MILWAUKIE, Ore. – Eula Decker was concerned when she heard a home in her neighborhood would be a halfway house for people with drug problems and prison records, especially with Rex Putnam High School nearby.
“So many alcoholics that I have come in contact with are not very good to kids, let’s put it that way,” she said. “I don’t want them in my neighborhood.”
But according to the 1988 Federal Fair Housing Act, a person can’t discriminate against potential renters or homeowners because of substance abuse problems. Clackamas County says nothing can overrule that on the county level.
Little Buffalo Furlong works for Iron Tribe, the recovery network taking in ex-convicts. He says he understands how the neighbors feel.
“We help them out so they can go to school again and so they can get good jobs and get their kids,” said Furlong.
Furlong said neighbors used to feel that way about his other transitional house.
“My neighbors love me. They love the people in my house. They interact with them and it’s turned into a really good thing,” he said.
Both Milwaukie police and the Clackamas County Sheriff’s Office said they don’t get called to halfway houses any more than they get called to apartment complexes.
Decker said hearing about Iron Tribe’s clean, safe, substance-free houses gave her peace of mind.
“I appreciate the information,” she said. “I knew that if I contacted KATU I could get results.”
We heard about this story from a KATU news tip. You can send a news tip by emailing us at firstname.lastname@example.org.