You will find a myriad of informational programs and resources below within several safety categories. Our purpose and commitment is to provide you with the information needed to promote the safest possible community.
We encourage you to explore these resources and email us for more information.
- Home and Neighborhood Safety
- Personal Safety
- Livability Issues
- Victim Services
- Houseless Community Resources
- One Pill Can Kill
Home and neighborhood safety
The Neighborhood Watch Program has grown in safety and effectiveness since inception in the 1970’s. Today, this program encourages participants to get to know their neighbors, be observant, take good notes, and work closely with the Sheriff’s Office by reporting all emergent and non-emergent information promptly.
Benefits of a Neighborhood Watch
- Improved livability and increased sense of community
- Neighbors working together as a team
- Identified suspicious behavior
- Improved home and property security
- Active partnership with the Sheriff’s Office
- Local crime and available resource updates
How it is effective
- Neighbors get to know each other and build a strong community
- Participants learn to observe, identify, and report problems
- Prompt reporting of suspicious and criminal behavior to law enforcement
- Sheriff deputies respond appropriately
- Increased safety and sense of security
How to get started
- Welcome to Neighborhood Watch, CLICK HERE to get organized!
- Connect with neighbors to develop and encourage community support
- For help identifying concerns and developing an action plan, contact your neighborhood Outreach Specialist to schedule a meeting or email Public Affairs.
Routines are the most effective way to establish consistency. We encourage our community members to do the same when it comes to safety and security. We've adopted the #9PM Routine as a reminder to lock all doors, bring in valuables, and turn on outside lights before 9 PM each night. These steps have proven effective in reducing property crimes all around the nation.
- LOCK UP: secure your car, house, windows, garage, gates, shed, and even the door from your garage into your home.
- LIGHT UP: turn on exterior lights, security cameras, and alarm systems.
- PACK UP: bring in valuables from your car, yard, patio, and porch. *Never leave garage door openers inside vehicles parked outside.
Listen to your intuition, if a situation feels unsafe, it probably is! Trust your gut and that “inner voice” inside your head.
Stay alert to your surroundings at all times.
- When out and about, especially at night, travel with a group.
- Avoid problem areas and short-cuts through unknown neighborhoods, wooded areas, parking lots or alleys.
- Set and maintain your “personal boundaries.”
- Physical boundaries between you and others.
- Emotional boundaries that determine how you allow others to treat you.
- Maintain a healthy mistrust of anyone you don’t know well – this includes anyone you meet online!
- If followed, or feeling threatened, head for a safe area:
- Police or fire station
- Hospital or library
- Restaurant, gas station, or store
- Anywhere with “lights and noise”
- Keep in mind which of these are open at different times of day in your area
- If confronted by a stranger, use your voice—make noise and call attention to your situation!
- “LEAVE ME ALONE!”
- “BACK OFF!”
- When driving, keep your car in good running condition with plenty of gas. Keep doors locked at all times.
- Have a cell phone available if you need to call for help.
- If you ride the bus or MAX, use well-lighted, busy stops and stay alert. Sit as close to the driver or conductor as you can.
If someone tries to rob you, give up your property. Try to remember as much as you can about their appearance so you can give a good description to the police. CALL 9-1-1!
Wherever you are, stay alert and tuned in to your surroundings. This is the most important thing you can do for yourself!
- Be sure your body language shows that you are calm and confident.
- Always trust your instincts and that “inner voice”.
- If a situation seems unsafe, IT PROBABLY IS AND IT’S TIME TO LEAVE NOW!!
- Keep your wits about you and stay sober. Alcohol is known as the number one date rape drug in our society.
Refuse to get into a vehicle with anyone under the influence of drugs, alcohol, or even too little sleep!
- Decide in your own mind, under what circumstances you will use physical force to defend yourself.
- Prepare yourself by taking self-defense classes.
- When a situation turns physical, you must commit to an all-out battle to free yourself.
- Remember the vulnerable points on an attacker’s body include the eyes, nose, throat, instep of the foot, and groin.
- Getting angry can help to overcome fear and connect with your inner strength and will to survive.
