EUGENE, Ore. -- Crowd-control officers used tear gas to quickly scatter a rioting crowd of at least 400 partiers Friday night, but the aftermath hasn’t cleared up quite as easily.
“There were a lot of bottles around and a lot of debris around the signs that were torn up,” said Eugene Police Sgt. Ryan Nelson. “A crowd that size -- that’s not willing to move out of the way -- causes a lot of damage in the area.”
Police said rioters destroyed street signs, smashed car windows and littered the streets with trash. It’s the messy aftermath of parties gone wrong, and it comes with a hefty price tag.
"It gets very expensive"
“It costs a lot of money,” said Sgt. Nelson. “When you talk about public works coming out and fixing signs and things that are damaged -- plus the additional officer’s hours -- it gets very expensive.”
According to a spokesperson at the city's Public Works Department, replacing street signs can cost at least $75. KVAL News counted at least seven downed signs. If all of those signs need replacement, then repairing the signage could cost taxpayers at least $525.
Then there’s the overtime pay for the 50 responding officers. According to Eugene police figures, each officer is paid about $200 for four hours of overtime work. That will cost the public $10,000.
That totals at least $10,525. And it still does not include the labor for sweeping the streets, neighborhood property damage and, of course, the cost to replace the cans of tear gas that set off the largest riot in Eugene history.
One heck of an expensive party
Neighbors said that’s one heck of an expensive party.
“I think it’s too bad that public funding is going to party clean up,” said West University neighbor Vicki Eckerdt. “We need to do the cleanup and it’s not fair. But life’s not fair.”
The city will pay to clean up the streets. Trash on private property is the residents’ responsibility. Overall, it’s a mess that the university says partiers will be held accountable for.
“We’ll be taking a look at each of these individual cases," said University of Oregon spokesperson Phil Weiler, "and making sure that the results of their actions are dealt with appropriately.”
Nine people were arrested at the riot.
University of Oregon President Richard Lariviere is speaking out about the riot. He says he is “deeply disappointed by the behavior displayed by the young people” and said the event is unacceptable.