Apparently homeless man pitches tent near SLUG Garden

By Olivia Sanchez | March 20, 2018 8:21pm

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Robert Johnson Patterson, 39, stands by a tent he pitched near the SLUG garden. This photo was attached in a campus-wide email sent out Tuesday by Public Safety Director Gerald Gregg. It is unclear how and when the photo was taken.

Public Safety sent out an unusual email Tuesday afternoon about an apparently homeless man they say has pitched a tent on city property just beyond the SLUG Garden near the edge of campus. In the email, Director of Public Safety Gerald Gregg asked members of the university community to notify PSAFE if they see Robert Johnson Patterson, 39, who was issued a trespass warning and excluded from campus Monday night. 

“People are paying a lot of money to go to school here and do it safely,” said Public Safety Sergeant Michael Kranyak. “It’s a liability issue more than anything.”

Kranyak said Patterson would be detained by Public Safety and arrested by Portland Police should he step on campus again. This includes University-owned rental properties in the neighborhood surrounding campus, according to Kranyak.  

Patterson entered Beauchamp Wellness and Recreation Center around 9:30 p.m. Monday, without checking in at the front desk, and was found soon afterwards in the men’s locker room by a UP staff member, according to an email Gregg sent to the UP community. 

Clackamas County mugshot courtesy of Public Safety.

Public Safety Officer Michael Kranyak said that he was not behaving violently, but falsely told a Public Safety officer that he is a student. 

Kranyak said that Patterson is not a member of the university community, but has recently pitched a tent and has been living on a small piece of city-owned land right off the SLUG Garden. Since the land is not owned by the University, Public Safety officers do not have the jurisdiction to ask him to leave.

“It’s a bad idea to let him assume that the university is at his disposal,” Kranyak said. “We’re a private school.”

Incidents of trespassing are not uncommon on campus, but Kranyak said this case is different. Due to Patterson’s close proximity to campus, and the high likelihood that he might appear again, Public Safety decided to notify the community, and ask students, faculty and staff to keep an eye out for him.

Patterson has an arrest record that includes charges of possession of methamphetamine and theft. 

Contact News and Managing Editor Olivia Sanchez at sancheol18@up.edu or on Twitter @OliviaRSanchez.
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