BEAVERTON CITY COUNCIL
REGULAR MEETING MINUTES
OCTOBER 14, 2002
CALL TO ORDER:
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
Mayor Drake read the proclamation for National Arts and Humanities Month, October,
Introduction of Members from the 2002-2003 Mayors Youth Advisory Board (MYAB)
Mayor Drake presented a brief history of the Mayors 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; Breeann Winchell,
Jesuit; Shannon Mills, Sunset; Sydney Hetfeld, Sunset.
George explained the Boards 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 years 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
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
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)
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
Attorneys 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 Mayors level, about what should and shouldnt
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 Citys attention through Code
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
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 whats 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 dont 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 alligators that size and its 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. Soths 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 (Gassners) 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 (Gassners) 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 thats 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, whyd
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
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 thats
going to happen. There is no guarantee that there is any danger thats 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 wont 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. Its 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 hes 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 peoples 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 wont 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
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 dont 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 reporters lap. She said she understood everyones fear but its 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 dont understand the alligator, they dont 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 wont
take care of it right and you would probably have more of a threat of them getting out
and scaring you if youre 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
thats 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 catit 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 Pomeranianbred and bred to be smaller.
She said supposedly thats 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;
thats 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
wasnt fenced in thats not the truth. Its 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 theyd
ever seen in their life it feel asleep in one of the guys lap, Channel 12, he couldnt
believe it. She said she took it to Wilsonville High School for her stepdaughters 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 arent taking care of
their animals 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 wasnt 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
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 youre 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
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 dont 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 arent
going to have as many in the City because youre 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 hes not going to hurt anyone. She said his teeth were
this big the cats 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 theyre 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 wasnt 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 wasnt little, but it was low to the ground and until they are riled they dont move
quickly, dont move a lot, they just look.
Overfield noted the Mayor kept bringing up the picture of the large alligator and that was
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 1980s; 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 dont 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 dont know at what point that happens. He stated that broadly, as a
parent, he had tough time saying no to his kids. He noted Adams 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 wont 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 wouldnt 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, youre scaring him, dont 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 didnt know when he would its just like
any other pet owner they cant 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 thats 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
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, Harts Reptile World, Canby, said they were a reptile zoo in Canby,
Oregon; they have been there since 1980 and were federally licensed. She said theyve
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; its not because theyre aggressive, its because
people dont 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 wouldnt 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, thats 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 wouldnt 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 dont 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 whos 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 dont apply for permits because they dont want to spend the money, and so
the very people you want to be getting to, probably wouldnt apply to begin with so we
wouldnt 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 dont 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 States 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, wowlook what Ive 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 thats not nearly enough they should be fed once a
week. So if your animal is well fed, its 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 Oregons 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 crocodilian.comalso, that they are one of the experts
on crocodilian.com 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
doesnt 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 isnt 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 wouldnt 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 theyve 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 didnt 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 thats not what were 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, its going to have a reaction to you and its probably going to be threatening, but
these things kill to eat they dont kill because they are bored. He said they dont kill
because they feel they are being threatened; the first thing they do is use the minimal
defense and they work up to maximum. Theyll swat you with their tail, theyll run, theyll
turn around, theyll 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 aggressionto warn you Im not
in a position to be held Im not in a position to hang out with youIm scared of you. He
said they would always do this first a rattlesnake has rattles because it warns you first; it
doesnt just bite you automatically.
Glory said that animals kill because they eat to survive; they dont 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 80s 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 1900s and that late 1800s 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 persons life. When at that
point is it fair; when do we say I dont 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 cant 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 didnt have the intention of seeing the
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 thats 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 Hes not going to know what hes talking about.
Theyre 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. Its not up to everyone to tell everyone else what he or she can and cant 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 were not trying to punish one person because of irresponsibility; it was an
accident and accidents do happen. But that doesnt 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
throughwhether its 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
crocodilians 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 runtheir legs
arent designed that way. Its not going to chase a human down. Its 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 theyll roll and suffocate you and thats how they eat
you. They cannot fit a whole human down their throat; its 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 goodnot 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
wouldnt 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 Marythat 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 ordinancelocal or state-widein 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 didnt know; she didnt have the answers.
Mayor Drake thanked everyone for their commentsthat 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 readingor 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 its structured differently, but Multnomah Countys 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 its 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 dont 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 thats 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. Harts 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 dont license these animals,
that theres very little control over how big they get and we hear that when they get to a
certain size, theyre unmanageable. He noted its 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 commentthat this really wasnt 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 Citythere may be
othersand 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. Its 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 dont 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 cant 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 its back to the old story of the bunnies at Easter. They look great in
the Easter basket, but six months later theyre 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 hes 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 cant be here why shouldnt 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. Stantons 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 its 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 weve 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 shouldnt
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 doesnt fit.
Mayor Drake asked if there was any other comment; there were none.
Mayor Drake asked for a first reading.
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
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