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Council arms chief with new nuisance ordinance Policy makes private properties subject to citation by city police

By RAELYNN RICARTE

News staff writer

July 27, 2005

Hood River City Police Chief Bruce Ludwig wants to keep life in neighborhoods under his watch not only safe — but peaceful.

He is encouraging citizens to call the non-emergency dispatch number, 386-2711, in the evenings about ongoing noise and conduct violations.

During the workday, he and his officers can be reached at 386-3942.

Ludwig is now armed with a new Chronic Nuisance Property Ordinance to deal with frustrations created by “troublesome neighbors.”

On July 13, the City Council adopted a new municipal code to crack down on undue noise and disorderly conduct.

“I think the purpose of the law is to stop problems that are happening frequently and to require that landowners deal with the situation,” said Ludwig.

Under the ordinance, property can be declared a chronic nuisance after law enforcement officials have taken three actions within a 30-day period.

Qualifying offenses include: felony drug activity; assault; out-of-control behavior; discharge of a firearm; underage drinking; and loud or disturbing noises.

If a property owner fails to alleviate the continuing concern, Ludwig said the city is authorized to take legal steps that restrict access to the site from 30-180 days.

In addition, a fine of $250 per day can be levied for failure to stop the problem following notification. The city is also allowed by the code to recoup attorney fees related to the case.

“There’s significant teeth here for the city whenever needed. Our hope is that it will keep Hood River a great place to live,” said Ludwig.

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