OCTOBER 14, 2002


The Regular Meeting of the Beaverton City Council was called to order by Mayor Rob

Drake in the Forrest C. Soth Council Chambers, 4755 SW Griffith Drive, Beaverton,

Oregon, on Monday, October 14, 2002, at 6:33 p.m.


Present were Mayor Drake, Couns. Fred Ruby, Evelyn Brzezinski, Dennis Doyle, Forrest

Soth and Cathy Stanton.  Also present were City Attorney Mark Pilliod, Assistant City

Attorney Bill Kirby, Human Resources Director Sandra Miller, Finance Director Patrick

O'Claire, Community Development Director Joe Grillo, Engineering Director Tom

Ramisch, Operations/Maintenance Director Gary Brentano, Police Chief David Bishop,

Library Director Ed House, Transportation Engineer Randy Wooley, CDBG Coordinator

Jennifer Polley, Code Services Manager George Fetzer, Police Sergeant Michael Janin,

Police Captain Wes Ervin, Senior Program Manager Joe Gall and Deputy City Recorder

Catherine Jansen.



Mayor Drake read the proclamation for National Arts and Humanities Month, October,



Introduction of Members from the 2002-2003 Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board (MYAB)

Mayor Drake presented a brief history of the Mayor’s Youth Advisory Board (MYAB).  He

explained it was formed in 2000, as a vehicle to involve youth in City government and

the community, and was made up of students from the Beaverton and Aloha High

Schools.  He introduced the Board Co-Chairs, Neha George and Jason Lee.

Board Members introduced from the audience were:  Neha George, Co-Chair,

Westview; Jason Lee, Co-Chair, Southridge; David MacLeod, Westview; Alexandra

Vaughan, Beaverton; Matt Hackett, Beaverton; Rosa Po, Southridge; Amy Brennan,

Aloha; Megan Macpherson, Beaverton; Michelle Bahk, Southridge; Bree’ann Winchell,

Jesuit; Shannon Mills, Sunset; Sydney Hetfeld, Sunset.

George explained the Board’s mission was to serve the common good of the community

and provide a voice for the youth in decisions and policies of the City of Beaverton.  She

noted the Board did this by organizing community projects, working to strengthen

relationships between youths and adults and providing activities for youth.

Lee and George reviewed the accomplishments for the past year which included:  2001-

2002 Youth Summit; Battle of the Bands and a  production of a youth directory entitled

“101 Things To Do In Beaverton.”   Projects planned for the upcoming year will include:

Youth directory update; 2002-2003 Youth Summit; Community Film Festival; Battle of

the Bands; Youth movie night; assisting at the Oregon Food Bank and area soup


Mayor Drake introduced Jennifer Polley, staff liaison and Coun. Dennis Doyle, Council

liaison to the Board.  He said he was very proud of the work that the Board was doing.  

Presentation of Shields and Swearing In of New Officers to the Beaverton Police


Mayor Drake recognized the new officers being sworn into the Police Department and

welcomed them to the City.  

Chief Bishop welcomed the officers and gave them the oath of office.  The new officers

were: Loren Scott Andler, Julian Carroll, Nathaniel Maycock, Jeff McAllister, Thomas

Stewart and James Stephen Anderson.

Proposed Conceptual Plan for Washington County Fairplex Event Center

Richard Vial, Washington County Fair Board Member, described the Fairplex area and

the opportunities it provided to develop an Event Center that would accommodate a wide

variety of events, including the County Fair, tradeshows, consumer shows, and school

ceremonies.  He reviewed the proposed Conceptual Plan for the Event Center.  He

explained that the cost for the facility was approximately $40 million; this would be about

$0.10/$1000 of assessed value for all taxpayers.  He noted the Event Center would not

compete with the Portland Exposition Center or the Oregon Convention Center. He said

the operators of those facilities endorsed this project, as it would meet the needs of

overflow activities that they had to turn away at the present time.   He stressed that this

was one of the reasons the consultants felt this would be a successful facility; it was

anticipated that it would be 100% used, which was an 85% occupancy rate.  He

reiterated the good points of the Plan and asked for Council endorsement of the project.

Coun. Soth stated he was pleased to see that the first year’s costs were designated in

the brochure.  He asked if there were any projections on sponsors for these events.

Vial said they had been approached by Intel and Nike concerning building facilities; 

those contribution commitments were factored into the project.  

Coun. Stanton asked if the land owned by Port of Portland would be leased.

Vial explained that the County Board owns 135 of the 165 acres.  He said the land

owned by Port of Portland would be primarily unimproved parking underneath the flight

path and it would be handled as a low-cost lease.

Coun. Doyle asked what the break-even was for the operating costs.

Vial replied that 72% occupancy was the break-even percentage.

Coun. Stanton MOVED, SECONDED by Doyle that the Council direct the Mayor to draft

a resolution in support of the Washington County Event Center for the November ballot.  

Coun. Stanton said it was a sensible and smart idea to utilize this facility to its fullest

capabilities and to provide meeting facilities on the west side of this region.

Call for question.  Coun. Brzezinski, Doyle, Ruby, Soth and Stanton voting AYE, the

MOTION CARRIED unanimously.  (5:0)


There were none.


There were none.


There were none.


Coun. Ruby MOVED, SECONDED by Coun. Soth that the Consent Agenda be approved

as follows:

Minutes of Regular Meeting of June 10, 2002

Traffic Control Board Issues 491 and 492

Revisions to Traffic Commission Bylaws (Per motion noted below, Bylaws Article III,

Section 2, amended to require 72 hours notice for Special Meetings)

Priorities for New Traffic Signals

Allocation of Traffic Enhancement Funds to New Projects

Establish Economic Development Project Coordinator Classification

Contract Review Board:

Waiver of Sealed Bidding – Purchase Five Vehicles from the State of Oregon Price


Exemption from Competitive Solicitation – Authorize International Electronic Protection,

Limited, to Perform Work on the Access Control/ Security and Employee Identification


Coun. Brzezinski said concerning the minutes of June 10, 2002, she had two changes

and she would give those to the City Recorder.  

Coun. Stanton noted on Agenda Bill 02291, Traffic Control Bylaws, Article III, Sections 2

& 4, C, there was a difference in the meeting notice requirements; on Section 2 the

notice to commissioners was 48 hours and on Section 4 the notice to the public was 72

hours.  She said the noticing requirements should be the same for both and asked if

there was a reason for the difference.  

Transportation Engineer Randy Wooley explained that Section 2 was not discussed by

the Traffic Commission; it had always been 48 hours; Section 4 was changed to 72

hours to meet State law.

Coun. Stanton asked for an amendment to the motion to reflect that on Agenda Bill

02291, Traffic Commission Bylaws, Article III, Section 2 be changed to 72 hours notice.  

Question called on the motion.  Couns. Brzezinski, Doyle, Soth, Ruby and Stanton

voting AYE, the MOTION CARRIED unanimously. (5:0)


Mayor Drake called for a recess at 7:13 p.m.


Mayor Drake reconvened the meeting at 7:23 p.m.


First and Second Reading and Passage

Suspend Rules:

Coun.  Soth MOVED, SECONDED by Coun. Ruby that the rules be suspended, and that

the ordinance embodied in AB 02297 be read for the first time in full at this meeting and

for the second time by title only at this same meeting of the Council.  Couns. Brzezinski,

Doyle, Ruby, Soth and Stanton voting AYE, the MOTION CARRIED unanimously.  (5:0)

City Attorney Mark Pilliod read the following ordinance for the first time in full:

An Ordinance Amending Beaverton Code 5.02.083 Relating to the Consumption of

Alcoholic Beverages in Public Places and Declaring an Emergency  (Ordinance No.


Pilliod read the following ordinance for the second time by title only:

An Ordinance Amending Beaverton Code 5.02.083 Relating to the Consumption of

Alcoholic Beverages in Public Places and Declaring an Emergency  (Ordinance No.


