City of Portland, Oregon
Department of Police
July 6, 2008
NOTICE OF EVICTION
Mr. Daniel Wall,
This eviction notice has been sent to inform you and your co-inhabitants of —- SE Ogden St. that you must vacate the premises on or before the 31st of July, 2008. We have contacted your landlord, Mr. ——–, and he is aware of your eviction.
Your continued status with the Portland Police Department as a “Problem House,”defined by your habitual neighbor complaints and repeated violations of city ordinances, has led to your mandatory eviction. Listed below are some of the numerous violations and complaints regarding your residency at —- SE Ogden St.
Reasons for Eviction:
You have shown a complete inability to act with civility towards your immediate neighbors. Your tenancy of —- SE Ogden St. has been marked by continuous complaints of your utter disrespect for Mr. Joel Holly. Mr. Holly has reported numerous times to the Portland Police Department your seemingly petty aggression and outright contempt for his property and person.
In addition to countless noise complaints from Mr. Holly, we received reports that you placed large items from your property (most notably a life-sized decorative Santa figure and a large red plastic letter “R”) in Mr. Holly’s front lawn. Mr. Holly was not amused by this juvenile show of contempt and specifically asked you to refrain from placing your “junk” on his well-manicured front lawn in the future.
Mr. Holly has also called to report that you have blatantly disposed of your yard debris by throwing it over the wooden fence separating your backyard from his. Both Mr. Holly and the Portland Police Department have informed you that organic matter from your yard may be disposed of via the green trash barrel provided to you by the Portland Sanitation Department.
Mr. and Mrs. Holly are a young professional couple with young children. While they often tolerate the late-night drunken bantering that emits from your back porch, Mr. Holly was obliged to contact the Portland Police Department when he overheard your housemates and guests devising a plan to defecate in Mr. Holly’s hot tub. The responding officer in this instance assessed that the threat of defecation in Mr. Holly’s hot tub was the result of the intoxicated scheming of you, your co-inhabitants, and your guests. The Portland Police Department advised you in this instance to keep your voices low and discreetly choose conversation topics when congregating in your backyard.
Furthermore, Mrs. Holly feels that her children may no longer safely play in their backyard so long as the collection of erotic and adult content published under the title “Letters to Penthouse” continues to be read loudly from your porch at all hours.
You have been notified multiple times by the Portland Police Department that it is against city ordinances to fire a B.B. gun within city limits. However, Mrs. Holly, fearing for the health and safety of her two young children, has made repeated calls to the Portland Police Department to notify us of your marksmanship-related activities. We have dispatched an officer each time to notify you that you may not “practice target shooting” at the side of your garage or at tin cans lined up against your fence.
We have heard your arguments that Mr. Holly is simply “grumpy, overreacting” and “out to get you.” Mr. Holly is a combat veteran of the United States Army. He and his wife are upstanding members of the Eastmoreland Neighborhood Association. In contrast, your residence is one that is inhabited by loud, obnoxious, immature students with no sense of civic responsibility or neighborly courtesy.
Mr. Holly’s residence is a clean, freshly-painted house that reflects the upwardly mobile middle-class values of the neighborhood of Eastmoreland. Its lawn is regularly mowed. There is no visible trash in the front yard or on the porch. Drunken guests do not arrive at nor leave from the Holly residence at all hours of the day and night.
Your residence is a dilapidated party house. Your front porch and yard are littered with kitschy knick-knacks that violate multiple zoning ordinances of the City of Portland. Your backyard resembles a junkyard. A toilet, three toasters, and a typewriter are strewn about your overgrown garden. A dangerously rotted tree-house sits high in your backyard, clearly visible from Mr. Holly’s backyard. Adjacent to your garage is a squeaky, rusty old trampoline with the face of Richard Nixon stenciled on it, of which Mr. Holly has repeatedly asked you to not jump on it after 10:00PM.
For these reasons, you must understand, you are traditionally the party at fault in these instances.
Mr. and Mrs. Holly are not the only neighbors of the Eastmoreland neighborhood to harbor complaints against you. In addition to the numerous noise complaints of Mr. and Mrs. Holly, your neighbors on the opposite side, Mr. and Mrs. —–, have noted the “constant aroma of marijuana” drifting from you back porch and across the fence onto their property. (The Portland Police Department would like to remind you that marijuana is a controlled substance and persons possessing marijuana are subject to be charged with a class D felony.) Mr. —-, as you are well aware, is the former Sheriff of Multnomah County and has a strong sense of civil obedience when it comes to reporting criminal acts.
You and the inhabitants of your house are highly suspect of being under the influence of marijuana while present at the annual Eastmoreland Garage and Rummage Sale. Community members reported that you giggled uncontrollably at the hypothetical prospect of discovering “midget pee-fetish porn” while sifting through old VHS tapes in the driveway of one residence. The Cleveland High School booster club considered asking you to leave when you approached their hot dog stand, loudly proclaiming, “Dude, I am so fucking stoned I could eat a fucking million hot dogs.” The residents of the Eastmoreland neighborhood were very vocal that such behavior will not be tolerated at future neighborhood functions and are willing to contact law enforcement to make any necessary arrests.
