local government, as defined ORS 174.116, may not enact an ordinance or resolution that regulates the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft systems or otherwise engage in the regulation of the ownership or operation of unmanned aircraft systems.
- A person commits a Class A felony if the person possesses or controls an unmanned aircraft system and intentionally causes, or attempts to cause, the unmanned aircraft system to:
- Fire a bullet or other projectile at an aircraft while the aircraft is in the air;
- Direct a laser at an aircraft while the aircraft is in the air; or
- Crash into an aircraft while the aircraft is in the air.
- A person who intentionally interferes with, or gains unauthorized control over, an unmanned aircraft system licensed by the Federal Aviation Administration, or operated by the Armed Forces of the United States as defined in ORS 352.313, an agency of the United States or a federal, state or local law enforcement agency, commits a Class C felony.
“Critical infrastructure facility” means any of the following facilities, if completely enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders, or if marked with a sign conspicuously posted on the property that indicates that entry is forbidden:
- A petroleum or alumina refinery;
- An electrical power generating facility, substation, switching station or electrical control center;
- A chemical, polymer or rubber manufacturing facility;
- A water intake structure, water treatment facility, wastewater treatment plant or pump station;
- A natural gas compressor station;
- A liquid natural gas terminal or storage facility;
- A telecommunications central switching office;
- A port, railroad switching yard, trucking terminal or other freight transportation facility; A gas processing plant, including a plant used in the processing, treatment or fractionation of natural gas;
- A transmission facility used by a federally licensed radio or television station;
- A steelmaking facility that uses an electric arc furnace to make steel;
- A dam that is classified as a high hazard by the Water Resources Department;
- Any portion of an aboveground oil, gas or chemical pipeline that is enclosed by a fence or other physical barrier that is obviously designed to exclude intruders; or
- A correctional facility or law enforcement facility.
A person commits a Class A violation if the person intentionally or knowingly:
- Operates an unmanned aircraft system over a critical infrastructure facility at an altitudenot higher than 400 feet above ground level; or
- Allows an unmanned aircraft system to make contact with a critical infrastructure facility,including any person or object on the premises of or within the facility.
Violations do not apply to:
- The federal government.
- A public body.
- A law enforcement agency.
- A person under contract with or otherwise acting under the direction or on behalf of thefederal government, a public body or a law enforcement agency.
- An owner or operator of the critical infrastructure facility.
- A person who has the prior written consent of the owner or operator of the criticalinfrastructure facility.
- The owner or occupant of the property on which the critical infrastructure facility islocated.
- A person who has the prior written consent of the owner or occupant of the property onwhich the critical infrastructure facility is located.
- A person operating an unmanned aircraft system for commercial purposes in compliancewith authorization granted by the Federal Aviation Administration.
498.128 Use of drones for the pursuit of wildlife prohibited
The State Fish and Wildlife Commission shall adopt rules prohibiting the use of drones for the following purposes related to the pursuit of wildlife:
- Aiding angling, hunting or trapping through the use of drones to harass, track, locate orscout wildlife; and
- Interfering in the acts of a person who is lawfully angling, hunting or trapping.
Specific additional UAV laws by local governments within Oregon State
Drone and UAV pilots are prohibited from operating in or over any of the city’s parks outside areas designated for recreational flying by the Director.
UAS operation rules in Parks, Recreation and Cultural Preserves
This 2016 park ordinance banns all drone usage within the set boundaries of Oregon Metro Parks outside officially designated areas. These restrictions also prohibit flying drones under 400ft in the airspace above parklands and water.
Specific additional laws in Jurisdictions within Oregon
Many cities or towns within the state of Oregon may have specific restrictions within their jurisdictions. We recommend checking the local jurisdiction for the latest regulations.
Notes for recreational drone pilots flying for fun in Oregon
If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly recreationally by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.
Recreational UAS operations (i.e., flying for recreational purposes) in Oregon are approved under FAA law, specifically Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.
Following these rules will keep you and your drone safe and will help keep the airspace available to everyone.
- Fly only for recreational purposes (enjoyment).
- Follow the safety guidelines of an FAA-recognized Community Based Organization (CBO). Note: We have not yet begun officially recognizing CBOs. Recreational flyers should follow the safety guidelines of existing aeromodelling organizations or use the FAA-provided safety guidelines per Advisory Circular 91-57B.
- Keep your drone within the visual line of sight or use a co-located visual observer (physically next to) and in direct communication with you.
- Give way to and do not interfere with crewed aircraft.
- Fly at or below 400′ in controlled airspace (Class B, C, D, and E) with prior authorization by using LAANC or DroneZone.
