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Council 'insulted' by noise violations of a party at All-Ways Towing

“You came to a good one,” Mayor Brent Dodrill told Josiah Shaver, winner of the Estacada High School “If I were Mayor” contest, at the close of the City Council meeting on Monday, June 24. “They’re usually not this exciting.”

Ron Smith, code enforcement officer for the city of Estacada, told the council and audience members of a party that got “out of control” at Buzzards Equipment: All-Ways Towing’s property at 1010 N.W. Wade St. on Saturday, June 1.

Smith was called by nearby residents and went to check it out.

It was a birthday party. A tire racetrack was set up and a band was set to play.

Smith’s initial noise readings showed that the noise level was within city ordinances.

Pat O’Malley, owner of All-Ways Towing, assured Smith that the band would only play until 10 p.m.

Smith took no action, saying “It was a loud party, but not any louder than your average homeowner house party or barbecue prior to 10 o’clock.”

Shortly after returning home, Smith received more calls from other residents. He assured them that he would return to make sure the band was done by 10 p.m.

The band did finish prior to 10 p.m., but the party was still going strong.

O’Malley himself was driving around the racetrack.

Smith estimated 200 people were present, and many of them were intoxicated.

Although Smith had a Clackamas County sheriff’s deputy with him, the officer was hesitant to go into such a large crowd with so many people who were under the influence.

Smith left around 11 p.m.

“They were in violation of their noise limit,” Smith told the council. “They did get out of control.”

The city code classifies “any sound plainly audible between the hours of 10 p.m. and 7 a.m. within a noise-sensitive unit that is not the source of the sound” as a “prohibited noise.”

City Manager Bill Elliott had instructed Smith to issue a citation prior to the meeting. Smith told the council that the fine would depend on which citation was issued.

Councilor Michele Conditt said she felt “insulted” by this violation as she felt that the council had “made it pretty clear that we want them to not cause any more trouble.”

She said she’d be in favor of a high fine.

Dodrill agreed.

He told the council and audience of an instance that, for him, exemplified All-Ways Towing’s “disrespect for the neighbors.”

Back when the business first settled on the property, numerous complaints were received about the business spray-painting equipment, which caused fumes to drift onto neighboring property.

Dodrill found this particularly disrespectful because the employees were wearing protective gear, though the neighbors had no choice but to breathe the fumes.

“To me this is the second time they’ve done this. They’re kind of saying, ‘We’re here, we don’t care what anyone thinks. We’re throwing this party,’” he said.

Dodrill is in favor of a citation with the maximum fine.

“I feel we did everything we could do to make it work for them. We want to bring business to this town. But I also don’t want businesses that are going to disregard the neighbors,” he said.

Other Business

The Estacada City Council approved the latest version of the city budget.

They also approved the Sandy Police contract with some revisions made by the city attorney. Elliott reiterated that the officers from Sandy will serve the same amount of hours in Estacada as the sheriff’s deputies do now.

The contract ties Estacada to the Sandy Police Department for two years. After the initial two years is up, the contract runs year-to-year for five years.

Sandy Police Department will officially provide police coverage to Estacada as of Sept. 1, 2013. However, the Sandy City Council has not yet ratified the contract. The Sandy Council is expected to vote on the contract at its next meeting Monday, July 1.

Interviews of Sandy police officers interested in working in Estacada were scheduled for Wednesday, June 26. Sandy Police Chief Kim Yamashita, Dodrill, Steininger, Elliott, Sean Drinkwine and Paul Strobel of State Farm Insurance will be on the committee conducting the interviews.

Councilor Curt Steininger drew the council’s attention to some of the city’s codes that concerned him.

Steininger pointed out that other cities, such as Sandy, allow for non-offensive, non-odor causing, non-health risk garbage to be stored in pick-up trucks, the back of a trailer, as long as it’s covered.

In Estacada, however, Steininger said the code restricts “any kind of garbage accumulation at all.”

Steininger could see this being an unfair restriction if someone was remodeling or moving.

He pointed out that the code prohibits keeping inoperable vehicles on private property for more than 30 days.

“How far is too far for a city telling you what you can and can’t do on your own property?” he asked.

Steininger mentioned his concern that code stipulations such as these target people who are already of limited financial means.

Conditt replied, “I have to play devil’s advocate. I wouldn’t want to live next to you if you had garbage in your driveway, Curt.”

Conditt said she thought the city had enough problems enforcing codes, and that repealing certain ordinances would only create more.

Both Steininger and Conditt said they’d welcome public input on the city’s codes.

Dodrill noted that it’s difficult to enforce codes when the limitations are too vague.

Dodrill suggested a work session on the matter and that Steininger work with the city manager to come up with a list of suggestions to address the code’s problem areas.

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