Coun. Soth MOVED, SECONDED by Coun. Brzezinski, that the ordinance embodied in

AB 02297 now pass.  Roll call vote.  Couns. Brzezinski, Doyle, Ruby, Soth and Stanton

voting AYE, the MOTION CARRIED unanimously. (5:0)

First Reading:

An Ordinance Relating to Nuisance Animals and Amending Beaverton Code Section

5.05.037 (Ordinance No. 4229)

Mayor Drake said he would treat this informally, but would ask Bill Kirby with the City

Attorney’s staff to give a brief history of the previous ordinance and how the City got to

where it was today with this ordinance.  He said he would open it to any discussion from

Council to either Kirby or the Code Enforcement Officer George Fetzer.  He said he

would then take testimony from individuals who wished to talk.  

Assistant City Attorney Bill Kirby reviewed the history of Beaverton regulating

dangerous, wild or exotic animals.  Prior to 1989, he explained, the Beaverton City Code

had Section 5.05.020 which related to dangerous animals; it essentially said that

dangerous animals may not be exposed to the public.  In 1989, cougars were brought

into Beaverton as pets; they were caged and not exposed to the public, but people were

very concerned about the fact that these cougars were in Beaverton and being kept as

pets and posed a danger.  So regulations were enacted that dealt with the keeping of the

animal as opposed to the exposure of the animal to the public.  It was that the mere

keeping of the animal was not going to be allowed in Beaverton.  That is where the City

is now with an ordinance that relates to the keeping of dangerous, wild and exotic

animals, that was Beaverton Code 5.05.037 through 5.05.043.  He said he thought

everyone was familiar with the types of animals listed in that ordinance.  

Kirby continued by stating that the alligator issue came up recently but noted the

question of why alligators were not on the first list when the ordinance was issued.    He

said that a legislative choice was made and there was an argument that alligators were

not as dangerous as crocodiles, and the choice was made to exclude them from the list. 

That choice was made back in 1989 under the administration of Mayor Larry Cole.  He

remembered that the decision was not made at the legislative level by Council, but

rather at the administrative level, at the Mayor’s level, about what should and shouldn’t

be in that ordinance.  At this time, the question was whether there should be a rule that

alligators should not be allowed to be kept in the City of Beaverton.  He concluded that

was the background.

Mayor Drake noted he provided additional information to Council from research that staff

did over the course of the day on the Internet.  He said he had information from the

Internet from Gatorland in Florida; they provided additional information about the care

and feeding of crocodilian animals, which they characterized as alligators, crocodiles

and caimans.  In addition, he noted, staff pulled additional information from the last few

months from newspapers around the country talking about incidences where the

alligators have been found in various parts of the country.  He said they were trying to

get a flavor since obviously the City has not had a lot of experience with alligators.  He

also had a copy of an article from The Oregonian which Kirby referenced in the agenda

bill from the September 25th issue which referred to an alligator that was larger than the

ones the neighbors complained about.  He noted this alligator was 11 feet and the one

being discussed this evening was five feet; he noted they do grow and the basic

information from the Internet is that they grow from six inches to one foot per year.  He

stressed they have a good growth curve.  He asked that discussion be kept focused not

on one alligator but the fact that this was an alligator; that they were not discussing the

family cat or family dog.  

Kirby stressed that this ordinance would be applied throughout the City, not with just one

person.  He noted it was a general law and does not specifically target one individual.

Mayor Drake noted this came about via complaints from neighbors who said that there

was a specific alligator that had gotten loose from its owner and was running around the

neighborhood, loose from its home.

Kirby confirmed this was what brought it to the City’s attention through Code

Enforcement Services.

Coun. Ruby noted this change also addresses the issue of large snakes and the

information for consideration provided to Council explained that none of the local pet

stores sold boa constrictors, but a couple sold pythons.  He noted that the information

explained that certain species of the python only grew to five feet or less in length.  He

added the proposed ordinance only prohibited species that could grow to eight feet or

more in length, which were described as large pythons.  He noted that in looking at the

language of the proposed amendment it said that a dangerous animal includes but was

not limited to snakes of the family Pythonidae or Boinae, unless incapable of growing to

eight feet or more in length.  He asked if these two Latin terms referred to pythons and

boa constrictors.

Kirby confirmed that was correct and his best understanding of the terms was that there

was a variety of snakes that would fit under those families.  He said an anaconda, which

is very large, would fit under the Boinae classification and they were clearly capable of

growing more than eight feet in length and would be prohibited.  

Coun. Ruby asked if this would prohibit the ownership of any type of snake of those two

families, unless it is incapable of growing to eight feet or more in length, plus any kind of

poisonous or venomous reptile, like a rattlesnake, which is already covered and

prohibited from ownership.  

Kirby said that was correct.

Mayor Drake distributed a picture of an exceedingly large alligator found in a construc-

ion area.  He said he brought it up to give an example; the fact was that the City did not

prohibit this kind of animal in the City and wanting to be objective, but realizing that they

could grow a foot a year. He said he was on the Council when they dealt with the cougar

and bad things could happen, people could let them out or they might get away and one

could well imagine what a cougar might do.  He said his point was that there was no

limitation today on alligators and what’s keeping an alligator from getting this large in the

City of Beaverton because there was no prohibition.  He read today that they cannot be

well trained; you could not call it over the way you do a dog.  He said that his point was

that they could grow and they don’t stay at five, three or six feet; they can grow larger.

Kirby noted for the record what he saw in the picture that in comparison to the people

standing around the alligator, that alligator appeared to be at least a 12 foot alligator on

that construction site.  

Mayor Drake agreed it was a good size and noted this was an extreme example, but

currently the City did not prohibit alligator’s that size and it’s maybe not absurd that

someone could let it grow to that size.  

Coun. Soth asked Kirby if in his research did he get into any of the habits of an alligator. 

He asked if were more aggressive when they had been deprived of food for a period of

time, or were they like some other animals that could subsist for several days without


Kirby responded that was a question better for Code Services to answer; he did not have

any information in the legal wordsmithing that got to that point.  He said he made sure he

understood what the terms Pythonidae and Boinae really meant; at the time he drafted

the ordinance he felt comfortable that he understood what those terms meant.  He said

he did not come by any research in relation to what Coun. Soth was asking and he was

not looking for that type of information; he deferred to Code Services.  

Mayor Drake asked if anyone had questions for Mr. Fetzer.

Coun. Soth noted he had the one question just asked.

Code Services Manager George Fetzer said that specifically to Coun. Soth’s question,

he did not know the answer.  

Mayor Drake confirmed there were no more questions for Fetzer.  

Mayor Drake said he had some testimony cards and since this was informal, he would

package the cards accordingly.  He said Council did receive the packet of several letters

from adjoining neighbors who were concerned about the existence of such an animal

and a couple of those folks were present and there may be others.  He asked that if they

wished to testify that they fill out a  yellow card and give it to the Recorder.  He said he

would start with Kate Gassner and asked that she come forward.  He said each person

would be allowed five minutes to testify.  

The citizen testimony was transcribed verbatim.  

Kate Gassner, Beaverton, said her friend was holding the research.  She said she lived

in Florida where alligators were quite a problem for the residents of Florida, small

animals were very often pulled off into canals on very few occasions, the few years she

lived there, toddlers were pulled off.  She said these were gators bigger than five feet,

but everyone knows gators grow six inches to a foot a year.  She said she had a nine

year old son who, she found out subsequently to the gator getting loose, has been to

that house on two different occasions without her knowledge, which she was very

concerned about and she talked with her son.  She said they were neighbors and her

son made friends with the children, but he never mentioned there was an alligator and

she was quite concerned that an adult would have what she considered to be a

dangerous animal on their property and allowed her nine year old son to go there without

saying he had to have his parents permission.  She said they were very nice people and

she did not want to make enemies of her neighbors, but she was very concerned

because of alligators.  She said in Florida they tell you not to feed the alligators because

then they no longer fear people and then they will come at people if they are hungry. 

