Oct 25, 2007

Citizens On the Edgefield Of Truthiness

During a Troutdale city council meeting this summer, a local resident came forward during the "public comment" portion of the meeting. This resident requested that the city install high walls between the resident's neighborhood and the road next to their neighborhood.

There had been a history of automobile accidents at a bend in the road closest to the neighborhood, with a few cars actually running off the road and through some resident's fences. As a matter of fact, Multnomah County had already agreed (at the neighborhood's request) to install guardrails at that section of the road. But this resident wanted a six or ten foot high wall, not a guardrail.

This resident went on to say that they had police reports showing that the accidents at that section of the road nearest the neighborhood were caused by drunk drivers coming from McMenamins Edgefield concerts.

Interestingly enough, right before this resident made use of the public comment period, a representative of McMenamins Edgefield used the public comment period to give the city council an update on Edgefield's efforts to mitigate noise and traffic complaints made during its summer concerts this year.

Being the curious sort, I e-mailed this resident, asking for either: copies of the police reports cited during the resident's comments, or the name/contact info of the source of the resident's information. If this allegation were true, we would certainly want to act on it.

It's been over three weeks since my e-mail. I haven't heard a peep from the resident. No reply to my e-mail. No phone call. Nada.

However, I also asked our Troutdale police department to research this resident's claims. They replied promptly with the following result (editorial note: here's the verbatim from the e-mail I received from the police department. I have fictionalized the names and addresses of resident's to "X", or "Z" to maintain their anonymity.)

"Chief: I ran the house addresses that have backyard fences along (X Street) around that curve. There were 5 incidents since 2001 and in 3 of these cases, the driver was charged with DUII. None of the 3 DUII reports indicated where the driver was served - no mention of any restaurant, etc.

Here are the accidents involving the fence in that area from our records system:

10/26/2001 (1X Street 2X Street), driver hit the fences of these addresses, was charged with vandalism II and DUII.

12/25/2004 (1X Street), driver hit the fence (non injury accident), was careless driving citations.

3/29/2005 (1X Street, 2X Street), driver hit the fences of these addresses (non injury accident), no citations.

7/11/2006 (1X Street), driver hit the fence, was charged with vandalism II and DUII.

1/18/2007 (1X Street, 2X Street), driver hit the fence, was charged with vandalism II, reckless driving, DUII.

We have a record of a public records request made by (Citizen Z) earlier this year. (Citizen Z) lives at (3X Street) (they had 1 vandalism graffiti report at their address, and one of the DUII fence damage incidents). (Citizen Z) did not follow up with the money for the reports, and so she didn't obtain them. Other than that, we could find no record of other public records requests regarding these incidents.

Also, I noted in a few of the reports, mention was made of the need to look into the problem from an engineering perspective and the report was forwarded on to Multnomah County Street dept. (no specific individual noted). If you need additional information, please let us know."

What to make of this interesting resident claim, and a contrary report from our police department? I would certainly be interested in hearing the resident's response to the police department's research. If there is additional information or documentation from another source, I would be very interested in seeing it. But for now, there's nothing to support the resident's claims.

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