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Once again, people upset me.

Discussion in 'Off Topic [BG]' started by Brendan, May 23, 2004.

  1. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX

    " PORTLAND, ORE. - A man and his 12-year-old daughter spent the last four years living in a remote hillside in Portland's Forest Park, police said.

    The pair was discovered in a dense, wooded area by an Australian cross-country runner and his wife.

    They reported seeing an older man with white bushy hair and a beard, and a young girl at what appeared to be a "well-established transient camp." They called police on April 28.

    That afternoon, North Precinct Sgt. Michael Barkley sent four officers on all-terrain vehicles to find the pair but they didn't find them.

    "We had very little to go on, " Barkley said. "There's no way you could not do everything you could because it was a report of a child living up there."

    The next morning, the runner escorted police to the site.

    After an hour-and-a-half hike, police found an elaborate camp dug into a steep hillside.

    Under a tarp-covered, wood-framed shelter, they found sleeping bags, a partially burnt log, a Bible, a stack of old World Book Encyclopedias, rakes and other tools.

    A rope swing, a tilled vegetable garden and a small creek were nearby.

    A police dog found the pair huddling behind a tree about 50 yards from the camp.

    The man and girl told police they had lived in the park for four years. The pair appeared clean, well-fed and healthy, Barkley said, and the girl was well-spoken beyond her years.

    The man, who identified himself as Frank, told police he was a 53-year-old Marine Corps veteran and college graduate who served in Vietnam.

    He came to Oregon with his daughter, Ruth, from Tacoma with no job and virtually no money. Frank told police that the girl's mother was institutionalized in New Hampshire, and the two now lived on a $400-a-month disability check.

    Rather than live on the streets and expose Ruth to alcohol and drugs, Frank said, they hiked deep into Forest Park and built a lean-to.

    The pair went into the city twice a week to stop by the bank, attend church, buy groceries and clothes from Goodwill. Frank, a devout Christian, said he taught his daughter using the old encyclopedias.

    They grew vegetables and used the nearby creek to keep clean. They stored perishable foods in a small pool of water at the creek's edge.

    The man and girl told police that the runner was the first person to find their camp in four years.

    Their biggest worry was being split up, Barkley said.

    "Please, don't take me from my daddy," the girl told the 26-year police veteran as they sat on a log talking for at least 30 minutes.

    Barkley, who has a 6-year-old daughter, said he was struck by the relationship between father and daughter.

    "What was so clear was that their living conditions were unacceptable, but their relationship was a real deep love and caring for each other," Barkley said.

    Officer Joe Campbell, who helped find the pair, said separating the pair would have broken their hearts. "Their whole lives seemed to revolve around each other," said Campbell.

    A pediatrician found the girl free of any illness, any signs of physical or sexual abuse - and no cavities. A criminal background check came up empty, according to police reports.

    Even though the child and father lived for such a long time disconnected from society, the girl had been home schooled and was in good physical shape.

    In fact, the girl received a very good education from her father while living among the trees. Officials said the girl, who would be normally in 7th grade, is at a 12th grade equivalency.

    "When we interviewed this little girl, she was very impressive. She really was very responsible, and she really looked as though she was way advanced in her years," said Portland Police Cmdr. Scott Anderson said.

    KATU Television has been given permission from 'The Forest Family's' father to set up a college fund for 12-year-old 'Ruthie.'

    To make donations for the girl, who for the last four years have lived in the forest and was educated by her father, to 'Ruthie's College Fund’ at any Bank Of America Branch.

    Police say the father was ecstatic when KATU offered to set up a college fund for his daughter.

    The father has done a wonderful job of educating the girl, says police. She reportedly performs at a 12th grade level.

    Police persuaded them to leave the camp, promising help them find food and shelter.

    The pair spent two nights at a homeless shelter. Barkley found the man a job and a place for the two to live on a friend's horse farm in Yamhill County.

    Now, Barkley said, the pair are living in a mobile home and adjusting to life with heat, electricity and running water.

    The man mows lawns and is learning to drive a tractor, and the pair ride bicycles to a nearby church on Sundays.

    "The amazing part of this was the fact that Sergeant Barkley really evaluated what was best for these people," North Precinct Cmdr. Scott Anderson said. "Sometimes police would be a little quicker to hand things off to state workers. But instead ... he saw this through to the end."
  2. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    That said... precisely WHY did they decide to take them away and put them in a "better home?" She's far on in here schooling, responsible, and there were no signs of abuse, one way or the other.

    So, because they don't have a traditional home, they need a "modern" one? The girl has a better chance of screwing up up, having the bad crowd messing her up, and getting into general problems in a trailer park than in the woods.

    People. :scowl:
  3. Why don't you adopt both of them Brendan? :rollno:

    People. :rollno: :rollno: :rollno: :rollno:
  4. Brendan


    Jun 18, 2000
    Austin, TX
    Too po', and not really what you would call a God-fearin' man.
  5. MJ5150

    MJ5150 Terrific Twister

    Apr 12, 2001
    Olympia, WA
    I heard that story up here on the Seattle news, and I thought the exact same thing. They weren't suffering, no harm done to either. Leave them alone.

  6. old_skool


    Aug 17, 2000
    Milwaukee, WI
    While I agree with what you guys are saying we have to consider what THEY actually wanted. It didnt really sound like it was this guys plan to live this life style. It sounded like that was the best he thought he could do and now that the chance for him to do what he feels is better has comes along he will do what he can with said chance.

    I give the guy a huge amount of credit and respect. A lot of people could learn a lesson from this kinda thing.
  7. Mike Money

    Mike Money Banned

    Mar 18, 2003
    Bakersfield California
    Avatar Speakers Endorsing Hooligan
    wait wait wait

    Are you saying that people can learn things by themselves without the state making them do it a certain way?

  8. nonsqtr

    nonsqtr The emperor has no clothes!

    Aug 29, 2003
    Burbank CA USA
    I did. Never went to class in college either. Still graduated with honors. Then went out into the world and got a "real" education.

    Which is kinda my thinking about this story. Wouldn't you think it would be kinda important to expose a child to real people in the real world? I mean, "education" is fine as far as it goes, but one really does need the people skills to get along, doesn't one?

    I think the key quote in the story is "police persuaded them to leave the camp". I don't think they could have forced them to leave against their will (except perhaps by arresting them on some trumped up charge, like vagrancy). They might have gotten them into court if they could have shown child endangerment, but really, isn't it a whole lot more dangerous living in a big city these days?