She said this was an alligator that has no fear and then after watching the news

coverage today she said she would have even more concerns because it is treated like a

family pet that is on the couch and everywhere if they open their door, that alligator could

somehow get out; alligators can run twice as fast as a horse.  She said that as far as it

being in a secured area, she did not see how that was happening.  She said she thought

as a neighbor she would feel a lot better to know it was in a very secured area; however,

a chain link fence just went up in the last week around their property.  She said she was

also told that it was let out to sun itself; the snake has been let out to sun.  She said she

knew her neighbor found the gator in their yard, but it was her (Gassner’s) dog kennel

that held the gator until the authorities came. 

Gassner continued by stating the gator did hiss, did act aggressively when it was

cornered; it was a very scary situation for the police officers, along with her family and

her neighbor who had it in their yard.  She said that if it was her walking out to water her

garden and reaching over to get a hose and finding a gator, an ambulance would have

come first.  She said to each his own, she was not a reptile person, she was concerned

about the snakes, but what they do on their property is their business, but when it ends

up on her (Gassner’s) property then it is her business.  She said she had a nine year old

boy and she was very concerned about his safety and about her heart condition should

she walk out to her yard and find this animal in her yard.  She thanked Council for their


Coun. Soth asked Gassner if during her time in Florida did she know of anyone in

Florida who had an alligator as a pet.

Gassner said never; she never knew anyone who kept them as pets.  She said most of

the neighbors and people in the community all of their patios and pool areas were

screened in and that was where they let their small pets out and actually clean up dog

droppings off of concrete rather than leave their small animals, especially if they lived on

a canal, because if they let a poodle, Chihuahua, cats disappear all the time out into the

yard near the canal, chances were they would not see the animal again.  She said it was

very common knowledge you could not have small animals near watery areas.  She said

there was a lot of new development in the area she lived in, it was swamplands,

basically, that had been developed, so you would get the occasional alligator.  She said

she worked in an IBM office where they found a small gator in one of the office buildings

and evacuated the buildings and got Wildlife Control to come and get the alligator.  She

said she never heard of them being kept as pets, although she was sure they were, but

to take one from the wild is different from raising it.  She said she did understand buying

it from a pet store and raising it in your family, and so-called domesticating it.  She said

she felt there were some animals that could not be domesticated.  She said it was like

picking up a snake on the side of the road that’s been run over, you care for it, you feed

it and nurse it back to health and all of a sudden the snake turns around and bites you

on the hand and you say ‘Snake I took care of you and nursed you back to health, why’d

you bite me?’ and the snake looks at you and says ‘Well, you knew I was a snake when

you took me in.”

Coun. Soth asked Gassner if she knew of or heard about people who had small

alligators or reptiles, who cared for them a while and then turned them loose when they

got bigger.

Gassner said she was originally from New York and she knew people in the City that

there was a time where it was the craze that you could actually go to pet stores and buy

baby alligators and they got bored of them and they flushed them down the toilet.  She

said she did not think she had to tell the Council that the New York septic systems were

really riddled with very big gators at one time, these gators that had been flushed and

left for dead, that grew to nine and ten feet in length.  She said she knew this had

happened, but to her personal knowledge, no sir.

Coun. Stanton asked Gassner about medium or large-sized dogs.

Gassner said she had not heard of medium or large dogs ever being taken away.  She

said she heard when she lived in Florida; there were two different occasions in the news

that small toddlers had been pulled off into brackish water canals by large gators.  She

said she was not talking about five foot gators, but eight to ten foot gators had on two

different occasions she heard through the news media been pulled off.  She said she

was not saying that was a threat; she was just saying that they had toddlers that lived on

the block, it is a school zone there is an elementary school at one end of the block and

the children walk to the other end of the block through a park to go to a middle school

and she had real concerns, as she had been told; she had never seen it first hand, that

this gator has actually been out in the front yard sunning before.  She said if that gator

took off, the strength they have there were five police cars there the strength alone that

they have there is no way that their owners are going to catch it before they get to

something or subdue it on their own.  There are very, very strong animals.  

Cheryl Jarvis, Beaverton, said she was a mother with two kids (a three year old and an

eight year old) and they live four doors down from their neighbors that have an alligator. 

She said she did not realize there was an alligator in the neighborhood until it got out

and the police were down the street capturing it.  She said she became very concerned

at that time, but she realized she did not know much about alligators so she decided to

do some research.  She said got on the Internet and did some research and did not find

much to put her mind at rest.  She said she found some good experts who had some

opinions on it, who are zoologists. 

Jarvis quoted one of them, a Dr. Adam Britton who is a zoologist, who said “There is

virtually no accurate information available on the captive husbandry of these creatures

and nothing to advise potential owners on whether they make suitable pets in the first

place.”  She noted there was another very good long article on the American alligator,

put out by the Florida Game Commission, which has a lot of experience with alligators in

Florida.  She said that they stated that alligators do not do not become tame in captivity. 

It can be raised from an egg, that does not make it a tame animal.  It could be raised

with a family and play with the kids and the other pets in the family and that does not

guarantee that it is going to be a tame animal.  She said that was what she was

concerned about it getting out.  She said it got out of its captivity one time and it is very

reasonable to expect that that can happen again.  There is no guarantee when that’s

going to happen.  There is no guarantee that there is any danger that’s going to come if

it does happen.  She said there was obviously a chance that it will.   

Jarvis continued by noting there were documented cases in Florida of human attacks

from alligators.  She said she found out in her research the experts tend to agree that a

lot of these attacks are brought on by the result of alligators coming into human contact;

they lose their natural fear of mankind.  As they are brought closer into human areas,

neighborhoods and such, there is a greater danger of some sort of conflict with these

animals.  She said the state of Florida estimated that the Game & Fresh Water Fish

Commission removes approximately 4,000 alligators a year to reduce opportunities for

such tragic occurrences.  She said she did not think they had that kind of staff, or that

kind of tax dollars spent every year, because they are friendly animals that pose no


Jarvis continued by stating there was a very real danger there; they are predators, they

are very fast, they get very large from nine to fifteen feet on average a few hundred

pounds, depending on whether they are male or female.  She said this was a very strong

animal this is not an animal, should something happen and it starts to attack, that is

going to be easily controllable like a dog or another animal could be.  She said she did

not think there was much possibility, because it got out of its home one time, it won’t get

out again.  She noted gates and doors are easy to leave open; she had two kids and she

knew how they leave everything open.  It’s very reasonable to expect this alligator is

going to get out again and she said she was very concerned about it.  She said she had

small kids and she would hate to think what would happen if an alligator was surprised

or felt threatened by one of these kids, whether intentionally or not.  She said one thing

mentioned was that between 1973 and 1990, 127 alligator attacks were documented

with five of those resulting in fatalities.  She said that 1990 was not the most recent

statistic, it was the one that she found.  She said it did go to show that there was no

guarantee that these animals will not be aggressive.

Coun. Soth said he understood this animal was a female and asked Jarvis if she found

anything in her research on whether or not, as these females mature and get into

breeding age, their personality changes.

Jarvis replied she had not come across that information.

Mayor Drake noted for Jarvis that letters were received from a number of the neighbors

and were of the standard form.  He noted what they would like is for the Council to

modify the ordinance to exclude alligators from being domesticated animals.

Jarvis replied very much.

