Editor’s note: Gazette-Times reporter James Day spent the later part of the evening of Oct. 28 and the early morning hours of Oct. 29 observing in the fraternity area north of the Oregon State University campus. This is the sixth consecutive fall he has taken such a trip. Here is his report.
The walkabout begins at 11:30 p.m. at Chintimini Park on Northwest Tyler Avenue. It is 50 degrees and clear with a half moon in the sky. Many people are in costumes. The OSU football team was off Saturday, having played Thursday night against Stanford.
Man walking by with pal: "We’re almost there. It’s a f***ing long walk."
An OSU SafeRide van is spotted on 26th outside a fraternity.
Two officers on bicycles are seen outside the fraternity where there is a large crowd. The officers are dealing with a couple of men dressed in baseball uniforms. They move around the corner. I observe two officers interviewing one of the baseball uniform guys, who is sitting on a step. They ask him his date of birth. The exchange is handled in very moderate tones, very professional.
Loud yelling at front of frat: "Hey, what’s up, boys? Get off my f***ing lawn.”
Another SafeRide van goes by.
A car door opens, multiple people get out of the back seat, beer smell, slurred speech.
Police SUV spotted at 25th and Harrison.
Police SUV heads down Jackson.
Woman (slurring speech): "I don’t want to be with these people."
Another SafeRide van goes by (could it be the same one)?
An ambulance pulls up to 26th at Monroe going the wrong way. Siren blaring. it heads up Arnold Way.
I walk by a massive frat that got busted once because 80 people were on the roof. I pass two other frats that I have written about for similar conduct issues. I note that the only time I have stopped and knocked was when they were in trouble.
Man: "I survived. I survived. I’m proud of you. Now what else do you want from me?"
Man on front lawn appears to be talking to himself at 26th and Van Buren.
Some of the Greek houses are completely quiet. No lights.
I see two sets of police lights ahead at 25th and Harrison. When I arrive there I see two Corvallis Police Department officers on bikes and one Oregon State Patrol vehicle. Their lights are now off. Officers leave. Do not see any incident or anyone being arrested.
I pass an alcohol-free party. They have tables with treats at the sidewalk and a large outdoor fireplace. A group of people walks by.
Server: "Do you want some hot chocolate? No? As you were."
In the back they are playing cornhole in the dark.
Loud shouts heard. Large pickup burns rubber as it peels north on 27th. Nasty smell.
Seems to be less trash than previous years. Plastic cups and domestic beer cans dominate.
Two more bike officers pass. CPD SUV pulls out of unit on Taylor.
Far fewer sirens this year. One year on Halloween all I seemed to do was walk toward flashing lights and sirens.
A fourth sighting of a SafeRide van. A fifth sighting.
Hooting is heard. I spy a knocked-over trash cart on Harrison.
I pass by the busy frat house again. A dozen or so people are milling about the entryway and sidewalk.
Man to reporter: "Are you undercover?"
Reporter (wearing blue jeans, green parka and a Salem-Keizer Volcanoes ball cap): "No."
Another SafeRide van.
Two bike cops are interviewing a man. A 12-pack sits beside him. Obviously an alcohol violation of some sort. Again, very quiet, subdued questioning approach. These guys are very well-trained.
Drunk group holding each other up. In unison: "We’re taking a left, taking a left, taking a left," repeat, repeat.
Greek house is sponsoring a haunted house. Temporary fencing surrounds the lot. Clearly, an entry fee is charged. I hear screaming from the area at the back where folks emerge after the tour. Seems like a good idea.
Benton County Health Department building on 27th is lit up. A room full of chairs is seen. What if they had been open? Was an opportunity missed?
12:45 a.m. … back in the car. On way out of town I spot a CFD unit, no siren. And a CPD unit making a stop on Fifth.
The line for the drive-through lane at the McDonald’s at Third and Van Buren is backed up more than 10 cars deep and is blocking traffic on Third and Van Buren. That's Saturday night in Corvallis.