Open Letter to Portland Mayor, Sam Adams

Posted on May 31, 2012 by


I want to let you know a dangerous thing happened to my family this morning because of your policies.

■I walked out to my back porch to let my dogs (we are dog sitting so for now, it’s plural) out. I saw on my back porch smearing of garbage. Honestly it looked like an animal had used my porch as it’s toilet. I couldn’t figure out what it was at first, then it dawned on me. My brown compost pail had been raided over night. I don’t keep my compost pail in the kitchen because the dogs get into it. I leave it on my porch, so now the raccoons can get to it, and apparently have discovered it. So now I need to ask myself, do I let my dogs rummage through it inside the house or do I let dangerous animals have my back porch with my kids going in and out all day long? Keep in mind, as cute as raccoons are, they have killed two of my animals in recent years. They are fierce and mean.

■Now, keep in mind, I already have a rat problem in my backyard from Metro’s big black “rodent proof” compost bins. I actually compost in those, a lot. I have been fighting rats in those for 8+ years now. Again, a city mandated/encouraged program that has lead to me having to fight off disease carrying rodents. Now I have much larger rodents at my back door and you won’t do a thing about it. So I have tolerated that problem, brought on by city policies for a long time. Imagine how smacked in the face I felt when I was told I was being forced to compost, when 1) I already do 2) I already have serious consequences in terms of rats from doing that. My reward? Garbage pickup every two weeks, instead of weekly, at a higher cost.

What is left of a rat in my Metro issues compost bin after I killed it in a trap and its family members cannibalized it from the tip of it's tail to it's ears.

■In fact this week, it was reported locally that since your required composting has gone into effect, the number of human diapers being disposed of in compost bins. Additionally it was reported it isn’t just baby diapers, but adult diapers, and that the city would act to fine those offenders. So instead of stopping for a moment and asking if this is how the public is reacting, then maybe the policy should be reconsidered……you decide to fine grandparents and moms. Nice leadership, Mr. Adams.

■So my new problem. I not only get to monitor rat poison and traps on my property, I get to figure out how to keep raccoons off my backporch where my family and pets enter and exit constantly.

■I get to suffer the consequences, yet again, of idiotic policies intended to make you and your council feel all fuzzy and “green” inside. I am here to tell you. Having rats and raccoons isn’t green. It is dangerous, disease prone, and disgusting. I count myself lucky, at this point, that my kids are out of diapers and I don’t plan on being in them for a few more years.

■But by then I will be gone. My family is working dilligently to move out of Portland for very specific reasons 1) We cannot afford it. 2) We are tired of being put in danger and risk due to city policies such as forced porch composting.

Soon to be former PDX citizen,
Anne Marie Gurney