Mayor Drake stated he has thought a lot about this since it came up; he thought about

situations.  He said he’s known by staff and at home as a tight wad, so he did not put in

a sprinkler system when he built his home 14 years ago; he enjoyed the exercise of

going back and forth moving sprinklers.  He said that sometimes he does not get to it

until late at night, or finish it late at night, or just bringing something out after its dark or

at dusk.  He said he often goes out barefoot.  He said that as he was soul searching on

this, and talking about alligators in general and not just this one specific alligator, he said

he was concerned that if there were alligators and they got away, their dog is a little

thing and goes under the fence and he could just see an alligator getting under the fence

too.  He said that if he cornered it inadvertently as he turned off the sprinkler at night, or

to put it on and he was barefoot and going out between the arborvitae and the house, it

too could feel cornered if it got away. He said that Mrs. Overfield seems like a

responsible citizen, but even if somehow it got away from a series of circumstances like

it did recently, he said he was thinking that an alligator could take a pretty big bite out of

a bare foot, especially if it felt cornered.  

Mayor Drake continued stating that was partly what he saw in the research today that

was provided to him and what he heard in talking with Mr. Fetzer is that while there may

be some degree of domestication he did not see, they are basically a prehistoric animal

they are left over from the prehistoric age.  He said he could not tell how many Learning

Channel shows he had seen where they are always featured especially in Florida being

taken out of people’s garages and back yards, etc.  He said he had a concern trying to

figure out what the community values are and he could not see a lot of up side and he

would be concerned about keeping it there.  He said he gleaned that from the Jarvis

testimony and the letters.  

Jarvis said she thought her neighbors were very nice people.  She had nothing against

her neighbors; they seem like a very nice family, law-abiding people.  She said she was

sure that they felt their animal is a very safe and valued pet, but to each their own, she

did not see it that way.  She said it was very conceivable that this animal could feel

threatened.  She said her example that occurred to her, was that she had a six-by-six

foot shrub bed right next to her front entry.  She said her eight year old son was in the

habit of coming up, parking his bike behind the shrub so it won’t be seen from the street,

and simply dumping it over the shrubs instead of using the kickstand.  She said if the

alligator was in the shrubs, it would certainly feel surprised or threatened and could very

well lunge at her son as he stood there taking his helmet off.  He would have no idea he

was there; he would have no intent of threatening him, but an alligator hit in the head

with a baseball is going to not be happy about it.  

Mayor Drake noted that in the material from Gatorland it said that alligators and

crocodiles do not make good pets, even for experienced reptile keepers.  He said he

was sure when they were little they were a little easier to handle and more interesting

but, again giving the absurd example as they grow, he would worry how does anyone

control them.  

Nick Adams, Beaverton, alligator owner, said that the twelve foot size usually only

occurs in the wild and that alligators kept in captivity usually range from five to six feet. 

He referred to comments about children and toddlers running around and them being

threatened; he said his little brother lives with his alligator all the time and he is pretty

small.  He said that to a wild alligator he would probably get eaten, but his alligator was

very timid and he was scared of little kids.  He said he cornered him all the time as he

has to catch him and take care of him; he does not lunge at you, he is very afraid.  He

referred to the testimony about being afraid when the police were there and the alligator

was in the kennel; he said the alligator was probably ten times more afraid than she or

anybody else was.

DeeAnn Overfield, Beaverton, alligator owner, stated she understood how everyone

feels; she thought it was fear as they have no knowledge of the animal.  She said she

would not have an alligator in her home if she thought it would hurt her children or

anyone else.  She said that if she saw that the alligator was going to get to ten or even

eight feet, she would move it to a facility, wherever she could move him to, so that

everyone would be safe.  She said she would never put anyone in danger, let alone her

own family.  She said she had the alligator longer than she had her youngest son and

they take very good care of him.  She said she knew other people do not take care of

some animals, just like they don’t take care of a pit bull or rottweiller.  She said the

chances of a dog biting someone were greater than this alligator biting anyone.  She

said she had the news media in her home; they all held him and he fell asleep in one of

the reporter’s lap.  She said she understood everyone’s fear but it’s the fear of the


Overfield continued by stating she was not sure what to do.  She said she felt her whole

family was being attacked because they don’t understand the alligator, they don’t prefer

that kind of animal.  She said it would be like Council telling someone they could not

have a pit bull or rottweiler in their home anymore because it has killed and bitten and

hurt people.  She said she thought there should be some kind of an ordinance where

they should be inspected to make sure that the animal is kept in good confinement.  She

said if it was outlawed there would be more people who want the alligator and they won’t

take care of it right and you would probably have more of a threat of them getting out

and scaring you if you’re out watering your yard.  She said there would be more of a

problem if they were outlawed; that was what happened in Multnomah County now all

kinds of people own the animals.  Even if you do outlaw them, everyone is going to have

them anyway; so you should do something about people having them and making sure

they are safe and people are safe.  She said she was not quite sure of where to go with

this or what to do, but she wanted to protect her animals and her children and everyone

else in the community.

Adams noted that the neighbor brought up the statistic that a whole bunch of people had

been hurt in 1991, he thought.  He said that was probably true in cities that have

alligators there naturally, but it has never happened, to his knowledge, that an alligator

or non-poisonous snake has ever hurt anybody in the state of Oregon.  

Coun. Soth asked Overfield if she had an animal such as this prior to this one.

Overfield replied she had an alligator when she was in her twenties.  She said she kept it

in her back yard and she lived in Beaverton then, off of Cedar Hills Boulevard.    

Coun. Soth said he was reading from a publication called “Crocodilian Captive Care”

FAQ, Caiman, Alligator and Crocodile, on page 1, and apparently this animal can grow

considerably larger.  He said he understood it was a juvenile at this particular time.  He

asked if that was correct.    

Overfield replied yes and said they were told by the pet store that it would not grow over

six feet.  She said she could not prove that and she never did any research on it, but

that’s what they were told when they bought the animal.    

Coun. Soth noted that the information said that as they grow larger, crocodilians, and

this includes the entire family, “are without doubt extremely dangerous, they are usually

hostile and most people underestimate just how fast and strong they can be.”  He said

the author says “He has seen a six foot crocodile throw three adult men off its back. 

They require skill and experience to handle and larger animals often require a team of

people to deal with safety.”  He noted it goes on from there.  He asked that even though

they see this animal as a pet right now, what do they foresee as it becomes larger.  He

also asked what does the pet store owner, or their own experience indicate, if, for some

reason, that animal is not fed regularly with the type of food that it needs.  

Adams said that at this point in time he ate about once every week to two weeks a small

bag of meat.  He said he was a very well fed animal and if he is not fed, yes, there was a

possibility that he might try to get food somewhere else, but that was not likely to


Overfield explained that he could actually go for months without eating.  She noted that

Coun. Soth was talking about a crocodile.

Coun. Soth noted it was crocodilian, which included the entire family of crocodiles,

alligators and caimans.  

Overfield noted that the three men that were thrown off was by a crocodile.  She said

that an alligator was really different from a crocodile.  

Adams said an alligator was much smarter than a crocodile.

Overfield stated that these guys (alligators) had the brain capacity of a cat—it would be

like owning a household cat.  She said that if she called him he would not come but

neither does her cat.  She said if her cat bit her it would probably hurt and do more

damage than the alligator at this point.  She said that if the alligator started to get to the

point where she thought it might harm someone she would make accommodations for it.  

Overfield continued by stating she would either move him away because right now she

does not know if he is going to get that big.  She said they were told that he was bred

like a neat little Yorkshire Terrier and the Pomeranian—bred and bred to be smaller. 

She said supposedly that’s how these animals were bred because they are sold in a pet

store.  She said they were not wild; they were bred in captivity, they were born in

captivity.  She said she was not sure that was absolutely the way it was going to happen;

that’s what she was told and that was what they were going by.  

