The rest of the story
Paul Harvey had a popular radio show based on well-crafted narratives of mysteries from histories, concluding with the famous tag line, And now you know the rest of the story.
The Lake Oswego Review Police Log has often made me ponder the rest of the story behind some of these reports. Readers look forward to laughing at the bizarre bits and empathizing with those that parallel the pain in our own lives. When we first moved to Lake Oswego, we were told to watch for an uptick toward May, when high school graduates attempted to do something outrageous enough to make it into the log as a rite of passage. It is a charming fixture in our community that has even inspired a book.
My family has lived many peaceful years in a bucolic older homeowners association comprised of mostly kind, ethical neighbors. Two years ago, there was a dramatic shift in my neighborhood that forced me to pay attention to politics and issues that had been totally off my radar. Blatant board misconduct was followed by malicious gossip, bullying, lying and vandalism. Many of these incidents have been published in the Police Log.
Part of this deliberate destruction of our lovely neighborhood involves filing false police reports that are quirky enough to make the cut for the log. The gossip starts as soon as a patrol car parks in front of a house, and the Police Log provides confirmation of rumors. This discredits the targeted neighbor and intimidates everyone else. No surprise that part of this group has a background in psychology. The harassment can be continued indefinitely by misusing online social sites to embellish the lies even further. Any resulting lawsuit within an HOA expedites the demise of the neighborhood, as funds are exhausted for legal costs.
I now read the Police Log with trepidation, and wonder if this is happening in other neighborhoods. It is aggravating that the LOPD must allow their valuable services to be wasted on fabricated reports as they faithfully follow their creed, No call too small. Fortunately, The Review publishes fewer details than in years past to protect the innocent (thank you!), but it does not stop the online speculation and slander.
I spent many sleepless nights staring at the ceiling and wondering why someone would want to destroy their own neighborhood, then read an excellent letter in The Review that said to follow the money when things dont make sense. My instincts tell me that real estate deals and redevelopment is where the buck stops here (and eventually gets pocketed). Destroy property values, buy low, refurbish, sell for a huge profit.
Hopefully this will serve as a cautionary tale for those of you who love your neighborhood and your neighbors. Please stay involved, pay attention and speak up. Complacency and apathy led to empowering a board of directors who did a lot of damage in our HOA, and we are working hard to restore the trust that was lost. You dont think it could ever happen in your neighborhood, until it does.
Martine Kaufmann is a resident of Lake Oswego.