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Riverdale Dunthorpe Patrol
P.O. Box 532 Lake Oswego, OR 97034
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August 2015 Update Mentally Ill Woman & Unsupervised Parties

Three recent events prompted me to write this edition of my very infrequent newsletter. A rare, but potentially dangerous situation played out over the course of several hours this past Sunday evening to Monday afternoon and a dangerous, but unfortunately very common, pastime resulted in potentially life altering problems.

Around 8:40PM on Sunday we received a call from a resident on Fielding Rd. The homeowner stated that a woman had knocked on his door and stated that this was her boyfriend’s home and asked if he was home. Based on the rest of the conversation, I suspected that the woman was at least disoriented and possibly dealing with a mental illness. I checked the area, but did not find her. Around 3:30AM, we received the first in a series of calls about the same woman near SW Greenwood and SW Mary Failing where she was knocking on doors or wandering around backyards. My night officer along with Portland Police officers and a Multnomah County Deputy were unable to locate here. The next call came in just before around 9:50AM in the area of Military Rd. and Riverside Dr. (Hwy 43). That caller stated that the woman had been in the backyard ten minutes earlier, but had now crossed the highway and was headed down Military Rd. towards the river. I spent 30 minutes searching for her, but was again unsuccessful. All of the callers reported having a similar conversation with the woman. She stated that she was looking for her boyfriend’s house and asking if he was there. The next call came in from a panicked woman around 2:20PM. She stated that there was a woman in her house. Assuming it was the same woman I had been looking for, I directed my client to call the police and I rushed over to her house. When I found the woman, she was wearing the homeowner’s clothing and was carrying a laundry basket to the laundry room. I initiated a conversation that would occupy the time it took for the police to arrive. The Deputy called my cell phone so I could provide updates and he could advise me about the responding Portland Police Officers. The officers were able to contact her family and she was taken to a hospital to be evaluated. During my opportunities to talk with her, and subsequent calls from people who had encountered her during the night, I was able to piece together most of where she had been. I located her car and the shed where she sheltered between 4:15AM and when she started wandering again.

While this type of encounter is rare in the neighborhood, it is very common to encounter people with mental illness working in law enforcement. This woman did not seem dangerous, but when you encounter people operating in a different mental state, you can’t know what will trigger a change in mood or behavior. Having an unknown person wandering around your home, attempting to push their way past you at the front door is startling. Discovering someone in your home is downright scary.

The final topic I want to talk about is the too frequent late teen and young adult parties. Like in summers past, I have become an uninvited guest at multiple parties this summer. All of them included unsupervised consumption of alcohol by minors. I am usually notified by frustrated neighbors and with early intervention I am able to get parents involved and make sure people have a safe way home. However, two occasions this week highlight the dangers of these unsupervised parties. This past Sunday night, I received a call from a neighbor who was concerned about the number of cars arriving on her street and the mass of young people congregating on the street. When I arrived, the 20 year old hosting the party told me that his planned gathering of six friends had been published on Twitter as a “Project X” party and he didn’t know the people who were arriving. I stayed at the house and turned away many car loads of people arriving from as far away as Salem. I suspect that around 200 people tried to attend the party and there was a steady flow of people arriving for three hours. While this appears to be the retaliation of someone who knew of the party, but was not invited, this type of unanticipated expansion can happen without malice. The story usually goes like this; you invite a couple friends who share with a couple friends and suddenly, the knowledge that parents aren’t around draws people like moths to a flame.

Lastly, unsupervised drinking by young people can have dangerous consequences. Around 1:15AM Wednesday morning, I received a call from a concerned parent. Two boys had gone to a party outside the neighborhood. One had consumed too much alcohol and was unconscious when they arrived back at the home of the other boy. His parents were called and when they arrived, they were unable to wake him. Concerned they called me for help. When the boy was unresponsive to stimulus meant to get a response from anyone able to respond, it was clear that immediate medical attention was necessary. An ambulance was called and he was transported to the hospital for care. I wish I could say that this was the first time a young resident required medical attention after consuming alcohol. Unfortunately, there have been multiple incidents in recent years that have had consequences to the young person including major vehicle crashes and finding an unconscious boy lying on a dark road in below freezing weather. Talk to your kids about alcohol and remind them of these incidents that occurred right here in the neighborhood. I know it is sometimes hard to reach teenagers, but trust me, they have access to drugs and alcohol. Without direction from you, they will learn by experimentation and from the experiences of their friends.