Privacy, Salem, technology

Dangerous use of a drone in Oregon could result in steep fines, jail time

A drone flies above Gales Creek. Photo: Chas Hundley

SALEM – An Oregon law now in effect, passed by the Oregon Legislature in 2019, makes it a class A misdemeanor for intentionally exhibiting dangerous behavior with a drone.

Specifically, Senate Bill 581 amends a 2016 law to read that any person is in violation who possesses or controls an “unmanned aircraft system,” a.k.a. a drone, that directs lasers at another aircraft while in the air, crashes into another aircraft while flying, or that prevents the takeoff and landing of an aircraft.

The law also states that the court may seize any “unmanned aircraft system” determined to be used in a person’s second conviction and declare the drone contraband, resulting in permanent forfeiture by the defendant. 

Additionally, the law requires any educational institution, whether it’s public or private, to register with the Oregon Department of Aviation (ODA) any drone it plans to fly “in air space over this state,” an online copy of the bill states. 

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The ODA is attempting to establish a registry of all unmanned aircraft systems in the state that are operated by private individuals and public bodies and may charge a fee to registered drone users, but not educational institutions, for the maintenance of the registry, the bill says. 

Any public body that registers one or more unmanned aircraft systems with the ODA must also provide the state agency with an annual report that summarizes the frequency of use during the preceding year, as well as the purpose for which the drone or drones were used.

Oregon has a website,, that provides information drone operators need to know to legally fly an unmanned aircraft anywhere in the Beaver State. 

Visit the Federal Aviation Administration’s website to learn more about federal requirements when it comes to drone use by private individuals, drone registration and more.

To learn more about using drones either as a hobby or as a career visit the blog  

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