Here’s what happened to me this weekend at the park…I’ve posted it on Bookface and e-mailed out to the world…
I’m sharing…I only disclosed my PTSD diagnosis, one stigma is enough for now…I have an anxiety disorder and if I told them I’m Bipolar as well…then they will probably definitely really take for a loon….(insert Sarcastic smile and laugh)….
I am brown skinned with brown eyes, speak multiple languages, a man of color who is proud of his heritage. I am liberal, spiritual non-religious type, first generation American (proud “damm proud wet back product”. I don’t fit the normal mold, yet never really gave a fuck. Now, I’ve come to the point to air it all out. The only things that I have going for me is that I am a proud hetero-sexual veteran….WTF!!!!
To Whom It May Concern:
As a concerned citizen who resides in Multnomah County. I live within a short walking distance to Irving Park, located on NE 7th Ave & Fremont St in Portland, OR. I wanted to share a rather disturbing experience and encounter with one of your Park Rangers, Sam Sachs (ID # 17141).
On Sunday April 14, 2014 at approximately 3:20 or around within 15-20 minutes from there, I was singled out by Park Ranger, Sam Sachs (ID # 17141) at Irving Park Portland, Oregon in Multnomah County. My self and my dog (Myles Davis-Black Lab Mix 7 yrs of age) spending time in the dog park area (which we do several times a day), myself and my dog (Myles Davis-Black Lab Mix 7 yrs of age) walked on the walking path towards the area where the softball/baseball fields are located. There is water fountain located on that pathway and like any other time, Myles and Me approached for a drink of water. The approximate time the temperature was 68 degrees Fahrenheit sunny and no visible clouds in sight. It was clearly hot for myself, my dog and others around me, so much in fact, that the people using the softball/baseball field had a cooler of beers and where drinking visible to myself and others.
As Myles and me where at the water fountain, we both used it. He is very well trained PTSD emotional support animal trained to perform multiple tasks for myself. I will also inform you that he is smart enough and capable enough of drinking water out of multiple fountains throughout the Multnomah County area. He does this without putting his lips or paws on the faucet. This has drawn the attention and amazement of many people and this Sunday was no exception. Multiple people around us audibly praised his everyday actions as “awesome”, “that’s so cool”, “check it out, I wish my dog could do that”, etc.
This is when Park Ranger, Sam Sachs (ID # 17141) singled me and my dog out in a crowd and let me know that pet’s are not allowed to drink from the fountain. I notified him that my dog has done this in front of multiple enforcement agencies here in Portland (i.e. Portland Police, City Officials, and other Park Rangers). To which he responded that he didn’t care and it was against Portland City Ordinances. I couldn’t quite understand my dog and me were singled out for drinking water, while there is a group of 30+ people drinking alcohol in plain site, using no regard and drinking from the actual containers. I would think that maybe using some plastic cups would be appropriate for a Park Ranger to completely ignore. I didn’t want to get publicly upset or visibly irritated by his actions, demeanor, and patronizing way of informing me of my possible Portland City Ordnances violations. I then asked him for his card, number of ordinances violated (provided where 201.12.140 and 14A.50.120) and the name of his supervisor (provided Hasan Artharee at 503 823-1676). My understanding from what Ranger Sachs had notified by stating Portland City Ordinances 201.12.140 and 14A.50.120 was that no pets (dogs) were allowed to use city park fountains. I asked him multiple times if these ordinances specifically stated that no animals are allowed to use the water fountains or if it was his own personal interpretation of these ordinances. He responded that these specific ordinances specifically forbade pets from using public water fountains. It’s a hot day, my dog was panting and we both needed a drink of water. Maybe, we would have been better off asking for a beer from the cooler near us to avoid Ranger Sachs singling us out and direct targeting. He walked away past the softball field towards his truck.
On the way back home after deciding to end our walk, we met up with Ranger Sachs in his truck next to the public restrooms next to the dog park. I asked him if my dog could then use the fountain closest to the dog park near us. I also asked if there was a difference between fountains. He then pulled out his I-phone and advised me that he was going to record me on video, for which I was thankful. I let him know that this particular fountain has a smaller station next to and sought clarification as whether that one for pets or for the small children playing in the playground next to it. We walked on home and meet up with Ranger Sachs as he drove near were Myles and me were walking. I couldn’t understand why he had to drive all the way towards where we were walking. He had passed up other possible exits out of the park, I believe that maybe he really liked that particular one next to us. If seen in a different light, it could also be interpreted as an attempt to intimidate me or cause me to react in a potentially combative or aggressive manner. I believe since he can interpret city ordnances to his benefit, as a veteran/citizen/voter I could also interpret him driving towards our direction as possible threat. Luckily, my dog recognizes my symptoms, conditions, and signs of anxiety related with my PTSD (Service Connected/Current in treatment at the Portland VA) and tugged me away and directed me towards home.
