The Trouble with Miscreants

Two weekends ago I had a little issue with people around our house again. I was busy in our bedroom putting away clean laundry. Our bedroom faces the street, and the blinds were open because it was a sunny day. I noticed there were four people sitting on our neighbor’s retaining wall. I hadn’t seen them before. One of them was pouring the contents of a two liter bottle of Pepsi on the lawn in the right of way. I thought that odd. I kept watching him. He stopped pouring when the bottle was half empty. He then took a bottle of whiskey and poured it into the 2 liter bottle. “Great.”, I thought, “They are going to sit there and get drunk.” I called the Portland non-emergency police number. While I was on the phone with the operator describing the people, the only female of the group climbed into my yard. I told this to the operator. She then dropped her pants. I told this to the operator too. She urinated on my lawn. I told this to the operator too. The operator was disgusted. The operator asked if an officer could contact me about the incident. I agreed, assuming that this infraction would be at least cited. About 10 minutes later, a car showed up with two officers. One officer examined the 2 liter bottle, which was nearly empty now. They talked to the group, and got identification information from them. Then the officers got back in their car. The group started wandering down the street. When the group was a distance away, I went out and talked to the officers. One officer said they had asked them to leave. I mentioned that the female had urinated in my yard. He mentioned again that they asked them to leave. I thanked them for their time.

Frankly I was surprised that the officers didn’t bother citing the guy with the open container, nor the woman for urination in public (much less on my lawn). I wrote an email to Mayor Tom Potter. In previous conversations I have had with officers, they felt that Vera Katz had taken tools away from them in dealing with the transients. They were told, according to the officers, to “be nice” to the homeless. I mentioned this in my email to Tom Potter, as well as my frustration with dealing with drunken people littering and loitering around my house.

Surprisingly enough, I got a personal reply from the Mayor. He said, among other things, that Vera Katz wasn’t responsible for taking away tools from the officers, that in fact it was the result of several court decisions. He also said that he forwarded my email to someone and that I would be hearing from an officer. While I was impressed by the personal reply, and his attitude, I’m still waiting for that officer to get in touch with me.

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  1. #1 by *rachel* on March 5, 2005 - 2:50 pm

    You guys seem to have an issue every month with homeless people!!

    I”m glad the people didn’t do more than just loiter..

  2. #2 by mike on March 18, 2005 - 1:54 pm

    Next time just spray them with the garden hose and go on with life. No use wasting valuable police time with nit-picky stuff like that.

  3. #3 by Jon on March 18, 2005 - 1:58 pm

    Mike: Your sentiment is 180 degrees from what multiple police officers have told our neighborhood. The only way to deal with the problem is to make sure the offenders know it is a problem. The city also keeps track of the types of calls and locations that they happen. If there is a big upsurge in a particular area, then it may get more attention.

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