- Fly at or below 400 feet in Class G (uncontrolled) airspace. Note: Drone flights may be prohibited in certain airspace or may require FAA authorization. A drone pilot can find navigable airspace, other Classes of airspace, and flying restrictions on our B4UFLY app or the UAS Facility Maps webpage.
- Take The Recreational UAS Safety Test (TRUST) and carry proof of test passage.
- Have a current registration, mark (PDF) your drones on the outside with the registration number, and carry proof of registration with you.
- Do not dangerously operate your drone. For example:
- Do not interfere with emergency response or law enforcement activities.
- Do not fly under the influence of drugs or alcohol.
- Avoid flying near or over critical infrastructure.
Recreational drone pilots should know that if they intentionally violate any of these safety requirements and/or operate their drone flight carelessly or recklessly, they could be liable for criminal and/or civil penalties.
It is recommended that recreational drone operators consult the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) rules and regulations on the proper use of recreational drones and use common sense when operating these devices around crowded public areas, wildlife, or historic resources.
Notes for Commercial Drone Services operations in Oregon
If you have a small drone that is less than 55 pounds, you can fly for work or business by following the Drone Laws in the USA defined by FAA Part 107 guidelines.
Commercial drone operations in Oregon are approved under the FAA Part 107. Please check the specific state jurisdiction for additional permissions, licensing, or clearance requirements.
There are three main steps drone owners must follow To fly under Part 107 rules:
Step 1: Learn the Rules
- Make sure you understand what is and is not allowed under Part 107 rules. Review a summary of the Part 107 rules (PDF). Still unsure if Part 107 rules work for you and your intended UAS operation? Check the FAA user identification tool.
- Some operations are not covered by Part 107 and will require a waiver. Here are some common examples of Part 107 sections that are subject to waiver:
- Operation from a moving vehicle or aircraft (§ 107.25) *
- Daylight operation (§ 107.29)
- Visual line of sight aircraft operation (§ 107.31) *
- Visual observer (§ 107.33)
- Operation of multiple small unmanned aircraft systems (§ 107.35)
- Yielding the right of way (§ 107.37(a))
- Operation over people (§ 107.39)
- Operation in certain airspace (§ 107.41)
- Operating limitations for small unmanned aircraft (§ 107.51)
- *The FAA will not waive this section to allow the carriage of property of another by aircraft for compensation or hire.
- If your operation will require a waiver, read about the Part 107 Waiver application process.
- Commercial Drone Pilots should avoid flying near airports because it is difficult for manned aircraft to see and avoid a drone while flying. Remember that the UAS operator must avoid crewed aircraft and are responsible for any safety hazard their drone creates in an airport environment. Read more about flying near airports.
Step 2: Become an FAA-Certified Drone Pilot by Passing the Knowledge Test
- To be eligible to get your Remote Pilot Certificate, you must be:
- At least 16 years old
- Able to read, write, speak, and understand English
- Be in a physical and mental condition to safely fly a UAS
- Review the entire process to get your Remote Pilot Certificate.
- Study for the Knowledge Test by reviewing the Test Prep materials provided by the FAA.
- Obtain an FAA Tracking Number (FTN) by creating an Integrated Airman Certification and Rating Application (IACRA) profile before registering for a knowledge test.
- Schedule an appointment to take the Knowledge Test at an FAA-approved Knowledge Testing Center.
- Once you’ve passed your test, complete FAA Form 8710-13 for a remote pilot certificate (FAA Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application) using the electronic FAA Integrated Airman Certificate and/or Rating Application system (IACRA)*
- You are now eligible to operate as a commercial drone pilot
Step 3: Register your drone with the FAA
- Registration costs $5 and is valid for three years. You’ll need a credit or debit card and the make and model of your drone handy to register.
- Visit dronezone.faa.gov and select “Fly sUAS under Part 107” to create an account and register your drone.
- Once you’ve registered, mark your drone (PDF) with your registration number if it gets lost or stolen.
Useful published information on flying drones in Oregon
We have partnered with the FAA and other drone enthusiasts in supporting an internet educational campaign called Know Before You Fly. The tips, pointers, and resources apply to Oregon Drone Users also. Please visit the site for additional information: Know Before You Fly
Association for Unmanned Vehicle Systems International – Mostly for commercial drone service providers and users.
Academy of Model Aeronautics – Mostly for hobbyists
NOTE: Small Unmanned Aerial Systems (SUAS), Small UAS, Remote Piloted Aerial Systems (RPAS), unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), Unmanned Aerial System (UAS), and drone are interchangeable terms unless specified. Model aircraft, toy aircraft, Remote controlled aircraft, and RC aircraft may be covered by the same regulations unless specified.
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