For three days last week, people in our neighborhood took fewer walks, children played indoors and residents were riddled with fear because a local resident decided to teach her boyfriend a 'lesson' by pretending to be attacked.
Fortunately, it didn't take long for the Lake Oswego Police to figure this out and put an end to her shameful charade. In the meantime, our neighborhood association and hopefully our neighbors are trying to find something positive we can take from this experience.
First, there isn't a predator roaming our neighborhood, but we are reminded that living in a safe and peaceful community like Lake Oswego doesn't mean we should lower our guard. We certainly don't need to be afraid, just more careful and aware.
Second, with a neighborhood that covers 300 acres, communication can be a challenge; but we were able to distribute 200 fliers to residents near the site of the alleged attack by 2 p.m. the next day. If needed, our block captains could have blanketed the entire neighborhood of 1,200 homes by the end of the day. Our board will take this opportunity to discuss how our communication system worked and how it can be improved.
Third, we are very grateful to the city manager and Lake Oswego Police who verified all the facts for us early Wednesday morning and contacted us Friday afternoon when Ms. Brown admitted to lying. We didn't have to wait until the 5 o'clock news to take a deep sigh of relief. This is certainly one of many advantages to having a community-oriented city hall and an active neighborhood association that maintains close working relationships with city officials.
One negative effect of this incident which worries us is that next time, people might be plagued by skepticism and respond slower or not at all. We hope that's not the case. Even though the police had their doubts from the very beginning, they took this report very seriously; and as neighbors, we need to do the same. We would rather spend hours passing out fliers for a false report than to sit on our hands; questioning, doubting, only to find out it was real. In this case, the 'cry wolf' lesson belongs to Ms. Brown, not the people of Lake Oswego.
The board of the Lake Forest Neighborhood Association
Cathy Shroyer - Co-Chair
Carolyn Krebs - Co-Chair