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Sunday, October 19, 2014

Putting the "Urban" into Urban Homesteading

I am not well-rested these days.

 After a long week of work and meetings, I looked forward to a decent night’s sleep on the weekend of October 3rd. However, other residents had different plans.

On Friday night, we were woken up at least three times by drunks passing by the house, bellowing. The first time is not a big deal; we can roll over and go back to sleep. The second is worse—there’s a shot of adrenalin that happens when you are woken from a sound sleep by a scream. The third leaves you lying in bed, waiting for the other shoe to drop—or scream to happen.
Saturday night, we stayed up until eleven, despite short sleep, hoping to find the near-by parties and bust them before we fell asleep. Around ten-thirty, the noise began. Groups of ten to twelve people walked by, discussing alcohol loudly. A group of males began chanting at one another. Three stood on one corner. “Old man! Old man!” they bellowed. “Old man! Old man!” another group responded from two blocks away. “Dude, wait up!” another called. Everyone was heading south, towards Frat row. I walked the neighborhood, busted one party where the attendees were standing outside, surrounded by a sea of beer cans, and went to bed. The noise continued. Groups walked by, every fifteen to twenty minutes, until around one AM.
The next morning, I walked down my street to take photographs, which I have attached. I ran into a neighbor, hanging our “Rights and Responsibilities” door hangers. She told me that a young man asked her what she was doing. When she explained, he took a handful of hangers to distribute on his side of King’s Blvd.

 By October10th, the next Friday night, we were unable to sleep, once again, because of herds of shouting drunks passing by out house…so we were primed to be upset by Saturday’s events.
The fraternity in our neighborhood had a very loud party on Sat afternoon. So loud, in fact, that one of our city councilors, who was at my house on another errand, was appalled. There was screaming, chanting, and music ricocheting off of all of the cement walls in the neighborhood. “Not unusual,” we told him. “It used to happen at two AM. This is progress.” After hearing the party in our basement, my partner called in a noise complaint; the police visited and nothing changed. When we called in the second time, an hour later, the police came around the back of the building and had a long conversation with the membership. Silence reigned.
Around six o’clock, the herds began passing once more. One group of four boys began screaming in front of the first house on the block and ramped up the volume as they walked along the sidewalk. They stopped outside of our house shouting, “Fuck you!” “Motherfucker” and “It’s still light out!” then screamed and continued along the block. This was clearly targeted harassment.
At 8:30, we could hear another party from inside the house, with the windows shut. When we investigated, we found it a block and a half away, across King’s Blvd, in a backyard. I called it in, only to be told that the police had just that moment arrived to break it up. Herds continued to wander the streets around our house. When I heard another party at 9:55, I went out to investigate. It was the frat across the way, playing tribal drums and chanting—as well as several parties in the townhouses down the street. Before I could locate addresses, a dozen people, staggering drunk, headed my way down the sidewalk. One had enough visual acuity to spy my slender gray cat tagging along behind me and suggest that someone grab her. I scooped her up and fled inside.
We went to bed. Noise continued to swirl around the neighborhood—shouts, bass beat, sirens near and far-- until almost midnight, when there was a settling down. Just before we nodded off, red lights flashed into our room. The police and an EMT were bent over our front garden, rousing a student who had passed out in the foliage and been spotted by a passer-by. The EMT left quickly because of a drug overdose down the street, while the officer attempted to find a sober friend to come fetch the staggering young man. When the officer came to our door to explain the situation, he was remarkably cheerful and very professional. It was, we agreed, a very bad night.
I am detailing our experiences for you not because we are so unusual, but because they are so universal in the areas around the university. Friends have seen people peeing in their front yards, been woken up by young women screaming, and heard young men puking off of the roof next door every weekend until the cold rains drive the behavior inside.

