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Human waste case not solved, but situation improved

Congressman Blumenauer's office calls Yellow House about

Arline McGuire received a call from Congressman Earl Blumenauer's office a month ago. She still has the post-it note that she scribbled his office number on that day-the day she and the Yellow House volunteers learned that the red Folgers coffee tubs filled with human waste isn't just their concern.

'They read the article and they were appalled, especially that the Sheriff's Office said it wasn't a criminal offense,' McGuire said. 'No criminal offense? That's pretty horrible.'

In a phone interview on Oct. 25, Clackamas County Sheriff's Office Deputy Joel Manley said, 'We don't know if there's a crime being committed. It's obviously a nuisance and a public health concern. If there is a crime being committed, it would be offensive littering.'

For the past year volunteers at the Yellow House (an Estacada Seventh-day Adventist sponsored community outreach ministry) have had to dispose of coffee tubs filled with human waste left at their front doorstep over the weekends.

Eric Chambers, who is a staff member of Congressman Bluemnauer, made the call. 'He said, 'If you get any more donations like that, we want to hear about it,' McGuire said.

But McGuire had hopeful news to report. She said one week after the story ran in the newspaper in November, a large garbage bag was left at the Yellow House. Inside the bag they found eight empty red plastic Folgers coffee tubs.

'And they still smelled of coffee,' said Arlea Stern, Yellow House manager and volunteer.

The next week they found another bag with seven empty Folgers coffee tubs in it. Next to the bag was a big cardboard box with kitchen garbage, including cigarette butts and what looked like dirty diapers. 'I'm just assuming they came together,' Stern said.

The Yellow House has also received donations of laundry soap and drier sheets from community members after they learned about the good work the outreach program provides to local families in need.

McGuire said she was pleasantly surprised by the call from Blumenauer's office. 'Eric was really, really nice. He said he never heard of such a thing.'

Chambers said the congressman receives all of the local papers in his district. After learning about the human waste situation in Estacada and the response by the Sheriff's Office, Chambers said he called Deputy Manley and left a message asking if more assistance was needed. The call was not returned.

'It's a bio-hazard,' Chambers said. Blumenauer's chief of staff even offered to organize a stakeout.

'(The Yellow House) is doing vital work in the community,' Chambers said. 'It's unacceptable that they should have to deal with weekly drop-offs of feces.'