Overfield continued by saying that if he gets to the point where her son or she could not

handle him, and they think he is a threat, they will move him.  She said that the neighbor

saying that the fence just went up was mistaken; she does not come and find out.   She

said she had a dog run in the back and that was where he was; he got out, so then they

took it apart because she was getting ready to put a $5,000 building up that was more

secure for all of her animals.  She said it would be cheaper for her to heat it, it ‘s easier

for her son to take care of it and it would be more secure.  She said they (the neighbor)

thought that just because now they could see it that the fence is over here now, that he

wasn’t fenced in that’s not the truth.  It’s them guessing about things just like they are

right now about the animal.  They have no idea really how nice he is.  She suggested

asking the news media.  She said they came over expecting something completely

different; after they left they loved the animal they thought it was the coolest thing they’d

ever seen in their life it feel asleep in one of the guy’s lap, Channel 12, he couldn’t

believe it.  She said she took it to Wilsonville High School for her stepdaughter’s school;

her health teacher kissed it.  The animal is a nice animal.  She said she knew that other

people may abuse them, but we have to pay because other people aren’t taking care of

their animal’s right.  She said she had a dog that was wonderful; the people down the

street might have a dog that might tear your arm off.  She said it was not fair.  She said

she felt they were being attacked and that she felt the Councilors had already made up

their minds without really investigating the other side just because she was one in a

couple of thousand people that may have one.  She said it did not seem fair.

Mayor Drake replied to Overfield that no one was attacking her.  He said that when they

talked at the break the point was that it wasn’t her alligator they were talking about; they

were talking about alligators in general. 

Overfield said she knew that but they were the ones that would lose their alligator.

Mayor Drake said he understood, but the average person would not consider them warm

and fuzzy.  

Coun. Brzezinski asked how long they had the alligator.

Adams said they had it about five years now.

Coun. Brzezinski as how large she was and questioned if it was a she.

Overfield said they were not sure if it was a female or male.  She said they always

thought it was a male.

Coun. Brzezinski asked how big it was when they got it.

Adams said it was about five inches long.

Coun. Brzezinski noted it had gone from five inches to five feet in five years; so it was

close to that foot a year.

Adams noted that like a human child, you grow a lot faster when you’re younger and

then you slow down or stop as you mature.

Brzezinski asked Overfield how long she had the alligator that she had when she was in

her twenties.

Overfield said she had him for about a year, but she did not really know what to do with

him and she did not have the money at the time or the intelligence to take care of it; so

she gave it to the Washington Park Zoo, they actually took him.

Coun. Brzezinski asked what one did with an alligator when they don’t want it anymore.

Overfield said that was why there should be some rules and regulations for people to

follow.  If people had to be licensed to have these animals, then you probably aren’t

going to have as many in the City because you’re not going to be able to care for them. 

She said it was very hard to take care of this animal; it is very expensive to take care of

all of them.  Just like a dog; her dog eats $30.00 to $40.00 worth of food every month. 

They are all expensive.  She said that the only argument she had was that they take

very good care of their animals.  She said this animal could get out for six months and

he is so well fed and so fat that he’s not going to hurt anyone.  She said his teeth were

this big the cat’s teeth were bigger than his.  He could not rip her hand off, or my finger

right now off of anyone.    

Coun. Brzezinski noted the alligator they have was considered immature.  She asked

when are they considered mature; how old are they when they’re considered mature.

Adams and Overfield said they did not know that for sure.

Overfield said she was not sure if it was age or size.

Adams said usually he thought about six.

Overfield said she wasn’t prepared to go and investigate everything.  She said she was

not hiding the animal from her neighbors.  They are more than welcome, anyone is more

than welcome to come see him.  She said she wanted to bring him to the meeting. 

Overfield said she would not let her child around an alligator out in the wild.  She said

alligators were afraid of people.  She said her alligator was afraid of people it will take off

running before you can even get close enough to him to touch him.  He has not lost his

fear of people.  

Coun. Doyle asked if prior to the escape that happened not too long ago, had she had

any complaints from anybody, any concerns expressed.

Overfield replied no.  She said it was their fault that they did not make one section of the

gate secure enough.  She said it was their fault that he got out and he has not been out


Coun. Doyle noted they had him out, visible, before.

Overfield said yes they had for the last five years.  She said they take him in the back

yard and sun him.  She said they have him on a leash; they do not let him run around. 

He is in a harness with a leash on.

Adams said that prior to him getting out they have actually taken him to two different

schools Wilsonville High School and an elementary school and showed him to people

and let people touch him and pet him.  They will say that he is a harmless animal.

Coun. Stanton asked what was the life expectancy of an alligator.

Adams replied about 60 years.

Mayor Drake said the sources they have read stated from 50 to 70 years.

Mayor Drake asked Overfield if she was an expert or zoologist.

Overfield replied she was not.  She said she has had animals all her life, she loves

animals.  She said they investigated to some point on all of their animals.  She said they

have a pluton skink and a boa constrictor, a tarantula.

Mayor Drake said he did not doubt their intent; one could look at the two of them and

know they were sincere.  He asked at what point would they know it was just right to

take the animal somewhere else and what if they misjudge that.  He asked how do they

know.  He said it alarmed him to know they were taking it out to schools because how

did they know at what point; everything he read was that they were shy until they were

cornered.  He said most three to four year olds go zany over little animals.  He noted five

feet wasn’t little, but it was low to the ground and until they are riled they don’t move

quickly, don’t move a lot, they just look.  

Overfield noted the Mayor kept bringing up the picture of the large alligator and that was

not fair.

Mayor Drake stated it was fair because the City would be leaving it up to them to make

that judgment.  He noted it was much like to cougar back in the 1980’s; it had a cyclone

fence over the top of it and the thing that got the neighbors riled the most was when it

was in heat they knew it was a female.  He said what he was hearing now was that they

were not sure what it was.  

Overfield explained they would have to look inside to see and they never had anyone do


Mayor Drake said the point was that they were not experts and they don’t know at what

point, and he was a parent with three children and there was probably nothing more

volatile or sensitive about pets with children.  He noted Adams was getting to be a big

guy, and he read the article about him; he looked like he was very capable of taking care

of himself, but you don’t know at what point that happens.  He stated that broadly, as a

parent, he had tough time saying no to his kids.  He noted Adam’s mother looked like

she was a very responsible person but neither of them knew when the tip-over point was

for that alligator, that it won’t turn on them too for it was still a prehistoric animal.

Overfield noted it was no different than a rottweiler or a Doberman pincher or a German

shepherd.  She said she had a German shepherd that she would never know if he was

going to bite someone that was in her home or even bite her.  She said there was no

difference than the dogs.  She said she wouldn’t ever want him to harm anyone, but she

never knows if that dog is going to do something, nor would the Mayor if he owned one.

Mayor Drake said he respectfully disagreed and noted they were not talking about dogs

tonight they were talking about alligators and he saw too much doubt about it.

Overfield replied she understood his doubt.

Coun. Soth noted that they said when they took this animal to a school, that they had it

on a leash.

Overfield and Adams replied yes.

Coun. Soth asked how they knew the strength of that animal to control it with a leash. 

He asked if they were strong enough everything he had read in this material indicated

even the smaller five foot ones were very strong.

Overfield said they had him in a school  two years ago and he was considerably smaller.  

Coun. Soth asked if now they still had him on a leash.

Adams and Overfield replied yes.

Coun. Soth asked how they knew they were capable of dealing with that animal should it

become startled and revert to what it would be in the wild, in terms of pulling away and

going in a different direction from what you want it to go.

Adams said he knew for a fact that his alligator has been startled before by him and

does run away; and at this point, he was able to grab him and hold him with his two

hands and restrain him from doing any harm to anyone.

Coun. Soth noted that was when he was startled by Adams.

Adams replied or anyone else.

Overfield stated she startled him all the time and she gets yelled at by Adams because

she startled him.

Coun. Soth said that was different from a stranger or several strangers startling that

animal in proximity.

Adams said he has had many of his friends over to see him and they have startled him.