Corvallis and Oregon State University have a serious alcohol problem. According to OSU statistics, 46% of the student population used alcohol in the last 30 days; 24 percent more than ten times. Within that group, the average number of drinks was 6, with a blood alcohol level of .09. As the CDC defines binge drinking as more than five drinks, with a blood alcohol level of .08%, this is alarming. Of greater concern, 42% of drinking students forgot where they were and what they had done, and five hundred and thirty seven were raped (labeled “someone had sex with you without your consent” on the chart). 

 It is clear to me that we still have considerable work to do on livability in our neighborhoods.  A small group of drunken individuals continue to hold our ability to sleep and enjoy our lives hostage.

Suggestions:
Bike patrols. Our doorhangers. Encourage all residents to call in when they are disturbed by rowdy behavior. Tone down promotion of drinking around football games and college. Remove the beer ads from city busses. Clean up trash and glass in the streets. Lean on landlords to monitor behavior and respond to complaints quickly.  Suspend and expel students for bad behavior. Do not sell alcohol after ten PM.




Oregon State University statistics from: http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/osu-drinking-statistics.

Binge drinking definition from http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htmI am not well-rested these days.

 After a long week of work and meetings, I looked forward to a decent night’s sleep on the weekend of October 3rd. However, other residents had different plans.

On Friday night, we were woken up at least three times by drunks passing by the house, bellowing. The first time is not a big deal; we can roll over and go back to sleep. The second is worse—there’s a shot of adrenalin that happens when you are woken from a sound sleep by a scream. The third leaves you lying in bed, waiting for the other shoe to drop—or scream to happen.
Saturday night, we stayed up until eleven, despite short sleep, hoping to find the near-by parties and bust them before we fell asleep. Around ten-thirty, the noise began. Groups of ten to twelve people walked by, discussing alcohol loudly. A group of males began chanting at one another. Three stood on one corner. “Old man! Old man!” they bellowed. “Old man! Old man!” another group responded from two blocks away. “Dude, wait up!” another called. Everyone was heading south, towards Frat row. I walked the neighborhood, busted one party where the attendees were standing outside, surrounded by a sea of beer cans, and went to bed. The noise continued. Groups walked by, every fifteen to twenty minutes, until around one AM.
The next morning, I walked down my street to take photographs, which I have attached. I ran into a neighbor, hanging our “Rights and Responsibilities” door hangers. She told me that a young man asked her what she was doing. When she explained, he took a handful of hangers to distribute on his side of King’s Blvd.

 By October10th, the next Friday night, we were unable to sleep, once again, because of herds of shouting drunks passing by out house…so we were primed to be upset by Saturday’s events.
The fraternity in our neighborhood had a very loud party on Sat afternoon. So loud, in fact, that one of our city councilors, who was at my house on another errand, was appalled. There was screaming, chanting, and music ricocheting off of all of the cement walls in the neighborhood. “Not unusual,” we told him. “It used to happen at two AM. This is progress.” After hearing the party in our basement, my partner called in a noise complaint; the police visited and nothing changed. When we called in the second time, an hour later, the police came around the back of the building and had a long conversation with the membership. Silence reigned.
Around six o’clock, the herds began passing once more. One group of four boys began screaming in front of the first house on the block and ramped up the volume as they walked along the sidewalk. They stopped outside of our house shouting, “Fuck you!” “Motherfucker” and “It’s still light out!” then screamed and continued along the block. This was clearly targeted harassment.
At 8:30, we could hear another party from inside the house, with the windows shut. When we investigated, we found it a block and a half away, across King’s Blvd, in a backyard. I called it in, only to be told that the police had just that moment arrived to break it up. Herds continued to wander the streets around our house. When I heard another party at 9:55, I went out to investigate. It was the frat across the way, playing tribal drums and chanting—as well as several parties in the townhouses down the street. Before I could locate addresses, a dozen people, staggering drunk, headed my way down the sidewalk. One had enough visual acuity to spy my slender gray cat tagging along behind me and suggest that someone grab her. I scooped her up and fled inside.
We went to bed. Noise continued to swirl around the neighborhood—shouts, bass beat, sirens near and far-- until almost midnight, when there was a settling down. Just before we nodded off, red lights flashed into our room. The police and an EMT were bent over our front garden, rousing a student who had passed out in the foliage and been spotted by a passer-by. The EMT left quickly because of a drug overdose down the street, while the officer attempted to find a sober friend to come fetch the staggering young man. When the officer came to our door to explain the situation, he was remarkably cheerful and very professional. It was, we agreed, a very bad night.
I am detailing our experiences for you not because we are so unusual, but because they are so universal in the areas around the university. Friends have seen people peeing in their front yards, been woken up by young women screaming, and heard young men puking off of the roof next door every weekend until the cold rains drive the behavior inside.