The culminations of neighborhood complaints against members of your residence occurred between the hours of 11:45 PM on July 3, 2008 and 1:30 AM on July, 4 2008. At approximately 11:45 PM, Mr. and Mrs. —– were awoken by boisterous laughter coming from your property. Mrs. —– stepped out onto her back porch to investigate the noise. Noticing the aroma of marijuana, Mrs. —– overheard you and your guests discuss a plan to crucify a large stuffed animal to the cross atop the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church located one block east of your residence on SE 39th Ave.
Mrs. —– contacted the Portland Police Department. Mrs. —– peered through her window shades and watched as a tall skinny young white male with short blond hair and glasses, and a tall white male with sandy blond long hair swayed drunkenly through the well-lit empty parking lot and scaled up the side of the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church by way of an aluminum downspout. Mrs. —– did note that neither suspect possessed a stuffed animal nor a hammer and nails. She reported no vandalism, only that the two males wandered around on the roof, gazing upwards and talking loudly. Mrs. —– called the Portland Police Department immediately to report the trespassing and the noise violation.
Officer ——- arrived at your residence at approximately 1:00 AM to find the front door ajar. Knocking several times and receiving no response, she entered the house to find the accused. As Officer ——- walked through your dining room and kitchen she noted the presence of drug paraphernalia. Upon exiting through the back door to the porch, Officer ——- encountered seven individuals sitting in decrepit couches and wheelchairs from Goodwill. There were numerous bottles of open alcohol and Officer ——- detected the scent of marijuana. However, she felt that it was not prudent to pursue these minor infractions but rather to determine who had climbed up the Holy Trinity Lutheran Church with the possible intent of crucifying a stuffed animal.
The faces of all seven individuals were noticeably shocked upon seeing Officer ——- present at the back door step. All individuals sobered up immediately upon seeing an officer of the law in uniform with a badge and gun asking “Which one of you climbed up the church?” Officer ——- was met with the response of the silence of shocked and scared individuals. Officer ——- then again asked who was climbing on the church, adding that the church was going to file charges of trespassing and vandalism. A few individuals attempted to deny any knowledge of the incident. Officer —– watched the growing unease of the two individuals whose physical appearances matched the description of the neighbors.
Officer ——- pointed at the two suspects, demanding that they come with her. The suspects followed Officer ——- through the house and to the front porch. Officer ——- pulled out her notepad and demanded the personal information of the two males. One was you, a Mr. Daniel Wall, age 21, of —- SE Ogden St. (Note: Mr. Wall, please refrain from using the nickname “Dano” to the Portland Police in the future. It makes our record keeping overly difficult.) The other male, a guest of yours, was a Mr. Ryan J. Oberhelman, age 20, of —- SE 50th Ave.
Despite the insistence of Mr. Oberhelman and yourself that you had not vandalized anything and that you were on the roof “to get a good view of the stars,” Officer —- felt it necessary to instill a sense of fear and respect into these two troublemakers.
“We had the snipers ready to take you down. The K9 unit was waiting to tear you apart.” While you and Mr. Oberhelman were well aware of the tendency of law enforcement to overreact in a post 9/11 world, you had watched enough “COPS” to be well aware of the fact that trespassing on Lutheran church’s property never warranted either of these measures on the behalf of a police department.
Officer ——- then continued to notify the inhabitants of —- SE Ogden St. were to be evicted. Noting that, “Your house has been labeled a ‘Problem House’ and this is the final allowable infraction before a mandatory eviction enforced by the city.”
Mr. Wall questioned the validity of this statement by Officer ——- stating that “We have never been told that we were on some ‘Problem House’ list. I’ve never even heard of such a thing. Shouldn’t we have been notified if we were on such a list?”
Officer ——- argued with Mr. Walland Mr. Oberhelman for approximately 20 minutes that the ‘Problem House’ criteria did exist and that the residents of —- SE Ogden St. would receiving a notice of eviction shortly. Mr. Wall and Mr. Oberhelman were still skeptical of the absurdity of this procedure, especially considering the earlier statements of Officer ——- concerning the SWAT team and the K-9 unit. After a squawk from the radio in her squad car, Officer ——- excused herself, claiming that she could not argue this any longer, that she had to assist another officer.
Mr. Wall and Mr. Oberhelman returned to the back porch. All of the empty alcohol bottles were gone. Any evidence of marijuana and marijuana paraphernalia were hidden as well. In a somewhat befuddled and sedated mood, Mr. Wall, his housemates, and his guests discussed the validity of the pending eviction. Assertions were made that “That bull-dyke cop was full of shit.” Others brought into question the illegal entry of Officer ——- into a private residence. Hypothetical plans for living arrangements in the event of an eviction were discussed. Mr. Wall asked “How am I going to move all of this shit out of here if we get evicted?” gesturing to the trampoline, toilet, wheelchairs, couch, and other objects that cluttered the backyard.
As the days passed there was still no indication that Officer ——- had been truthful in her assertions concerning the ‘Problem House’ status and the mandatory eviction. As this letter was never actually delivered due to the presumptuous lying on behalf of Officer ——, things slowly settled back into their normal discord characteristic of —- SE Ogden St.
City of Portland, Oregon
Portland Police Department
Ryan Oberhelman is graduate student of Creative Writing at the University of Nebraska. He has nonfiction forthcoming in “Prick of the Spindle”. He acts as an editorial assistant for Prairie Schooner.