Instead of enjoying a great sunny day Sunday, I almost lost my cool after being singled out by one of your Park Rangers. By being singled out in public, spending over 20 minutes for Ranger Sachs to dig up the ordnances, and battling my inner sense an overwhelming sense of almost losing it. I am thankful a have my pet, Myles Davis, who understands me and will do just about anything to keep me calm. I don’t see why he can’t use a public drinking fountain, when squirrels, birds, and other animals do it. I also can’t understand that while he is being acknowledged and praised in public by others enjoying a sunny Sunday in Portland, Ranger Sachs decided to ignore what could easily be viewed as public intoxication in a Portland City Park and teach me a civic lesson in the use and consumption of public water from a public drinking fountain.
If your Park Ranger is correct, I would like for the City of Portland, Parks and Recreations Departments to put up visible signage in multiple languages which could inform the general public to its City Ordnances. Public spaces such as parks bring a large number of people together from all different walks of life, social-economic, ethnic and opinions as you well know. All I ask for clarification to your ordnances for the general public, so that they are clearly defined and not subject to individual interpretation, especially by a public servant/employee such as a Park Ranger.
I’ve taken the following ordinances given to me by Ranger Sachs from your public website. After reading the ordinances provided by Ranger Sachs over and over, I find it quite difficult to agree with Ranger Sachs interpretation, but will give him the benefit of the honesty to his own intentions for particularly attempting to enforce the ordinances which her provided and listed as the reasoning for him singling me out. I do this as concerned and very irritated citizen/veteran and member of the community. I’ve shared some personal information by writing this letter, but feel that it was worth spending my time doing, instead of enjoying a beautiful sunny Sunday afternoon. I will be posting this letter in my social media pages, sending out to Ranger Sachs, his supervisor Hasan Arharee, public officials and media outlets who could help in the interpretation of these city ordinances. I love Portland, want to continue making it a great city to live in and further its reputation as a “pet friendly town”. I hope that I was not singled out due to appearance, ethnicity or any possible interpretation I could have perceived, because after reading the ordinances (over and over) provided by Ranger Sachs, I have no sense of clarity.
Juan Carlos Munoz
14A.50.120 Misuse of a Public Drinking Fountain.
A. It shall be unlawful to deposit material of any kind into a drinking fountain located on public property.
B. It shall be unlawful to obstruct the flow of water or tamper in any way with a drinking fountain located on public property or right of way, unless permission to do so is granted by the appropriate City bureau, official, or other authorized person.
(Amended by Ordinance No. 186008, effective May 31, 2013.)
A. No person shall injure, harm, disturb, or molest any wild or domestic animal in any Park.
B. No person owning, in control of or responsible for any dog shall allow that dog to be in any Park if the dog is not held securely on a leash no greater than eight feet in length, except in such Parks or portions of Parks as the Director may designate as off-leash areas, or during such times as the Director may establish as off-leash hours; provided, however, that a violation of any rule established by the Director governing any designated off-leash area or off-leash hours shall be a violation of this Section. Nothing in this Section shall limit the authority of the Director to terminate, alter or amend the designation of any off-leash area or off-leash hours.
C. No person owning, in control of or responsible for any horse or other animal capable of being ridden by a person shall allow that animal to be in any Park, except in such Parks or portions of Parks as the Director may designate for use by such animals.
D. No person shall hitch any animal to any tree, shrub, fence, railing, or other structure or facility in any Park, except to such structures or facilities as are designated for that purpose.
E. No person shall bring or keep any animal in any Park if the animal is not within the person’s immediate reach and control.
F. No person owning, in control of or responsible for any animal shall allow that animal to enter or remain upon any of the following in any park:
1. Any lake, fountain, pond or stream.
2. Any tennis court, basketball court, running track or other artificial sports surface or manicured turf sports field.
3. Any sports facility enclosed by a fence or wall.
4. Any area where such animals are prohibited by the Director.
G. No person shall allow any animal in that person’s ownership, possession, custody or control to injure any other person or animal or damage any property in any Park. Any person so allowing any animal to cause any such injury or damage shall be liable for the full amount of the injury or damage and for the costs of impounding the animal.
H. No person shall allow any animal in the person’s possession, custody or control to discharge any fecal material in any Park unless the person promptly removes and disposes of the fecal material in an appropriate receptacle. No person shall allow any animal in the person’s possession, custody or control to enter or remain in any Park unless the person has in the person’s possession the equipment necessary to remove and properly dispose of any fecal material deposited by the animal in the Park.
I. No person owning, in control of or responsible for any animal shall allow that animal to be in any Park if the animal is not in compliance with applicable Multnomah County Animal Control regulations; provided, however, that dogs otherwise complying with those regulations may be off leash in designated off-leash areas or during designated off-leash hours.
J. Any animal in any Park in violation of any provision of this Section may be impounded, at the expense of the animal’s owner, on the order of any Park Officer or of any Animal Control officer.
K. The prohibitions of this Section do not apply to service animals while performing their qualifying services, nor to animals while in the course of the official performance of police or rescue activities.
L. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Code, any person violating Subsections 20.12.120 B.,E.,F. or H.is subject only to a civil penalty not to exceed $150 for each violation. Any person assessed a civil penalty under this Subsection may appeal the citation to the Code Hearings Officer in accordance with the provisions of Title 22 of this Code.