A snowboarder leaps off a jump at Willamette Pass Resort Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.

It’s been an expensive few years for Steve Koch, owner of Diamond Lake Resort in southern Oregon.

Koch and his family have owned the resort since 1956 and offer recreation year-round, including renting snowmobiles, boats, skis and snowshoes, while offering cat skiing and snow tubing on a lake nestled between Mount Thielsen and Bailey east of Roseburg.

He and other Oregon recreation business owners are facing an unexpected challenge to their bottom line: the rising cost of liability insurance following an Oregon Supreme Court decision and recent lawsuits.

“Our insurance went way up, and at first we couldn’t get some of our activities covered,” Koch said. “It was a surprise. We used to have one policy that covered almost everything, but they wouldn’t renew and we’ve ended up having to buy insurance from a bunch of different companies to cover all of our activities. We finally got it, but it’s very expensive and restrictive. It wouldn’t cover our guided snowmobiling, so we had to drop that.

“It makes it tough when we’re trying to keep prices moderate for the families that come up here,” he added. “Right now, Oregon is making is pretty hard to have outdoor recreation.”

A skier rides down Rough Cut under the Twilight Lift at Willamette Pass Resort Wednesday, Dec. 7, 2022.

To remedy the problem, a bipartisan group of lawmakers introduced state Senate Bill 754. The bill would essentially restore the legal power of liability waivers — an agreement that a person assumes the risk of a ski area or mountain bike park if they get injured.

“With this legislation, Oregon would return to the same standard as every other western state,” the group Protect Oregon Recreation, which is supporting the bill, said in a news release.

Source link

Call Now Button