The drug house program's primary goal is to identify and eliminate chronic nuisance drug house locations in the City of Portland by utilizing the Chronic Nuisance Abatement Ordinance, and collaboration with neighbors and other City Bureaus and agencies. The Drug House Coordinator seeks civil and/or criminal remedies to abate the nuisance. Information is gathered from citizen complaints and police reports to identify problem locations within the city. If a specific address receives multiple complaints, and the drug house officer verifies the complaints, then a warning letter is sent to both the occupant and property owner.
The letters notify both the property owner and the occupant that allegations have been made regarding illegal drug activity at the address. If the allegations are proven to be true, then an agreement is entered between the Police Bureau and the person responsible for the property, outlining a plan of action for the property. The Chronic Nuisance Abatement Ordinance calls for civil penalties, including closure for up to a year and fines up to $100 for each day the nuisance activities occurred on the property or the costs to the city for abating the nuisance. The enforcement process begins with a letter, which instructs the property owner to contact the drug house coordinator. The City Attorney's office then begins negotiations with the goal of settling the case without having to close the property.
The Drugs and Vice Division uses a progressive enforcement approach to deal with the drug house problem. The goal is to abate the problem as early as possible. The drug house coordinator strives to work with the property owner to correct the problems. The officer responds to calls and answers questions of property owners and tenants. The Division also provides complaint information to property owners about their rental property. The Police Bureau also coordinates its efforts with other Bureaus and private companies. Most property owners willingly accept the information and work in partnership with the Police Bureau to reduce the number of problem tenants. In a few instances when those efforts are unsuccessful, a lawsuit is filed seeking to force compliance with the Chronic Nuisance Abatement Ordinance.