Problematic Behavior or Activity
In 2014, the Neighborhood Enforcement Team (NET) at Gresham PD received complaints about people camping on a property at SE Yamhill St. The property was a vacant lot with a large lake and tree area that the local transient population began living on. Code Enforcement helped NET find the owners contact information. The owners of each of the adjoining properties informed NET that they wanted the trespassers moved and they would press charges if necessary. NET notified the transients and many of them left. However, in the summer of 2015, the transient population in Gresham exploded. Many people returned to the property on SE Yamhill St and the debris, garbage and junk began to accumulate.
Impact on the Community
NET continued to receive complaints from neighbors about the garbage and presence of transients on the property. The owners of the property were unhappy and were inclined to press trespassing charges. The quality of life for neighbors and the nearby community was impacted and people did not feel safe with such activity in their neighborhood.
NET contacted the property owners and was told that another person was buying the land. The new owner wanted a relationship with the Neighborhood Enforcement Team and asked NET to work with him to clean up the property. In November 2015, NET went to the property and notified all of the campers that they had 24 hours to vacate the premises, per the new owner or they would be arrested. Surprisingly, the transients complied. The new owner brought in heavy equipment and scooped up the garbage and had it hauled away. He brought in large equipment and had all the blackberry bushes removed so there was a clear line of sight from Yamhill St to the back of the property to the south. The owner also brought a barge out to the lake and collected all the trash that had been thrown over the bank into the lake. The new owner posted No Trespassing signs and re-enforced the fences around the property and the gate.
Based on Research
The owner of the property was responsible for all cleanup efforts.
Critical Success Factors
The cooperation of the new landowner and his willingness to partner with NET was critical to the success of this project.
Solicit the assistance of your code enforcement team and get the landowners involved. The threat of arrest is not enough unless you have the support from the landowners.