PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — The City of Portland Parks and Recreation Department is reminding motorists not to drive onto the grass or pedestrian paths of Waterfront Park, after the driver of a new Mercedes-Benz used the park’s blooming cherry blossom trees as the backdrop for an automotive photoshoot Friday morning.
A Portland local who asked not to be named told KOIN 6 News that the Mercedes-Benz drove onto the waterfront path at about 7:40 a.m. From there, the driver allegedly parked under the cherry blossom trees, where they spent roughly 10 minutes holding a private Benz ‘n’ blossoms shoot in the public park.
Portland Parks and Recreation Department spokesperson Mark Ross told KOIN 6 News that city code prohibits driving private vehicles in public parks other than on designated roadways. State law also forbids driving a vehicle on a pedestrian or bicycle path.
“It is unsafe and not allowed,” Ross said.
Portland Park Rangers confirmed that driving on the grass and pedestrian paths of Waterfront Park is against the law.
“This is not only a serious safety hazard, it’s also illegal,” city Park Rangers said. “Anyone engaged in this activity may be cited by police, excluded by Portland Park Rangers, and charged with damage to park property by the City.”
Although the park is located directly next to a Mercedes-Benz dealership, Mercedes-Benz of Portland sales assistant Amanda Monroe told KOIN 6 News that the dealership was not responsible for the incident. General Sales Manager Duncan Ostrander added that all of the dealership’s inventory photos are taken inside, in a private photo booth.
“We are not responsible for the violation and we do not condone this type of behavior,” Monroe said.
Park-goers who witness cars driving on pedestrian or bicycle paths during non-emergency situations are advised to contact city park rangers at (503) 823-1637.