National News

OSP patrols Sauvie Island Wildlife Area during second week of alcohol ban

Posted May 13, 2018 12:30 p.m. EDT

— It's the second weekend since the alcohol ban went into effect on Sauvie Island's Wildlife Area.

On Saturday Oregon State Police troopers were out enforcing that new law.

That ban went into effect May 1 and runs through September 30.

While the island is clearly marked with signs informing folks that didn't stop people from showing up with beer cans and wine, making it a relatively busy afternoon for the department. .

FOX 12 got a firsthand look riding alongside Trooper Joe Dezso.

He has a lot of ground to cover, he patrols more than 11,000 acres of Sauvie Island's Wiidlife Area.

"It can become very busy, it can become very dangerous honestly. We have days out here when it gets over 80 degrees where we have 10 to 15 thousand people that are filling in the beaches and obviously when you add alcohol to that mix or drugs to that mix it makes for a really dangerous environment for everybody," Trooper Dezso said.

FOX 12 witnessed several situations where Trooper Dezso spoke with people about the ban ranging from warnings to a DUI arrest.

"What I've been advising people if they want to stay on the beach you can go ahead and dump it out put the empties back in your vehicle or put them in the trash can whatever's better for you guys," Trooper Dezso said to a group he issued warnings to Saturday afternoon.

A lot of his time involves education and following up on tips from the community.

"The reason we're out here today is because we got a report that you guys were drinking beers and being rowdy out here," he said to one group on the beach.

It's a new normal on the beaches of Sauvie Island but Trooper Deszo says they seem to be aware of the ban.

"The majority of them were very on board. In fact a lot of people walked up to me and said 'hey we're really enjoying this place now that the alcohol ban's gone into effect,'" Trooper Deszo said.

Those visiting the beach Saturday afternoon gave mixed reviews on the ban.

Many said they understand the reasons behind it but feel people can have responsible fun.

"It sounds like this ban was put in place to like keep people safe so I feel like if it's an evil, it's a necessary one," Nolan Sullivan said who's visiting Oregon.

"It's kind of a bummer because the fact that some people can do things in moderation and it can be totally fine but I also understand with glass and things like that," Portland resident, Stephen Cameron said.

While some maybe skeptical Trooper Dezso says the ban is crucial to keep people safe.

"I can tell you that the hardest thing that a lot of police officers have to do in their career is knock on somebody's door and tell them their loved one isn't coming home. And so for me I've had to do it too many times in my career including last year from a case out here on the island. I don't want to do it again," Trooper Dezso said.

OSP says it issued about 20 citations and warnings in the first week of the ban.