Coun. Soth said he was talking about strangers.

Adams said they were strangers.

Overfield stated they had strangers in their house all day today; they had Channel 6 and

Channel 12.  She said she cautioned them “please, you’re scaring him, don’t get so

close, or backup.”  She said he never once freaked out when those people were in her

house, not once.  He could have.  She said she didn’t know when he would it’s just like

any other pet owner they can’t answer every question and know his every move.  She

said they were confident to know right now they can handle the animal.  She said if she

thought any different she would be the first one to make other arrangements put him in a

zoo if she thought it was even coming close to that right now she would.  She said she

would not endanger anyone.  She said that was the difference between her and the next

guy that’s going to own one.  She said she was afraid they were being punished

because people had fears of other people not being able to do right with their animals.  

Mayor Drake noted they were probably duplicating themselves and there were others

who would like to speak.  He noted again that the ordinance was not just for them, it was

for alligators.

Overfield stated she was concerned for everyone who has them, other people who take

good care of their pets.

Coun. Brzezinski asked how much the alligator weighs now.  

Adams said about 30 pounds.

Overfield noted he eats pieces of meat this big around (indicated size with fingers) and

that is all he can eat.  There is no way he can eat a cat or dog or a child in any way. 

This is a big as he can get down his throat right now (he indicated with his hands).   He

is not anywhere near being a threat to anyone.  

Mary Esther Hart, Hart’s Reptile World, Canby, said they were a reptile zoo in Canby,

Oregon; they have been there since 1980 and were federally licensed.  She said they’ve

known DeeAnn (Overfield) for several years and they take care of their alligator in

accordance to how they take care of theirs; they have nine alligators ranging from three

feet to 11 feet.  She said in general she does not advocate the ownership of any

crocodilian because they get too big; it’s not because they’re aggressive, it’s because

people don’t know what to do with them once they get past six feet.  She said that most

people in general do not take good care of their animals, but DeeAnn takes exceptional

care of her animal and they have done everything over the years that they

recommended although she wouldn’t have recommended taking it outside for sunning. 

She said they have worked with many state and federal agencies in drafting exotic

animal laws, in particular with reptiles, that’s all they work with.  She said if anyone was

interested, a permit process was a much better way to go rather than banning them

because then you always have that segment of the society that wants something illegal,

that wouldn’t have gotten it if the animal was legal through a permit process. 

Hart said the advantage to a permit process was that you know where all these animals

are; if they get loose you don’t have to go “oh, my goodness, where does this go or who

owns this animal.”  You can just go through your records and find out who’s in that area

who probably their animal got lost; so a permit process is a much better way to go.  She

said they would happy to work with the City in helping to draft, just for reptiles, a permit

process if they were interested in that.  

Mayor Drake commented that that takes additional staff time and candidly, there are

people who don’t apply for permits because they don’t want to spend the money, and so

the very people you want to be getting to, probably wouldn’t apply to begin with so we

wouldn’t know they were there.  

Hart said there were a lot of people who would be happy to go to a permit process

because they want to know how to take care of the animal properly and they don’t have

to rely on misinformation like DeeAnn and her family got from the pet store.

Coun. Soth asked if any of these crocodilian species were subject to either the Federal

or State exotic pet rules.

Hart explained that Oregon does not regulate them.  She said the State’s philosophy is

that if they get loose the animal will die over the winter time; Oregon does not regulate

them and they have no plans to regulate them.  She noted they do not sell them, they

were not a zoo.

Coun. Soth asked in that case, how do you know whether the person inquiring of you

either has one or is about to get one.

Hart said in general she does not until somebody calls them.  She said that there were a

lot of them out there that people just buy ‘cause “Hey, wow—look what I’ve got” kind of

mentality and whether you pass the law or not, that person is going to have an alligator. 

She said that hopefully, with more people finding out, places that have done a permit

process are very happy with it because they know, certainly not all, but they know where

a good percentage of the animals are.  She said another important thing was that you

know they are well fed and well cared for, rather than like many pet stores would tell you

to feed a snake once a month and that’s not nearly enough they should be fed once a

week.  So if your animal is well fed, it’s not going to be aggressive.  So if you have a

permit process where people have mentors or someone that they can go to, that has the

expertise of the animal, you are much better off than just banning it.

Coun. Soth thanked her.

Mayor Drake asked about the weather.  He noted that Oregon’s weather in a lot of areas

is not what was called extreme, and yet Pennsylvania gets pretty severe weather and

yet four mature alligators were found in Pennsylvania this summer and that gets some

terribly cold winters there.  He said he was not being argumentative. 

Hart explained that they believe that those were captive gators that were turned loose. 

She said she read the article on—also, that they are one of the experts

on which was where he got his crocodilian facts from, she believed.

Mayor Drake said he did not know how it was done in Clackamas County where she was

from, but the County actually licenses pets here in Washington County.  Beaverton

doesn’t license animals and he was not sure that they would want to get into licensing

pets; any kind.  

Coun. Stanton said a permitting process would not include any kind of education.  The

City does not have the budget to have a person on staff and the County does the

regulation of animals here and she did not believe they have education packets, other

than requirements for rabies vaccines she got that card every year in the mail from them. 

She noted that was all they do; there isn’t anyone involved in education along with the

permitting process of animals in Washington County.

Hart said there were several of them in the State of Oregon that would be more than

happy to provide accurate information to the Board so that it could be given out to


Coun. Stanton noted, as Mayor Drake said, that involves a lengthy process with

ordinances and that would be at the County level, not at this level.

Coun. Doyle asked Hart, in her experience, at what point is a critter like this likely to be

not manageable by say an individual one person.

Hart replied about six feet.

Coun. Doyle asked if that was because of the weight.

Hart said it was because of the strength.

Coun. Doyle asked if strength came with length, rather than weight.

Hart said that was right; that you are at six feet looking at about a 75 pound animal that

has incredible strength.  She said you were more likely to be injured from the tail, than

bit by it, because they use their tail as a weapon they whack with their tail to knock

things off their feet in fear, to get away, or something like that.  She said that was not a

domestic gator if he was cornered, possibly he would use the tail but he wouldn’t bite.

Coun. Doyle asked Hart if the permit process used in other parts of the country, do they

at some point say that, once it reaches a certain size it must go to a facility such as


Hart said it did not because the permit process eliminates a lot of people in the

beginning.  For example, if someone lived in an apartment, they would not qualify.  She

said they are eliminating a lot of people; they want to make sure that you can take care

of the animal when they are full grown. There are strict regulations for getting the animal

in the first place.

Coun. Doyle noted they were talking generalization, but this does impact one family right

away.  He asked what point would someone know that the animal is mature or full

grown; how would that be known.

Hart responded she had never heard the information she heard tonight that they’ve been

bred and bred to get smaller and smaller.  She repeated she never heard that before

and said it was not true.  She said they were bred on alligator farms for leather and for

the pet industry.  She said a female would average seven to nine feet; a full grown male

will average ten to 14 feet.

Mayor Drake asked if there were any more questions for Hart; there were none.

Glory (no other name given), Hillsboro, said he didn’t even know where to begin; so

much has been said already and he would like to make a point: it seems like everyone is

getting defensive over being attacked and he knew that that’s not what we’re trying to do

here.    He said he would personally like to talk to the people in the audience to ask the

people who found the animal, how it happened, what they were afraid of when it

happened, what were they thinking, did they approach it, did they know exactly what

they were coming across when it happened.  He said that when you find something like

this it would not pop into your head what you need to do to be safe.  He said you would

not know just because it is a different exotic animal, but that does not necessarily mean

that it is immediately a threat.  

