By Kate Renner
LANE COUNTY, Ore. — It’s been an eyesore in Glenwood for decades, and now vandals are even frustrated with Heroin Hill.
The troubling homeless camps off Franklin Boulevard have always exasperated law enforcement, but a new spray-painted message shows the community at large has had enough.
“There’s syringes up there. Be careful where you step. This is also their toilet,” said Sgt. R.A. Lewis, Springfield Police Department.
Some would call it the public toilet of Lane County across the tracks from Springfield.
Recent vandals spray-painted their feelings on the mound of trash saying “Look at what the bums have done.”
Dozens of transients call it home, but no one is maintaining the house-keeping.
“I’m not surprised that we haven’t run into anyone. Generally they come down into the city,” Lewis said.
The city would be Springfield, where Sgt. Lewis patrols.
But it’s not Springfield’s jurisdiction even though sometimes Lewis says he wishes it was.
“It’s walking distance to Springfield, so it directly affects us,” Lewis said.
The campsites at Heroin Hill stretch up and up and up.
According to Lewis, a cleanup effort would be monumental. In fact, he estimates it could cost tens of thousands of dollars to not only get rid of all the junk, but then to patrol the area.
When asked who would foot the bill, Lewis said, “I’m guessing the property owner. I mean, who else would foot the bill and who else should foot the bill?”
So who owns this property? According to the Lane County Assessor’s Office, it’s Edward MaCauley Sr. of Cottage Grove, but he’s in a state prison for pedophelia.
His brother Bill has the power of attorney, and he says he filed a complaint to evict the trespassers last summer.
“If somebody is trespassing, and you think you’ve resolved it by sending a letter. We don’t know if there’s anybody there or not because there’s not a report stating that there’s somebody there right now for us to deal with,” said Lt. Byron Trapp, Lane County Sheriff’s Office.
But there’s not much incentive for the county.
“We’re not in the business generally of patrolling private property,” Trapp said.
Nor is there incentive for the MaCauleys, knowing they’d get stuck with a huge cleanup bill.
“It’s kind of a resource sucker. It just is,” Lewis said.
Springfield police hope to plan a joint sweep of the hill with the Lane County Sheriff’s Office later this spring.