Every September, it's the same story: A new wave of Lewis and Clark College students move into rental houses in the Collins View neighborhood of SW Portland. Some of them throw rowdy parties, neighbors call the cops, and relations between students and longtime residents sour.
On September 2 this year, there was a big party in the River View Cemetery, near the college. When college public safety officers broke up the crowd shortly after 10 pm, some of the students headed to a house party a few blocks away.
"Numerous groups of students were observed walking along Palatine Hill Road throughout the night, and damage to at least one neighbor's property was attributed to students," the neighborhood association wrote in a notice to residents.
On October 4, neighbors, students, and campus officials got together to tackle the problem.
"For three years, this topic has come up. I'm at a loss as to what to do," said David Ellis, general counsel at Lewis and Clark. The school is considering drawing up an off-campus conduct code.
Student renter Steve Sommer had his own suggestion for patching up relations: "As students, I'd really like to emphasize the notion of building community without involving third parties like the police."
Sommer explained that he and his roommates make a point to introduce themselves to the neighbors when they move in, trade schedules and contact info, and give a heads up if they plan to have a party.
"If the student that lives next door hasn't stopped by yet, go and say hello."
Meredith Price, a member of Lewis and Clark's student government, recently moved into a house in the neighborhood. Thanks to past tenants' behavior, her first contact with a neighbor wasn't pleasant.
"Our first interaction was four people sitting in the back room [of our house] having a conversation and someone coming to the front door, banging on the glass. It was a little intense," she said.
Student Body President Bobby McHugh suggested that the neighborhood association and students should "move the discussion to having successful relationships with neighbors," instead of rehashing the details of past transgressions.
To that end, Collins View Neighborhood Association Vice-Chair John Miller handed out a guide to living in the neighborhood, with tips for newcomers like "turn down your stereo," and "keep parties quiet."