Glory continued by saying that an animal in the wild behaves completely different than

when it is in captivity; an animal that has been raised from the egg with human contact is

absolutely less likely to attack anything, let alone a cat, a dog, a person, an infant.  He

said he spent a lot of time in Florida; when he finished high school, he went to college

and studied biology and zoology.  He said he was now a professional DJ, travels the

world to do shows.  He says he spent a number of years in school learning about this

because he wanted animals himself; he moved too much to have them, but he knew

everything about them.  He said that if you walk up and touch an animal that is in the

wild, it’s going to have a reaction to you and it’s probably going to be threatening, but

these things kill to eat they don’t kill because they are bored.  He said they don’t kill

because they feel they are being threatened; the first thing they do is use the minimal

defense and they work up to maximum.  They’ll swat you with their tail, they’ll run, they’ll

turn around, they’ll hiss they can bark and make noises.  He said they will be less likely

to bite you than they are to show you these displays of aggression—to warn you “I’m not

in a position to be held I’m not in a position to hang out with you—I’m scared of you.”  He

said they would always do this first a rattlesnake has rattles because it warns you first; it

doesn’t just bite you automatically.  

Glory said that animals kill because they eat to survive; they don’t just go out and hunt

down kids or cats.  To go beyond the fact that there is one alligator that started this

whole thing, back in the 80’s when the cougar thing came up and we were freaked out

by cougars and we found them being pets, well, we hunted them extensively in the wild

and in the early 1900’s and that late 1800’s and we almost wiped out the entire species. 

He noted that since then California and many other states have passed ordinances

protecting animals.  Florida panthers are down to 50 in the wild.  He asked what

happens when an animal goes completely extinct when humans have encroached on

their territory so much that they have no other natural place to live.

Mayor Drake asked Glory to stick to the issue of the alligators.

Glory said his point was at what point do we decide what animals can be kept as pets;

when do we get involved in the individual family or individual person’s life.  When at that

point is it fair; when do we say “I don’t personally like what you have and it may be a

threat.”  He said it may be a threat, but an animal in captivity is less likely to attack, by a

thousand times, than one in the wild.  He said we take risks every time you step out on

the street at night, every time you step into a car or walk outside in a storm.  He said

these things happen and you can’t protect the entire world from everything all the time. 

He said he realized the Councilors had not made up their minds yet; he did not think

they would sit there and listen to everybody if they didn’t have the intention of seeing the

issue through. 


Glory said the point he would like to make is that we need to keep an open mind about

this and not be angry with it; we need to find a way to let individuals voice the fact that

they would like a pet that’s not warm and fuzzy a pet that suits their individuality.  He

noted his face was covered in metal and, obviously, when he came into this courtroom

and a lot of people probably thought “He’s not going to know what he’s talking about.” 

They’re a lot of people he sat next to that went “Oh my God, what could he have to say.” 

An animal like that is a threat if you raise it to be a threat.  But people that want these

animals, as individuals and as families, they should be able to have the right to choose

to have these animals.  That right, as a human, should not be taken away.  He said that

was why he thought this ordinance should have a lot of thought before anything is

decided.  It’s not up to everyone to tell everyone else what he or she can and can’t do. 

There are going to be risks there are risks in dogs and risks in cats there is feline

leukemia, there are tons of diseases you can get from being scratched, there are risks

from falling off a tree.

Mayor Drake noted Glory lived in Hillsboro and asked him what his interest was in this


Glory responded that he felt that his right as a person was violated when he was

absolutely told “this is forbidden”, because there are people who are responsible.  He

noted there were many people who are irresponsible and he realized that.  He said he

realized that we’re not trying to punish one person because of irresponsibility; it was an

accident and accidents do happen.  But that doesn’t mean the entire issue should be

shut down because of it.

Coun. Brzezinski asked Glory if he felt that if a person wants any animal at all, they

should be allowed to have it as a pet.   

Glory replied that they should pretty much be able to have anything that they choose, but

not just get it like Mary said, there should be some sort of a process that they go

through—whether it’s permits or taking a class to learn how to take care of it or doing an

apprentice-ship at a zoo what not.  The people need to be informed before they get

involved in this because crocodilians are a large project; they can run, but a large

crocodilian’s body is not designed to gallop like a horse.  They can run as fast as a

horse, not two times as fast; they can gallop for a short burst, they cannot run—their legs

aren’t designed that way.  It’s not going to chase a human down.  It’s not going to hunt

them out for food.  He said they do a death roll when they attack their prey, because

they are in water.  He said that 99% of the time they attack prey that is in water; they will

drag you underneath the water and they’ll roll and suffocate you and that’s how they eat

you.  They cannot fit a whole human down their throat; it’s impossible. They have a

palette that acts like a tongue it blocks off the throat under water and that space is not

large enough to fit anything larger than a small piece of meat.  

Mayor Drake thanked him for his comments.

Coun. Stanton commented to Glory about his comments on when is it important to

interfere with peoples’ ability to have pets they want.  She said she wanted him to think

about the balance between private rights and public good—not for discussion now—

think about the public good vs. the private good, in the larger context of society.

Glory thanked Council.

Angela Cordry, Hillsboro, said that as a reptile owner, herself--and there are several

more reptiles that she would like to add to her collection she said she was personally

responsible for her animals and she takes very good care of her animals.  She said she

make sure they are secured.  She said she would be more than happy to go through a

permit process or a mentorship program or classes or whatever research.  She said they

researched their animals before they got them to make sure they knew what they were

getting into and to make sure of the commitment.  She said most people were law-

abiding citizens and most people would comply.  There are the skinks out there that

wouldn’t necessarily comply, but most people that are reptile enthusiasts would be

happy to comply.  She said she did not think anybody wishes to have large reptiles to

endanger anybody.  She said she would like to be able to make that choice for herself.  

Mayor Drake noted she lived in Hillsboro and was a neighbor to the previous speaker. 

He asked what her interest was.

Cordy explained she heard about it from Mary—that there was a meeting and that if this

passes it has the potential to effect her at some point.  If it passes in one city, there will

probably be a lot of other cities that follow suit, as government would have it.

Coun. Stanton noted we require blood tests and permits for marriage, but education is

not required for getting married and having children.  She said she did not think there will

be any ordinance—local or state-wide—in terms of requiring people to have education

before they can have a pet.  She said it was not going to happen, as good as it sounds,

because it was too costly for most jurisdictions.  Besides, how would you figure out what

to put into an education packet.

Cordy replied she didn’t know; she didn’t have the answers.

Mayor Drake thanked everyone for their comments—that this was not a public hearing; it

was taking comments.  He noted the ordinance was now up for first reading.  He asked if

Council had any questions for Mr. Kirby before he called for the first reading—or for Mr.


Coun. Brzezinski asked why a limit was put on the size of the snake but not on the


Kirby recalled that Multnomah County has an ordinance that was somewhat similar to

this; now it’s structured differently, but Multnomah County’s ordinance put a limitation on

snakes.  Also, he said, Fetzer did go to stores and some of these snakes that would be

covered otherwise are sold, so there was this issue about stores that sell snakes that

arguably are not dangerous.  He said that on the issue of the length of the alligator and

the crocodile, he did not think that was ever discussed he suggested Mr. Fetzer speak

on that.  He said the next question he would want to know was do you put a limitation on

the alligators, the crocodiles, or both and what do you do about the caimans.  

Fetzer said after he was asked to work with Kirby to draft an ordinance, he researched

what State law and local jurisdictions provided Multnomah County and Washington

County both do animal control.  He said Washington County only regulates dogs and

they provide dog licensing and picking up dogs at large and vicious dogs for Beaverton

and the whole county.  He said Multnomah County prohibited crocodilians and large

snakes, and they had a length definition for when a snake became large.  He said he

also contacted the pet stores in Beaverton and none of them sell alligators, but one pet

store manager that he talked to on the phone said they do sell a species of python that is

supposed to only grow to five feet in length and he said they sell that particular species

because it’s not considered to grow large enough to be a threat to humans.  He said he

was going on the word of one pet store manager in Beaverton who sells pythons.  He

said he was not an expert in snakes to know if that information was correct or not.  