- Research shows that fighting back aggressively and early, increases the chance of creating an escape.
- WAITING for a chance to escape is also a valid option. Waiting through an entire attack is NOT CONSENT!
- Emergencies: 9-1-1
- Non-emergency dispatch: 503-629-0111
- Washington County Mental Health Crisis Line: 503-291-9111
- Washington County Sheriff’s Office Community Outreach
- Safe Oregon:
Free Self Defense Classes For Women:
- Washington County Sheriff’s Office “Power Curve”: 503-846-2774
- Portland Police Bureau “WomenStrength”: 503-823-0260
We enjoy a close partnership with other county departments responsible for enforcing Washington County code violations. To help residents access the appropriate resources and assist in the problem-solving process, we have links below to county web pages with more information and online complaint forms.
Neighborhoods within the Enhanced Sheriff's Patrol District (ESPD) will benefit from enhanced county ordinances designed to help resolve livability issues. Not sure if you live in the ESPD? Please visit Who Serves My Neighborhood and enter your address to find out.
Your Washington County Board of Commissioners established a restricted shoot district comprised of the urban unincorporated neighborhoods of Bethany and Cedar Mill. The board action prohibits firing a weapon within the district’s boundaries unless the firearm is used at a gun club or shooting range approved by the Washington County Sheriff or is a shotgun used to control predatory birds or animals.
For complaints that include the accumulation of waste materials that are a public risk or that attract disease vectors (vermin), overgrown grass or weeds that present a fire hazard, or for noise complaints, please contact Washington County Solid Waste and Recycling Services at (503) 846-3605.
For issues dealing with land use violations, such as unpermitted home businesses, excess vehicles, fence height, setbacks, and flood plain fill, please contact Current Planning Services at (503) 846-4875.
If you have concerns about Building Code enforcement, to include abandoned, dangerous or dilapidated buildings, please contact Building Services at (503) 846-4875 (Current Planning).
If you notice any of the following violations, please call non-emergency dispatch at 503-629-0111. See our Vehicles and Parking page for more details.
- No person shall use a vehicle or recreational vehicle for overnight lodging on a public right of way for a period in excess of 48 hours at the same location or within a two-mile radius of the same location.
- No person shall park a recreational vehicle on a residential street within the Enhanced Sheriff's Patrol District for a period in excess of four days (96 consecutive hours) in any 28-day period.
- Recreational Vehicle (RV): A vehicle with or without motive power, that is designed for human occupancy and to be used temporarily for recreational, seasonal, or emergency purposes. An RV may be a camp trailer, motor home, camper, boat or other vehicle.
- No person shall park a commercial vehicle, as that term is defined in ORS 801.208, on a residential street within the Enhanced Sheriff's Patrol District.
- No person shall park in front of the entrance of any place where mail is received or within ten feet of a mailbox during the hours of 8:00am and 5:00pm.
- A vehicle shall not be parked on a public street or public right of way without license plates, with expired tags, with expired registration. or with expired temporary licensing permit.
- No person shall park a vehicle in a manner which interferes with use of the right-of-way, the safe flow of traffic or obstructs the view of other drivers.
Find information about the Sheriff's Office response to houselessness here or if you have concerns, provide relevant information to the County's Homeless Camp Management.
A "chronic nuisance" generally applies to unsavory behavior or potential criminal activity that impacts the livability of your community. We have included some common examples below. If you notice any of these nuisance behaviors in your area, or ANY kind of suspicious activity, please report it by calling non-emergency dispatch: 503-629-0111. Even if you are unsure whether you should report something, call anyways. No call is too small!
- Disorderly conduct
- Discharge of a firearm
- Noise disturbance
- Minor in possession of alcohol
- Public indecency
- Criminal mischief or graffiti
- Prostitution or related offenses
- Illegal gambling
- Alcoholic liquor violations
- Drug offenses
- Endangering the welfare of a minor
- Theft or ID theft
- Animal abuse, neglect or abandonment
- Creating a hazard (such as an open well/cistern/hole)
- Assault, menacing or recklessly endangering
- Domestic violence
- Reckless driving, DUII or possession of a stolen vehicle