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Hermiston strengthens nuisance ordinances
April 13, 2004

HERMISTON -- The city of Hermiston has given its police department a few teeth to help tidy the community.


City Council Monday approved a new set of ordinances that deal with property nuisances, housing maintenance and dangerous, derelict structures.  Police, as a result, will be better able to address some of the issues and help to clean up some of the city's eyesores, said Deputy City Manager Ray Jones.


Property management training earlier this year taught city officials that chronic crime is related to chronic nuisances, said City Manager Ed Brookshier.  Police Chief Dan Coulombe said the ordinances will help police deal with dangerous buildings, like burnt-out homes. "This shows the community that the city wants to see improvements too," he said. The ordinances also will encourage city residents to tidy up their properties.


Free to Grow, a national organization that promotes strength in families and communities and works to keep them free of drug and alcohol abuse, spent the last year with other organizations such as the city, police and Umatilla County Housing Authority to encourage an external and internal facelift in neighborhoods.


In November, the effort resulted in a cleanup day in a targeted neighborhood, showing a core group can encourage an entire neighborhood to improve. For the long term, the revitalization is expected to help the neighborhood band together and lower crime rates.


Domingo Macias of Free to Grow said the ordinances will give the city some more "teeth" to clean up properties, and help make homes safer to live in. "This will help us guide neighbors," he said. "We will encourage them to follow them and we will help them through the process."

(Written by Teri Meeuwsen, April 13, 2004 and reprinted with permission of the East Oregonian Pendleton, Oregon @2004


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Free To Grow is a national program supported by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the Doris Duke Charitable Foundation with direction and technical assistance provided by the Mailman School of Public Health of Columbia University.