Coun. Stanton asked Fetzer if she understood it correctly that Washington County has

no regulation on dangerous or exotic animals.  

Fetzer said he could not find any County Code Sections about animals except dogs—

regulation of dogs.

Coun. Stanton asked if he called vector control and asked about that.

Fetzer explained Washington County did not have vector control, they don’t regulate rats

but Multnomah County did.

Mayor Drake explained some cities have vector control and the County was broadly

looking at something because of the West Nile Virus, but that’s very early stages of


Coun. Doyle asked Coun. Brzezinski, if on her initial question she was thinking that this

needed to be looked at more.  He said it was a valid question to ask.

Coun. Brzezinski said she thought Ms. Hart’s testimony was quite credible to her.  First,

she said, she was surprised that a five foot alligator was only weighing in the

neighborhood of 30 pounds or so; that was smaller than she thought.  She said she was

wondering why we let snakes be a pet if they are smaller than a certain size, but not

make the same argument for other animals.  She said she was trying to find some logic

for why we do it for one kind of thing but not for something else.  

Mayor Drake said that broadly, from the difficulties since we don’t license these animals,

that there’s very little control over how big they get and we hear that when they get to a

certain size, they’re unmanageable.  He noted it’s difficult to know at what point, which

was why he asked those folks that question.  

Coun. Brzezinski said that was why she was real interested when Ms. Hart answered the

question when someone asked her when they get unmanageable or more than one

person can typically manage and it was around six feet and 75 pounds.

Mayor Drake said he understood.  He noted to Coun. Doyle that his only concern in

stalling on this is if people will have to keep coming back and what was being done

tonight was only as a courtesy to take comment—that this really wasn’t a public hearing. 

He said it appears there is some compelling evidence and if there is an issue he would

like to have researched, that can be done between the first reading and second reading. 

He said he would strongly suggest that this not be dragged out if there is a specific

issue; but the fact is, we have a five foot alligator that is in the City—there may be

others—and we have a host of Beaverton citizens who are concerned about it.  He said

that as you look at the issue broadly, whether they will swallow a whole human being or

eat them up is not the point.  It’s you lose a finger, you lose a hand, you lose a foot.  He

said that even at that, should citizens be frightened to death because, if he went out in

his yard and he saw a five foot alligator out there, he was sure he would see his heart

pounding a lot more than it does after he runs.  

Mayor Drake continued noting they have a broad range of ages in the City and that kind

of surprise could be more than somebody should be expected to take because it is not

reasonable to expect, in Beaverton, Oregon, that you are going to come across an

alligator.  You might an angry dog, or you might a coyote, or a raccoon or a opossum,

but you don’t expect to come across an alligator.  He stated that we have a defined

problem, that got away once and they appear to be very responsible people.  Not

everyone may be like Ms. Overfield and we can’t control that.  It was much like with the

cougar those folks appeared to be very responsible, but at the same time not everyone

can or will be and it’s back to the old story of the bunnies at Easter.  They look great in

the Easter basket, but six months later they’re acting like rabbits and not cute little

bunnies.  He said the reason to bring this forward was because there was a defined

problem here and it appears we should proceed.

Coun. Soth noted they were talking about reptiles and pythons that were five feet or less. 

He said they were not talking about anacondas or boa constrictors which grow much

larger and those are prohibited by the Code, with which he was thoroughly in agreement

because they are unpredictable and can be very dangerous.  He said that even though

they have heard several different definitions of the difference, if any, between a crocodile

and an alligator, they are still part of the same family and very closely related according

to everything he read.  He said it appeared to him that the unpredictability is one of those

kinds of things that as they get larger as we heard a six foot alligator can be very strong

and beyond the capability of a lot of people to control in any way.  He said he personally

would not want to try and grab one as he’s seen on television grab one and close its

jaws; that would be a little beyond his capacity.

Coun. Stanton said that this put her between a rock and a hard place because she grew

up with alligators, lizards and boa constrictors not an alligator or a crocodile but other

reptiles.  She said when she was in college she would swing by the biology department

and get their overflow of mice and rats to take home for the boa constrictor.  She said

she was looking at the ordinance and seeing some different things, such as only cats

that are not indigenous to Oregon can’t be here why shouldn’t anything that is not

indigenous to Oregon be in this ordinance so that we can cover all these kinds of things. 

She said she believed that Ms. Overfield is reasonably correct in saying that alligators

are more docile than crocodiles, but they are not something that she believed should be

in an urban environment.  She said she was thinking of Goal No. 5, “To ensure and safe

and healthy community for the City at large” and she was stuck with that goal that

Council created and she was not sure the community at large would see safe and

healthy community, with an alligator being acceptable within the City.  

Coun. Stanton continued by saying she could not balance the two and she was elected

and had to go for the whole City.  She said she wished there was someway they could

allow that, because they have to allow rottweilers and pit bulls and they were more


Coun. Ruby said that he agreed with Coun. Stanton’s comments about some types of

animals, in his view, just not being suitable for an urban environment.  He said that the

one thing he would ask for because he thought Coun. Brzezinski made an excellent

point is that if we are going to say that certain animals simply have a propensity for the

type of behavior or the type of danger that makes them unsuitable for an urban

environment, he would ask the staff to research between the first and second reading,

whether pythons and boa constrictors, whether it’s really a meaningful distinction to say

we should permit them if they are not capable of obtaining eight feet or more in length. 

He said that was the Multnomah County ordinance and he was sure there was some

research behind making the distinction at that length, but we’ve all heard about boa

constrictors and snakes like that escaping and everybody looking for them around the

neighborhood, and it seemed to him that even a smaller snake can be dangerous to an

infant or a toddler.  He asked for any information out there that would go to that issue

whether length is meaningful or whether, in revising this ordinance, we shouldn’t

perhaps extend that prohibition to pythons and boa constrictors completely.

Mayor Drake said they would research that between the first and second reading.  He

asked for other comments.

Coun. Brzezinski said she was swayed by her fellow Councilors.  She said she thought

the issue was that we were in an urban environment.  She said she thought that was

what would make her not vote against this.  She said this was tough.  She said she

agreed that there were some commonly accepted pets that sound more dangerous than

this; she said she agreed with that.  But, she said, what it boils down to is when you are

looking at the City as a whole and what is expected in an urban environment, that an

alligator doesn’t fit.

Mayor Drake asked if there was any other comment; there were none.

Mayor Drake asked for a first reading. 

Suspend Rules:

Coun.  Soth MOVED, SECONDED by Coun. Ruby,  that the rules be suspended, and

that the ordinance embodied in AB 02298 be read for the first time by title only at this

meeting, and for the second time by title only at the next regular meeting of the Council. 

Couns. Brzezinski, Doyle, Ruby, Soth and Stanton voting AYE, the MOTION CARRIED

unanimously.  (5:0)

Pilliod read the following ordinance for the first time by title only:

An Ordinance Relating to Nuisance Animals and Amending Beaverton Code Section

5.05.037 (Ordinance No. 4229)


Coun. Soth MOVED, SECONDED by Coun. Brzezinski that Council move into executive

session in accordance with ORS 192.660 (1) (h) to discuss the legal rights and duties of

the governing body with regard to litigation or litigation likely to be filed. Couns.

Brzezinski, Doyle, Ruby, Soth and Stanton voting AYE, the MOTION CARRIED


The executive session convened at 9:12 p.m.

The executive session adjourned at 9:53 pm.

The regular meeting reconvened at 9:53 p.m.


There being no further business to come before the Council at this time, the meeting

was adjourned at 9:53 p.m.


Catherine L. Jansen, Deputy City Recorder


Approved this       16th     day of      December     , 2002.


Rob Drake, Mayor