PORTLAND, Ore. - The Multnomah County Sheriff's Special Investigations Unit (SIU) removed 114 marijuana plants from an obscure section of Forest Park Wednesday, weeks after they began investigating tips about a grow in the area.
Deputies say this bust is not as big as other outdoor grows they've found in rural areas, but it is still unusual anyone would attempt to run the operation in a recreational public park less than a quarter mile from the nearest house and in an urban area overlooking Portland.
KATU News was granted exclusive access as deputies pulled the plants, one by one.
"To me, it looks like they've grown here a couple times. Two years or more," said Sean Christian, a member of the SIU.
Authorities estimate each of the plants could produce a pound of marijuana worth up to $3,500, so the entire grow could have been worth approximately $300,000.
"This is probably something they check once or twice a week. It's close in and it's easy money if they get away with it," Christian said.
It is fast money for the grower, but bad news for everyone else because the empty field's location is susceptible to erosion. In addition, there is a big mess in the area that includes garbage cans, plastic bags, and fertilizer.
"When it gets to wintertime and the rains really come, a lot of that is going to wash away into the drainage system and the river," Christian said.
Deputies are hauling the plants away, and are on the lookout for suspects.
The SIU says they find one to two grows in Forest Park every year.
It is such a wide area, they suspect there may be more hidden in the area.