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Human waste left on charities doorsteps

Someone's been leaving cans of excrement at Goodwill and the Yellow House

When volunteers at the Seventh-day Adventist Church sponsored Yellow House (a community outreach ministry that provides free clothing to those in need) see a red coffee can sitting at the front porch, they cringe.

Chances are it's not aromatic ground coffee inside. For nearly a year red coffee cans that have shown up on Saturday mornings have been filled with human waste.

But whoever is leaving these late night droppings doesn't just single out the Yellow House.

John Gould, who works at the Goodwill Industries donation trailer along Highway 224 in Estacada, says they've been receiving cans, boxes and buckets of excrement for well over a year.

The Get and Go Market across the highway has also been hit.

Goodwill rents a port-o-potty when needed to dispose of the waste. Gould said one time a worker picked up a box, assuming it was filled with a donation. The bottom broke and the worker was covered.

Arline McGuire is a volunteer and organizer at the Yellow House. She said they resort to dumping the contents of the cans down the toilet then spending time disinfecting. This costs the outreach organization money-they have to buy the disinfecting products-and time.

'One night in winter it was frozen solid,' McGuire said.

Arlea Stern, who manages the Yellow House, said, 'I wasn't going to throw it out-that's beyond the call of duty.' She put the cans in garbage bags and took them to the dump.

Stern said she's called the police three times. 'The last time I called (the deputy) said, 'Well, I don't need to come identify that.' So I said, 'No, but you can take a DNA sample.' He didn't seem to like that.'

The church installed a night-vision, motion-censored video camera so they could try to identify who's making the drop offs. The culprit was never caught on tape because the camera was stolen three weeks after it was installed.

Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Deputy Joel Manley said this is a very difficult case.

'We don't know if there's a crime being committed,' he said. 'It's obviously a nuisance and a public health concern. If there is a crime being committed, it would be offensive littering. If they were doing it to cause annoyance or alarm, then it could be considered harassment.'

Manley said it appears that the person responsible is unstable, and may be mentally ill, in need of financial assistance, or homeless. 'It's obviously not normal behavior,' he said.

Stern speculates that the person must own or have access to a vehicle to transport the heavy cans. She also wonders how one person could possibly fill so many cans. It's not just the disposal of the waste that's an issue, Stern said. 'It makes you feel like you've been dumped on.'

If you have any information about these late night leavings, call the Clackamas County Sheriff's Office, 503-655-8218.