Eugene police clean up 'Alley of Evil'

Eugene police clean up 'Alley of Evil'

EUGENE, Ore. -- Veteran Eugene Police Officer Randy Ellis has seen it all in 40 years on the force, but even he was taken aback by all the trouble off E. 11th in the Patterson Alley.

"Trespassing, drinking, camping, people urinating and defecating," he said.

Crime on Patterson Alley off of East 11th near the University of Oregon got so bad that Eugene police informally dubbed it the "Alley of Evil."

The problems reached a head early this year, and Ellis, with help from two downtown officers, hatched a plan to enact a mini-version of the downtown exclusion zone.

They posted warning fliers for the new "no tolerance" zone.

"Effective Feb. 1, all crimes committed by you in this area will result in you going to jail," the sign read.

No citations.

No warnings.

Jail.

Ellis said he figured on 15 arrests the first week and 15 the second before the word would get out.

"I was totally blown away," he said. "The first week I took one person to jail. The second week I took one person to jail."

Ellis said just three people have been sent to jail since the no tolerance zone went into effect. Calls for service have totalled three in two months.

The neighbors have noticed the change.

"As far as security, we feel just so much safer being able to go out at any time of the day and not having any issues with anybody," said Rhonda Schartz with the Chinese Acupuncture Center.

Call it a victory for community policing -- and as ellis points out, it didn't break the bank.

"I'm happy and surprised," he said.