North PDX

A Defense of (College) Culture

Going to school at the University of Portland and living in North Portland can offer many opportunities for a lot of people, but living here on the Bluff can be extremely irritating, especially for anyone who isn’t a student at the university. For instance, on Saturday April 11, 2015, University of Portland Students hosted the annual Beer Olympics at a house on Macrum and Yale.

Beer Olympics Competitors.

Beer Olympics Competitors.

The University of Portland is usually known for having parties that start early in the night and end just as soon. But the Beer Olympics started 3:30 in the afternoon and wasn’t scheduled to go late into the night, so as to avoid a noise complaint.

{Before any more detail is given about what happened at the Beer Olympics, here is a little background on the Beer Olympics. It is a student run event for people twenty-one years and older only. Students get together to create teams of six members and compete in a series of drinking games in order to accumulate points. As you probably guessed the team with the most accumulated points at the end, wins. Each team pays a fee of sixty dollars, which covers the cost of sixty 12oz beer cans for each team, porta-poty rentals and table rentals. This year there were approximately 48 teams and a total of about over two thousand dollars spent on the event.}


Todd Graham, a Beer Olympics competitor on team France

Todd Graham, a Beer Olympics competitor on team France

Despite the university students planning, the police still broke up the party at 5:41 p.m. Police responded to an “Unwanted Persons” complaint called in by one of the neighbors. The unwanted persons complaint was filed because police won’t respond to noise complaints before 10 p.m.

Screen shot of the police response report.

Screen shot of the police response report.

The complaint and police intervention might not have been completely unwarranted, due to the fact there was a mountain of beer, possible underage drinking and over a hundred intoxicated college kids. However, some of the actions taken by the neighbors in order to fend off university students from defacing their property may have been extreme.

Stephen Hildebrand, a University of Portland Junior recalls seeing a women wielding a pair of scissors follow his friend back into the Beer Olympics after he had just urinated in an empty lot near one of the neighbors house.

Members of Team Ireland

Members of Team Ireland

“This lady followed my friend back into the party and she didn’t even care. She found him pretty easily because of what he was wearing, then told him not to do it again or come back.” said Mr. Hildebrand.

Neighbors following students back into the party isn’t the worst thing to happen to university students caught with their pants down. Nichole Williamson, also a University of Portland Junior, says that she saw a man with a BB gun outside his house. Later it was discovered he was shooting at and threatening to shoot at any students who decided to relieve themselves on his property.

Screenshot of The University of Portland Public Safety Report.

Screenshot of The University of Portland Public Safety Report.

The treatment of extremely intoxicated college students should not be done with a soft touch, but neither should it be done with extreme overreaction. Just as students who no doubt thought it was a good idea to make bad, intoxicated decisions will later regret it, those who acted out hastily such as firing a BB gun at college students may regret it later.

Disregard all the underage drinking, public urination and many other acts of debauchery you’ve no doubt let creep into you mind while reading. What is the Beer Olympics?

It’s a social gathering.

It’s a chance for students of a small Catholic university with a not so prevalent ‘party scene’ to enjoy what they don’t have.

It’s a chance to live and let loose.

This past year, residence of the North Portland Community have been complaining that students from the university of Portland have been hurting the community. A phrase I’ve heard recently is “This used to be such a nice neighborhood.” Did it really used to be better? The one stereotypical thing I’ve heard about North Portland is that it wasn’t the nicest place to live.

Backyard where the Beer Olympics took place.

Backyard where the Beer Olympics took place.

Does the University being here and being involved in the community correlate to the upshift North Portland is Experiencing? It’s very possible. But one thing is for certain, with the University of Portland always expanding and admitting more students, there are going to be more events like the Beer Olympics and it would be best for students and residents of North Portland to agree about how to best coexist with one another.

Check ou the companion podcast to this article here.

Another article describing events at beer olympics can be found here.


3 replies »

  1. Incredibly thought-provoking piece, I really appreciate the angle you took on this story.

    Scissors and BB guns?! Holy crap.

    The wrap up is great too: stressing the need to ***coexist***

    Love the title. Thank you 🙂


  2. I agree that the responses of the neighbors were extreme, but come on… You really expect anyone to feel sorry for you because you couldn’t get drunk in the manner in which you would prefer? There is no inherent right for college students to get drunk wherever they want. Having said that, I do agree that a more practical approach should be taken by the University and neighbors in dealing with situations like this.


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