Hobo Pirates Fire Gunshot at Drone Filming Their Willamette River Boat Camp

A YouTube user that goes by the name “Drone Man” has been shooting videos of floating homeless camps. Today, they shot back.

UPDATE, 10:29 am Wednesday: Multnomah County Sheriff's Sgt. Steve Dangler of the river patrol unit says the people living on the boat weren't running a "bicycle chop shop"—the drone was filming a family and their personal property.

"This is the Yates family boat," Dangler says. "It isn't a chop shop. There is a large well organized family living on the boat."

ORIGINAL POST, 6:52 pm Tuesday: A video released this afternoon on YouTube shows a man living on a boat in the Willamette River appearing to fire a gun at a drone that buzzed the floating camp.

For the past week, a YouTube user that goes by the name "Drone Man" has been posting videos of camps on islands in Willamette River and the Columbia Slough, a long marsh and canal that borders the Columbia River in North and Northeast Portland.

He posted a video filmed at 1:21 pm today that shows footage from his drone flying over a boat on the Willamette River near the shore of North Portland. The footage then shows a man on the boat pointing a rifle at the drone and appearing to fire the weapon.

Still from drone video. Still from drone video appears to show man on boat aiming a rifle.

WW reached out to Drone Man through Reddit, where he posts videos in response to the a thread titled "What the hell is going on in the Columbia River Slough?"

Drone Man declined to give his name to WW.

Related: Hobo Pirates of the North Willamette.

When we asked him via email why he was monitoring homeless people with a drone, he replied: "I take video of people destroying the environment and spread awareness about the damage being done."

Drone Man has said in posts on Reddit that he doesn't intend to report the gunshot to the authorities. He claims to have been investigating what he called on Reddit a "bicycle chop shop flotilla" that he says has been forming for more than a year. (The video appears to show a large number of bicycles on the boat.)

The Multnomah County Sheriff's Office hasn't yet replied to requests for comment on the shooting. One employee at the sheriff's Columbia River office said he hadn't heard anything about the incident.

Transient boaters, many of them self-described as pirates, are common and controversial along the Willamette River. WW profiled one such river pirate in 2012.

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