Corvallis and Oregon State University have a serious alcohol problem. According to OSU statistics, 46% of the student population used alcohol in the last 30 days; 24 percent more than ten times. Within that group, the average number of drinks was 6, with a blood alcohol level of .09. As the CDC defines binge drinking as more than five drinks, with a blood alcohol level of .08%, this is alarming. Of greater concern, 42% of drinking students forgot where they were and what they had done, and five hundred and thirty seven were raped (labeled “someone had sex with you without your consent” on the chart). 

 It is clear to me that we still have considerable work to do on livability in our neighborhoods.  A small group of drunken individuals continue to hold our ability to sleep and enjoy our lives hostage.

Suggestions:
Bike patrols. Our doorhangers. Encourage all residents to call in when they are disturbed by rowdy behavior. Tone down promotion of drinking around football games and college. Remove the beer ads from city busses. Clean up trash and glass in the streets. Lean on landlords to monitor behavior and respond to complaints quickly.  Suspend and expel students for bad behavior. Do not sell alcohol after ten PM.




Oregon State University statistics from: http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/osu-drinking-statistics.
Binge drinking definition from http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htmI am not well-rested these days.

 After a long week of work and meetings, I looked forward to a decent night’s sleep on the weekend of October 3rd. However, other residents had different plans.

On Friday night, we were woken up at least three times by drunks passing by the house, bellowing. The first time is not a big deal; we can roll over and go back to sleep. The second is worse—there’s a shot of adrenalin that happens when you are woken from a sound sleep by a scream. The third leaves you lying in bed, waiting for the other shoe to drop—or scream to happen.
Saturday night, we stayed up until eleven, despite short sleep, hoping to find the near-by parties and bust them before we fell asleep. Around ten-thirty, the noise began. Groups of ten to twelve people walked by, discussing alcohol loudly. A group of males began chanting at one another. Three stood on one corner. “Old man! Old man!” they bellowed. “Old man! Old man!” another group responded from two blocks away. “Dude, wait up!” another called. Everyone was heading south, towards Frat row. I walked the neighborhood, busted one party where the attendees were standing outside, surrounded by a sea of beer cans, and went to bed. The noise continued. Groups walked by, every fifteen to twenty minutes, until around one AM.
The next morning, I walked down my street to take photographs, which I have attached. I ran into a neighbor, hanging our “Rights and Responsibilities” door hangers. She told me that a young man asked her what she was doing. When she explained, he took a handful of hangers to distribute on his side of King’s Blvd.

