PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ron Louie has decades of experience dealing with chronic nuisance properties like the Hendon house in North Portland.
Louie, who spent 33 years in law enforcement and was chief in Hillsboro, Astoria and in Palo Alto, California, said problem properties are not unusual, but it takes creative work from the city and county to respond to it and to stop it.
He said it can be done, even with limited resources.
Records obtained by KOIN 6 News show that since 2019 people have called 911 to the Hendon house on North Houghton Street 201 times for offenses including assaults, shots fired, vandalism and threats. Within a 2-block radius, there have been 316 calls to 911 since 2018.
When the city has a property that has racked up hundreds of 911 calls, like the Hendon house, he said he would move the North Precinct to the neighborhood, assign a lead coordinator to the property and have officers work out of the mobile command unit nearby everyday.
“I would make a police presence because there, there’s a lot of public property, crimes, infractions and damage right off the bat,” said former police chief Ron Louie. “It’s cheaper to do that in the long run than let it go as normal. It’s far cheaper and makes more sense to do it that way than to keep on responding to the same problem time and time again.”
But it takes more than just police, he said. “The real key is to have somebody coordinate everything.”
He said it’s important that police coordinate with deputies to pick off other known criminals on probation frequenting the problem property and work with code enforcement and PBOT in the meantime to address the private and public property violations going on that are negatively impacting the neighborhood on a daily basis.
“This is the same model we use for organized crime,” Louie told KOIN 6 News. “You gotta follow through because right now what I, my sense is, the people that are associated with that feel impervious.”
However, he did acknowledge a bottleneck issue — and that is prosecution. There is a severe shortage of public defenders, so that does make an already challenging situation of ongoing crime worse.