Public Safety/Crime Prevention


Brian Stewart from the organization Quiet Clean PDX gave a fascinating presentation at our May 20th annual membership meeting.

We learned that nearly all of the Back Pack Leaf Blowers in our area are out of compliance with the decibel level limits mandated by Portland's noise ordinance, and that they emit more air pollution than cars. He also provided a list of lawn services that do not use gas powered leaf blowers. Visit their website or review his slide deck, and then ask your contractor to switch to battery powered tools--it's your yard, your air, and your family's health (as well as your neighbors').

SWHRL has endorsed the goals of this organization, and QCPDX has successfully lobbied the city of Portland to transition away from gas-powered tools.


There has been a sharp uptick in crime, nationwide, since the outbreak of the coronavirus. This includes a 300% rise in calls to Domestic Violence Crisis lines and a surge in internet and telephone scams. The Federal Trade Commission has logged over 8,000 Covid-19 fraud schemes to date.

The theft of catalytic converters (the emission control device under your car or truck) has become one of the latest crime waves. Catalytic converters  contain palladium, which can fetch $1,500 to $2,000 per ounce. Vehicles with more clearance underneath them are the most vulnerable, but any car left overnight on the street or on a driveway is an easy target. Thieves can quickly shimmy underneath your SUV, Truck, or Prius and unbolt or cut out the converter. 

Here are some tips for preventing this from happening to you, courtesy of the Newark, CA, police department.

  • Park your vehicle in a garage or secure side yard.

  • Educate your neighbors about catalytic converter theft so they can be a look-out.

  • Muffler shops are offering creative ways to protect your catalytic converter. They weld on metal to make it difficult for the catalytic converter to be removed. The cost is often less than your insurance deductible and definitely less than the full replacement cost (if you don't have comprehensive insurance). Alternatively, but more expensively, you can install a Catalytic Converter Protection Device.

If your catalytic converter is stolen, you will know as soon you start your vehicle, as it will sound like you have no muffler.  First, call the police!  Then you can drive your vehicle directly to a muffler/dealer shop to get the converter replaced. No need for a tow. And while you're at it, get it welded!


Commissioner Chloe Eudaly dismantled the Neighborhood Watch program in August, 2019. On December 5th, Dave Miller from OPB's Think Out Loud program interviewed Commissioner Eudaly. During that interview the commissioner made a number of factual errors about the Neighborhood Watch program which portrayed it in a negative light. In response, our Public Safety committee wrote to Dave Miller requesting that he air a follow-up program with people knowledgeable about Neighborhood Watch to correct the misinformation.

If you are a Neighborhood Watch captain or are interested in learning more about what has happened to the Neighborhood Watch program, contact

Keep an eye open for the SWNI Emergency Preparedness Fair, March 8th. Stay tuned for details. 



This is a friendly reminder to check your property for trespassers, particularly if you live on a house with stilts or on a steep slope. As the Gander Ridge area of SWHRL can attest, with illegal camps come propane tank explosions and fires. This could prove to be especially hazardous as we head in to the dry season.  

We encourage you to share this information with your neighbors and look out for one another. People often travel in the summertime, so we also suggest advising your neighbors they have authority to call 9-1-1 to report a crime in progress if they see people camping under your house. Please be safe and call the police to assist - confrontations on steep hillsides could lead to disaster. Officers are professionals specially trained to handle trespasser removal and have authority to identify the trespassers and create a record of the event should the trespasser(s) return. 


An alert neighbor spotted a camper with camouflaged tarp.

We have been given the following tips for reporting from our crime prevention coordinators:  

If you use the word "homeless," you run the risk of a dispatcher tuning you out or routing the call to a crisis person instead of an officer. If someone's under your house, you have a crime in progress - a trespasser, plain and simple. Whether that trespasser is homeless or not is irrelevant, so just stay on message. If you see smoke, of course, report the illegal fire. Whether the person who created the fire is homeless or not is also irrelevant - no need to politicize it.  

SWHRL would like to track this sort of activity as well as the response (or any lack thereof) of police, fire and the DA's Office, so please contact if you experience this sort of situation.

Your Neighborhood Association is always available to discuss your concerns or try to problem solve with you. Please don't hesitate to reach out.

- SWHRL Public Safety Committee


Safety Tips and Contact information

The City of Portland’s Office of Community & Civic Life, Crime Prevention Program is introducing a team-based model to better serve the needs of community and evolve the program into a more efficient way of providing services, resources, and trainings. In October 2018, City of Portland Crime Prevention Program will be transitioning from the current model in which one Crime Prevention Coordinator is assigned to serve a number of neighborhoods. The new team model will be made up of 3 teams of 3-4 coordinators per team (North, Central, and East). The neighborhoods served by each team will correspond to the current Portland Police Bureau Boundary Lines (North Precinct, Central Precinct, and East Precinct.)

SWHRL is in the Central Precinct:
Central Team: Terri Poppino (coordinator), Sarah Berkemeier

Another point of contact--Use PDX reporter to report campsites & other issues provides an important way to interact with the city concerning problems or issues with publicly maintained infrastructure. The site allows you to report illegal campsites, potholes, park maintenance, clogged street drains, and other safety concerns. 

Reporting illegal campsites allows the city to track and prioritize sites that need to be cleared.

There is also a dedicated site for reporting campsites, where you can provide more detailed information: 

In addition to reporting crime incidents to the police, neighbors could send crime photos with descriptions of incidents to SWHRL/Public Safety for monitoring and/or posting: or

Tips and Resources:

  • The City's Crime Prevention Program provides education, training, problem solving, and community organizing.
  • Report campsite-related problems using You create an individual account on the site to report what you are experiencing.
  • For most impact each neighbor should report what they experience each time, even as other neighbors report the same crime/incident.
  • If life or property are in immediate danger, or a crime is in progress, call 911.
  • If you see a dangerous open fire, e.g. in relation to a homeless camp, report it as a public safety issue, not as a 'homeless' issue. Mention a fire, not a homeless camp.
  • Note: 911 is very short-staffed (12 hour shifts with 2 hours of mandatory overtime). Lobby City Council for more funding to reduce wait times.
  • To report crimes no longer in progress, call the non-emergency line (503) 823-3333 and dial "0" immediately.
  • To report a suspected drug house: 503-823-DRUG
  • SWHRL is part of the police Central Precinct, which has 15-20 officers. 503-823-4181
  • For issues on ODOT property call 1-888-Ask-ODOT or 1-888-275-6368x4 or go to