 By October10th, the next Friday night, we were unable to sleep, once again, because of herds of shouting drunks passing by out house…so we were primed to be upset by Saturday’s events.
The fraternity in our neighborhood had a very loud party on Sat afternoon. So loud, in fact, that one of our city councilors, who was at my house on another errand, was appalled. There was screaming, chanting, and music ricocheting off of all of the cement walls in the neighborhood. “Not unusual,” we told him. “It used to happen at two AM. This is progress.” After hearing the party in our basement, my partner called in a noise complaint; the police visited and nothing changed. When we called in the second time, an hour later, the police came around the back of the building and had a long conversation with the membership. Silence reigned.
Around six o’clock, the herds began passing once more. One group of four boys began screaming in front of the first house on the block and ramped up the volume as they walked along the sidewalk. They stopped outside of our house shouting, “Fuck you!” “Motherfucker” and “It’s still light out!” then screamed and continued along the block. This was clearly targeted harassment.
At 8:30, we could hear another party from inside the house, with the windows shut. When we investigated, we found it a block and a half away, across King’s Blvd, in a backyard. I called it in, only to be told that the police had just that moment arrived to break it up. Herds continued to wander the streets around our house. When I heard another party at 9:55, I went out to investigate. It was the frat across the way, playing tribal drums and chanting—as well as several parties in the townhouses down the street. Before I could locate addresses, a dozen people, staggering drunk, headed my way down the sidewalk. One had enough visual acuity to spy my slender gray cat tagging along behind me and suggest that someone grab her. I scooped her up and fled inside.
We went to bed. Noise continued to swirl around the neighborhood—shouts, bass beat, sirens near and far-- until almost midnight, when there was a settling down. Just before we nodded off, red lights flashed into our room. The police and an EMT were bent over our front garden, rousing a student who had passed out in the foliage and been spotted by a passer-by. The EMT left quickly because of a drug overdose down the street, while the officer attempted to find a sober friend to come fetch the staggering young man. When the officer came to our door to explain the situation, he was remarkably cheerful and very professional. It was, we agreed, a very bad night.
I am detailing our experiences for you not because we are so unusual, but because they are so universal in the areas around the university. Friends have seen people peeing in their front yards, been woken up by young women screaming, and heard young men puking off of the roof next door every weekend until the cold rains drive the behavior inside.

Corvallis and Oregon State University have a serious alcohol problem. According to OSU statistics, 46% of the student population used alcohol in the last 30 days; 24 percent more than ten times. Within that group, the average number of drinks was 6, with a blood alcohol level of .09. As the CDC defines binge drinking as more than five drinks, with a blood alcohol level of .08%, this is alarming. Of greater concern, 42% of drinking students forgot where they were and what they had done, and five hundred and thirty seven were raped (labeled “someone had sex with you without your consent” on the chart). 

 It is clear to me that we still have considerable work to do on livability in our neighborhoods.  A small group of drunken individuals continue to hold our ability to sleep and enjoy our lives hostage.

Suggestions:
Bike patrols. Our doorhangers. Encourage all residents to call in when they are disturbed by rowdy behavior. Tone down promotion of drinking around football games and college. Remove the beer ads from city busses. Clean up trash and glass in the streets. Lean on landlords to monitor behavior and respond to complaints quickly.  Suspend and expel students for bad behavior. Do not sell alcohol after ten PM.




Oregon State University statistics from: http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/osu-drinking-statistics.
Binge drinking definition from http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htmI am not well-rested these days.

 After a long week of work and meetings, I looked forward to a decent night’s sleep on the weekend of October 3rd. However, other residents had different plans.

On Friday night, we were woken up at least three times by drunks passing by the house, bellowing. The first time is not a big deal; we can roll over and go back to sleep. The second is worse—there’s a shot of adrenalin that happens when you are woken from a sound sleep by a scream. The third leaves you lying in bed, waiting for the other shoe to drop—or scream to happen.
Saturday night, we stayed up until eleven, despite short sleep, hoping to find the near-by parties and bust them before we fell asleep. Around ten-thirty, the noise began. Groups of ten to twelve people walked by, discussing alcohol loudly. A group of males began chanting at one another. Three stood on one corner. “Old man! Old man!” they bellowed. “Old man! Old man!” another group responded from two blocks away. “Dude, wait up!” another called. Everyone was heading south, towards Frat row. I walked the neighborhood, busted one party where the attendees were standing outside, surrounded by a sea of beer cans, and went to bed. The noise continued. Groups walked by, every fifteen to twenty minutes, until around one AM.
The next morning, I walked down my street to take photographs, which I have attached. I ran into a neighbor, hanging our “Rights and Responsibilities” door hangers. She told me that a young man asked her what she was doing. When she explained, he took a handful of hangers to distribute on his side of King’s Blvd.

