Vandalism, drug use prompt restroom closures
City Manager Dan Huff wrote and posted a letter to Molalla residents and park users on the city's website regarding the restroom lockdowns in response to observations, problems and complaints about their closures.
The "Restroom lockdowns you are experiencing are part of a coordinated effort between all the departments of the city to hopefully address chronic issues [in the restrooms] you have described. We, like you, believe these restrooms should be available for small children and all Molalla park users. We've spent many hours cleaning, painting and preparing them for all users. We have certain individuals undertaking criminal drug use and vandalism in our park restrooms that have required more and more lockdowns," Huff said in the letter.
He noted that if or when a park restroom is in a state of vulgar vandalism or is a biological hazard and/or drug use paraphernalia is present it is not available to anyone. In those cases, the restrooms are locked so that video evidence is reviewed. The city contacts the police and chemicals are used and given the time to properly sterilize the restroom.
Obviously, that takes time, and the length of time is important to ensure the safety of the city's Public Works crews as well as the public.
"The intention is not to reduce availability of restrooms for children or others," Huff wrote.
This development begins the process of letting people know that the city is paying attention and working on the problem. Additional steps are taken to ensure the parks are safe for all park users.
The Molalla Police Department, to ensure that people remain safe, has substantially increased their presence in the parks.
Huff wrote there are more foot patrols, contacts and premises checks in all Molalla parks as well as the Bear Creek Byway.
He asks that park users also provide help to solve these problems by calling the Police Non-emergency dispatch line at 503-655-8211 each and every time residents and park users see something that isn't ordinary.
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