Public Safety Goes Door-to-Door
By Caitlin Yilek, Staff Writer -- firstname.lastname@example.org
Are you thinking of throwing a party this weekend? Think again.
Every year, UP students take pleasure in throwing back-to-school get-togethers. Neighbors are less than enthusiastic about these parties, and the Department of Public Safety is responding to their complaints.
For the last nine years, Harold Burke-Sivers, Director of Public Safety, has visited students who cause disturbances or inconvenience their neighbors through parties. This year is no different.
"I think students are living in their little bubbles and don't realize the impact they have on the neighborhood," a neighbor said in an e-mail to Burke-Sivers.
Noise disturbances, trampling through gardens, urinating and vomiting in yards are a few of the complaints made by neighbors of the UP community. Last week, Burke-Sivers visited the houses of UP students to discuss these complaints.
"I make the house visits to talk about what happened," Burke-Sivers said. "The students are not in trouble. I discussed with them how they can have parties without disturbing their neighbors."
Last Sunday, junior Heather Bladek arrived home to find Burke-Sivers and a Portland police officer on her porch.
"They suggested the next time we throw a party we should talk to our neighbors so we have a mutual understanding of what is expected of each other," Bladek said.
Public Safety recommends that students inform their neighbors about parties beforehand because it is an opportunity to build mutual respect and trust.
Public Safety also suggest that students follow the city noise ordinance and move their parties indoors after 10 p.m.
"Students don't realize that these neighbors are building their lives, while students are here for only a couple of years," Burke-Sivers said. "A lot of these people love UP, so be a good neighbor."
Burke-Sivers explained that Public Safety is not interested in getting students in trouble.
"We just want to take care of the complaint while educating students," Burke-Sivers said.
Burke-Sivers and the officer explained to Bladek and her housemates the possible consequences of their actions if the neighbors had called the Portland Police Bureau.
"They pointed out how bad the situation could have been for us if everyone who was drinking at our house had been carded," Bladek said.
Public Safety encourages students to call their department before throwing parties. Last week, junior Chris Collins called Public Safety before a 21st birthday party he threw at his house.
"I called Public Safety before the party because it seemed like the right thing to do," Collins said in an e-mail.
"I realized that we were having our party on the first weekend of school when Public Safety was the most concerned about student safety with all the new students just arriving on campus," he said.
When Collins' party got out of hand, he called Public Safety for help.
"Once Public Safety showed up, I met them at the door," Collins said. "We discussed the best way to approach the situation."
The Public Safety officers assisted Collins in removing the under-21 students from the premises.
"I felt they were just trying to make sure that no one was in danger and that the neighbors were happy as well," Collins said.
"When students call us for help, we look like the bad guys," Burke-Sivers said, "which works well for the students because they can continue having a good time, while we kick out the party crashers."
Although students may register their parties with Public Safety, the department cannot prevent neighbors from filing a complaint with the Portland Police or the Oregon Liquor Control Commission.