EUGENE, Ore. (KMTR) – More than thirty people are facing charges including prohibited noise, interfering with police, resisting arrest and minor in possession after officers responded to a disorderly party in the university area late Friday night.
Police responded to a noise complaint at a party at the Campbell Club Co-op on 16th Avenue and Alder Street shortly after 11 PM. Police estimate that around 200 people were at the scene when they arrived.
Officers say they tried to contact the residents inside; however, the co-op refused to open the door. EPD says its officers were met with resistance at the party and one officer was grabbed from behind by multiple people when attempting to arrest someone.
"It's been a common and on-going location for us in that neighborhood for many years,” said Sergeant David Natt with the Eugene Police Department (EPD).
The situation led police to call more officers in and the crowd was cleared. EPD says it then got a search warrant and residents voluntarily opened the door. Officers went inside and spoke with residents in the co-op while searching for evidence of the prohibited noise charge.
“There were numerous supervisors and at least fifteen officers involved in this, so this is a very significant event, drawing a huge amount of the city's resources to one location,” said Sergeant Natt.
EPD says its response level came because residents weren’t cooperative.
”We always try to communicate first. We try to inform people of why we're there, what the circumstances are and what we need to resolve the situation. It's always a tactic that we use,” says Natt.
However, several residents at the co-op disagree with the response.
"No one had any communication with us,” said Alisha Kinlaw, a Campbell Club resident.
"If the police or, you know, anyone who had a complaint had just come and asked us to turn down the music, 'it's getting late, this is really loud', we would have been more than happy to cooperate,” said Lee Andres, a Campbell Club resident.
“If people had just knocked on our door, asked to speak to our social coordinators, which we have two of, our party liaisons, which we have two of, any of the numerous people that we have on security on one time, because we really try to be very safe and take good care while we're having these events,” said Kinlaw.
In all, Eugene Police arrested and transported fourteen people to the Lane County Jail on prohibited noise charges. Out of that group, six were also charged with interfering with police. Another one in the group was arrested for resisting arrest.
Nine additional people at the co-op were cited with prohibited noise and an additional eight were cited for minor in possession of alcohol.
Eugene Police say its response last night would have fit the definition of an unruly gathering that the city is trying to address with the new social host ordinance. That law goes into effect on March 2.
Eugene Police say for the first month after the law goes into effect, they’ll educate people about it. Starting in April, they’ll begin citing people for violating it. The law allows the Eugene Municipal Court to impose fines up to $1,000 for organizing, promoting or participating in unruly parties.