City right to deal with nuisances


Oregonians don't always react well to what they view as government intrusion into private affairs. So it is with some caution that we welcome the city of Gresham's more assertive approach to dealing with city-code violations.

Abandoned vehicles, overgrown weeds, junk piles and other eyesores venture beyond the line of what might be considered a personal concern and into the territory of public nuisance. Property owners - or vehicle owners - may believe they have a right to do as they please with their belongings. But their neighbors also have a right not to be bothered, or have their own property devalued, by the actions of others.

Protecting the interests of the majority is what the city has in mind as it doubles the number of code-enforcement officers from two to four. A beefed-up staff will allow the city to do more than simply react to reports of code violations. The new officers, along with other policy changes, will give the city the ability to resolve code violations more quickly, thereby enhancing the city's appearance and livability.

Most Gresham residents chose this community because they value quality of life. When a few people threaten that quality by failing to comply with municipal codes, the city has an obligation, within reason, for timely intervention.