Students try skirting 'social host' fines with private security

Students try skirting 'social host' fines with private security

EUGENE, Ore. -- Some University of Oregon students are hiring private security to cover the door at their house parties, hoping to avoid the up to $1,000 fine from the social host ordinance.

UO student Armon Petrossin says he’s paying a private security company 25 dollars per hour to prevent hefty fines of hosting an "unruly gathering".

“I mean, I don't know if they want to end our parties just because they don't want us to have fun … but it doesn’t work,” said Petrossin. 

Since the "Social Host" ordinance went into effect April 1 Eugene police have cited 11 people for partying too hard. That’s why hosts like Petrossin have started hiring private security to make sure their gatherings don’t get out of control.

Eric Hartman, a state-certified security guard with Oregon Event Enterprises said he’s seen nearly an 80 percent increase in house party patrol over the last two months.

“A lot of parties are choosing to be responsible, hiring security help to keep a cap on the party if it gets out of control. We let them know if it’s approaching that (level),” said Hartman.

It’s a price that Petrossin says is well worth it, as he has yet to have police interfere with his partying.

“We’ve had hundreds of people coming through (our) door - in and out - a couple times and we've never had issues with the police,” Petrossin said.

With all those people coming and going, Hartman said that Oregon Event Enterprises prefers to monitor inside house parties. While that allows them the opportunity to check IDs and make sure everyone is of age, Hartman said security isn’t always allowed inside.

“It’s really up to the client, as to of they need that or want that,” Hartman said

Eugene Police substation manager Kelly Putnam said that even if they have private security covering the door, officers can still issue citations for unruly gatherings.

“If they're observing criminal behavior but it falls outside of what their client is asking them to do, they may be in a tough position,” Putnam said.

Putnam added that party security guards have to be state certified and are required by law to report all crimes.