Packed UO parties draw slow police response

"A loud party call is going to be triaged like every other call. It's going to have a lower priority than a life safety issue. A social distancing complaint, while certainly serious, is lower than the loud party even."

Posted: May 3, 2021 8:33 PM
Updated: May 3, 2021 8:33 PM

EUGENE, Ore. -- Eugene police were made aware of several parties happening in the West University area of the city Saturday afternoon, but because of the way they prioritize calls, it was several hours before any of those gatherings were dispersed.

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Eugene police received reports just before 2:30 p.m. of a house packed with more than 100 people on 15th Avenue between Hilyard and Patterson streets. Those reports also indicated there was no social distancing, males and females were urinating in the front yard, and there was loud music at the same address.

"It took a while for Eugene police to be able to respond to this party given the other calls for service going on," Lieutenant Doug Mozan said. "About 4:30 in the afternoon, Eugene police were responding to the scene and about the same time a young lady fell off the roof."

More than two hours passed between the time police were notified about the party and the time the party was dispersed, according to police.

"A loud party call is going to be triaged like every other call," Mozan said. "It's going to have a lower priority than a life safety issue. A social distancing complaint, while certainly serious, is lower than the loud party even."

A spokesperson for the University of Oregon said: "UO students are expected to follow all university rules and state orders to reduce the spread of COVID-19. The university will continue to educate students about healthy behaviors and is continuing the Crush COVID challenges to help encourage positive behavior. We are also stressing that being vaccinated cannot, and does not, mean that as a community we can return to normal pre-pandemic activities."

No tickets or citations were given out as a result of the parties, according to Mozan.

Many students who live in the area said large parties have been happening more often as students grow tired of following COVID-19 protocols for more than a year.

"At the very beginning, I think students did a pretty good job, you know, 'We should probably not get together.' But little by little especially as the weather gets nicer, and it's just going on longer and longer, they're much more common," said Jailin Weaver, who is studying to receive his master's at the University of Oregon.

Anyone with complaints regarding party-related behaviors such as loud noise or underage drinking should call Eugene police's non-emergency line, Mozan said. For complaints about social distancing, he said to call either Eugene police's non-emergency line or local health authorities.

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