Oregon & Eugene Law

I’m no lawyer, so the following is my understanding of the law backed up by queries to the Eugene Police Department and Mayor’s Office.

What I’d heard of Oregon knife law – and City of Eugene – was pretty fuzzy with plenty of contradictions. I mean, if it’s legal in Oregon to open carry firearms how did these rumors make any sense. Not that the law has to make any sense at all.

Here’s the only Oregon knife law I know of:

166.240 Carrying of concealed weapons.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, any person who carries concealed upon the person any knife having a blade that projects or swings into position by force of a spring or by centrifugal force, any dirk, dagger, ice pick, slingshot, metal knuckles, or any similar instrument by the use of which injury could be inflicted upon the person or property of any other person, commits a Class B misdemeanor.
(2) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section applies to any peace officer as defined in ORS 133.005, whose duty it is to serve process or make arrests. Justice courts have concurrent jurisdiction to try any person charged with violating any of the provisions of subsection (1) of this section. [Amended by 1977 c.454 §1; 1985 c.543 §2; 1989 c.839 §21; 1999 c.1040 §15]

And here’s the link:
http://www.leg.state.or.us/ors/166.html

And here’s the only Eugene ordinance I could find:

4.887 Weapons – Carrying of Concealed Weapon.
(1) Except as provided in subsection (2) of this section, no person shall carry concealed upon the person any knife having a blade that projects or swings into position by force of a spring or centrifugal force and commonly known as a switchblade knife, any dirk, dagger, ice pick, Eugene Code 4-101 4/16/2013 slung shot, metal knuckles, nunchaku, shirika, butterfly knife, blackjack, billy club, sap, sap gloves, straight razor, bolo knife, or bayonet, or any similar instrument by the use of which injury could be inflicted upon the person or property of any other person. For purposes of this section, a dagger shall include, but is not limited to, any knife sharpened on both edges.
(2) Nothing in subsection (1) of this section applies to any peace officer as defined in ORS 133.005, whose duty it is to serve process or make arrests.

And here’s the link to the PDF – search for 4.887:
http://www.eugeneor.gov/DocumentCenter/View/2693

You might notice that the Eugene ordinance is basically a copy of the Oregon statute with more weapons listed. And that they only apply to concealed weapons.

I checked with the Eugene Police Department through two channels (their Facebook page, and their Crime Prevention Unit). I also checked with the Eugene Mayor’s office (who also checked with EPD before responding). They confirmed that the laws cited above are the only ones for Oregon and Eugene.

I also ran into some notes on Oregon case law in my searches with regard to the length of concealed folding knives.

My personal take on all of it is this:

  • The laws apply ONLY to concealed knives.
  • A folder with a pocket clip that is carried so that the clip is exposed is not a concealed knife.
  • There is no length limit on unconcealed knives.
  • Case law regarding the blade length of concealed folders (pocket knives) is that 4-3/4” is OK (State v. Strong) and 6” is NOT OK (State v. Witherbee). For lengths between 4-3/4” and 6”: carry it in an exposed sheath or pocket clip – or you may wind up paying a lawyer’s annual golf club membership fee.
  • Concealed auto or gravity knives are not allowed. Open carry is fine.
  • Concealed fixed blades, dirks, or daggers are not allowed. Open carry is fine.
  • Federal buildings are no-carry zones.
  • State & public building’s security personnel may require you to surrender a knife.

This is the bullet list I sent to EPD and the Mayor’s office asking if I had it right. Of course nobody had the guts to say “yah that’s right” or “no you got this part wrong” but they all agreed that the laws quoted above are all there is. But in any case – if you piss off the officer he or she might decide to arrest you for whatever and let the lawyers sort it out.

PLEASE let me know if you find ordinances or case law that adds to or contradicts what I’ve laid out here.

I’m not interested in hearsay. As Sgt. Friday was fond of saying: “Just the facts, mam.”