 By October10th, the next Friday night, we were unable to sleep, once again, because of herds of shouting drunks passing by out house…so we were primed to be upset by Saturday’s events.
The fraternity in our neighborhood had a very loud party on Sat afternoon. So loud, in fact, that one of our city councilors, who was at my house on another errand, was appalled. There was screaming, chanting, and music ricocheting off of all of the cement walls in the neighborhood. “Not unusual,” we told him. “It used to happen at two AM. This is progress.” After hearing the party in our basement, my partner called in a noise complaint; the police visited and nothing changed. When we called in the second time, an hour later, the police came around the back of the building and had a long conversation with the membership. Silence reigned.
Around six o’clock, the herds began passing once more. One group of four boys began screaming in front of the first house on the block and ramped up the volume as they walked along the sidewalk. They stopped outside of our house shouting, “Fuck you!” “Motherfucker” and “It’s still light out!” then screamed and continued along the block. This was clearly targeted harassment.
At 8:30, we could hear another party from inside the house, with the windows shut. When we investigated, we found it a block and a half away, across King’s Blvd, in a backyard. I called it in, only to be told that the police had just that moment arrived to break it up. Herds continued to wander the streets around our house. When I heard another party at 9:55, I went out to investigate. It was the frat across the way, playing tribal drums and chanting—as well as several parties in the townhouses down the street. Before I could locate addresses, a dozen people, staggering drunk, headed my way down the sidewalk. One had enough visual acuity to spy my slender gray cat tagging along behind me and suggest that someone grab her. I scooped her up and fled inside.
We went to bed. Noise continued to swirl around the neighborhood—shouts, bass beat, sirens near and far-- until almost midnight, when there was a settling down. Just before we nodded off, red lights flashed into our room. The police and an EMT were bent over our front garden, rousing a student who had passed out in the foliage and been spotted by a passer-by. The EMT left quickly because of a drug overdose down the street, while the officer attempted to find a sober friend to come fetch the staggering young man. When the officer came to our door to explain the situation, he was remarkably cheerful and very professional. It was, we agreed, a very bad night.
I am detailing our experiences for you not because we are so unusual, but because they are so universal in the areas around the university. Friends have seen people peeing in their front yards, been woken up by young women screaming, and heard young men puking off of the roof next door every weekend until the cold rains drive the behavior inside.

Corvallis and Oregon State University have a serious alcohol problem. According to OSU statistics, 46% of the student population used alcohol in the last 30 days; 24 percent more than ten times. Within that group, the average number of drinks was 6, with a blood alcohol level of .09. As the CDC defines binge drinking as more than five drinks, with a blood alcohol level of .08%, this is alarming. Of greater concern, 42% of drinking students forgot where they were and what they had done, and five hundred and thirty seven were raped (labeled “someone had sex with you without your consent” on the chart). 

 It is clear to me that we still have considerable work to do on livability in our neighborhoods.  A small group of drunken individuals continue to hold our ability to sleep and enjoy our lives hostage.

Suggestions:
Bike patrols. Our doorhangers. Encourage all residents to call in when they are disturbed by rowdy behavior. Tone down promotion of drinking around football games and college. Remove the beer ads from city busses. Clean up trash and glass in the streets. Lean on landlords to monitor behavior and respond to complaints quickly.  Suspend and expel students for bad behavior. Do not sell alcohol after ten PM.




Oregon State University statistics from: http://studenthealth.oregonstate.edu/osu-drinking-statistics.
Binge drinking definition from http://www.cdc.gov/alcohol/fact-sheets/binge-drinking.htm

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