EDITOR’S NOTE: In addition to felonies, wrecks and medical emergencies, there were enough curmudgeonly neighbors, out-of-control animals, wayward youths, unexplainable occurrences and unhinged encounters to keep Pacific County’s stalwart emergency dispatchers and responders busy 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.
From thousands of entries, we’ve culled a selection of calls that provide a glimpse of what life was really like in Pacific County during 2018. These reports represent a raw “first draft” of local news and in some cases, proved to be serious incidents. Inclusion in this annual summary isn’t intended to discourage legitimate reports to 911 or to make light of any situations in which callers were genuinely concerned.
All creatures great ... and not so great
Even the most diehard country folks have their limits — dispatchers handled dozens of calls about pooping pooches, goats with indiscriminate palates, wayward livestock and other challenges of living with furred and feathered friends.
- A Raymond man’s cow got stuck in a muddy river. The man had been trying to pull it out for a couple of hours.
- Two dogs chased a porcupine and were rewarded with faces full of needles.
- In South Bend, people allegedly set off “bombs” to get rid of geese.
- Two horses were found trotting around Ocean Park, and about 25 goats showed up in a Menlo field. The caller said they were headed for the highway.
- In Willapa, a small “vicious” dog got caught in a raccoon trap.
- A Long Beach resident reported suspicious subjects on the porch, but acknowledged they were probably raccoons.
- An Ocean Park apartment was reportedly “covered in reptiles.” The caller tried to put them outside, but they wouldn’t go.
- A coyote was seen “hanging out” in Long Beach. A mountain lion in Bay Center sat by a “red 90s car” with her babies.
- A rooster bit a 71-year-old Menlo man, a bearded dragon got locked in a Long Beach shop, and four large cows sauntered through Seaview.
- A Nahcotta woman asked dispatchers if she could shoot her neighbor’s dog. It was friendly, she said, but approached the fence to see her dog, who was not friendly.
- In the fall, citizens reported hungry bears, an injured owl and two escaped miniature pigs who were running in and out of traffic. A man said he hit a deer, but didn’t kill it. He asked for an officer because he didn’t want to “waste his rounds” putting it down.
Adults behaving badly
In theory, adults set aside childish pastimes and grudges. In reality, dispatchers and police spend a tremendous amount of time dealing with grownups who might feel right at home in kindergarten.
- One man in Long Beach reportedly damaged a car, then sat there “playing with balls.” Another allegedly dropped his pants one morning while standing on a street corner.
- A guest at a Long Beach hotel refused to leave a handicapped spot, despite not being handicapped.
- A fight inside the cab of a truck took a strange turn when one man jumped out and pulled down his pants, thereby exposing his naughty bits.
- In Chinook, a resident complained that the neighbors were “revving their truck engines” and “burning a couch, with flames three-feet tall.”
- A disorderly customer In Ocean Park threw carts and watermelons when he was told he couldn’t come into the store.
- Staff at an Ilwaco dining establishment asked for help when a patron began throwing cups and yelling about murdering people.
- Two people allegedly posed as county employees while visiting Oysterville.
- In July, a caller reported some Long Beach revelers for flinging fireworks into the air with a slingshot.
- A Raymond resident called 911 after a person in a parking lot honked a car horn continuously for 15 minutes.
- A couple in Grayland allegedly picked up traffic cones being used by a litter crew and took off with them.
- In Ocean Park, a citizen said they were having trouble with “druggies who were peeing and pooping” outside of a home.
- In December, a man called to say his wife was “being obnoxious.” A female caller said her husband was being a “dick head.” When asked if she needed help, she said no.
Things that go bump in the night
The simplest explanation is usually the best explanation. In other words, if an animal has hooves, a mane and a tail, it’s probably a horse, not a zebra. But some 911 callers are convinced that “zebras” abound in Pacific County.
- In Menlo, someone stole a caller’s mail, stuffed a dead goose in their mailbox and scattered the mail all over the road.
- In Long Beach, a caller said someone was either firing a gun, or banging on tin.
- An Ilwaco resident called police after finding a small, tied-up small plastic bag in their garden.
- In March, a black garbage bag that appeared to contain potatoes mysteriously showed up on the Discovery Trail.
- An Ocean Park resident called 911 after seeing a vehicle parked on private property. They said the windows were all fogged up.
- Another person in Ocean Park said “the Dark Web” stole their money.
- Two callers in Surfside said they thought they’d found a human foot on the beach. One said they took pictures of the foot then bagged it and brought it home.
- Dispatchers fielded a report of potentially suspicious activity in Ilwaco, after someone found a “a bunch” of brand-new greeting cards in a garbage can. Also in Surfside, a woman said she took a nap and when she woke up, all of her clothing was gone.
- Someone in Long Beach described a suspicious suitcase left near the road. It wasn’t making any noises or leaking anything, but it did have “Greenpeace” written on it.
- A man in Ocean Park requested a plain clothed officer to test his food because he believed there was plastic in it.
- A concerned woman reported a “big mask with a flashlight under the chin.” She then realized she might be looking at a reflection of her nightlight.
Is that illegal?
Some callers are very serious about making sure strangers toe the line.
- In January, a Grayland resident told a dispatcher someone was driving an old, dingy and “real loud” motorhome up and down a street at a slow speed.
- In Long Beach, a caller reported a man who was digging in Culbertson Park. Another man was reported for cutting down trees with a chainsaw.
- In Seaview, a caller asked if it is illegal to “start a gasoline fire in the road.”
- A man and woman were reported for setting up traffic cones in a Long Beach parking lot.
- One Long Beach caller complained of people who were playing music loudly — at 3:38 p.m. Another reported finding a bicycle and a five-gallon bucket of balls.
- In Grayland, “tweakers” were about 200 feet up “in a tall, tall tree,” and “the whole tree was swaying back and forth.”
- Dispatchers also fielded a report of “people smoking marijuana” and a man rapping in a vulgar manner in Long Beach.
- In December, a Long Beach business called 911 when a homeless man asked for a cab to take him to Astoria.
Those rascally kids
Every parent knows that while their own kids are obviously cute, other people’s kids can be pretty insufferable.
- A Long Beach boy head-butted his mother.
- Three Ilwaco students were caught sneaking alcohol into prom, and none of them would say whom the booze belonged to. Also in Ilwaco, a homeowner called 911 about a teen boy who repeatedly trespassed on his property.
- Three cars of boys were seen throwing rocks at seagulls in Long Beach. When the caller asked why they would do that, the boys allegedly said, “Because it’s fun.”
- A Long Beach caller reported that about a dozen children were sitting on a statue.
- Near Raymond, neighborhood kids filled a yard with fireworks wrappers.
- A Chinook resident said three or four kids, none older than 15, were “running around inside the Chinook tunnel.”
- In Long Beach, someone reported four or five youths for climbing on a whale sculpture. The caller said the kids had kicked down the “keep off” sign.
- A student who wanted to play hooky pretended to be his mother and called the school to excuse the absence. When suspicious school staff called back and asked the boy where his mother was, he told them she was passed out and he couldn’t wake her up. Staff then called 911 and requested a welfare check. The unwitting mother was presumably angry, but otherwise just fine.
- A parent told dispatchers “someone stole his son’s meth,” and the son has meth at school.
If you have lemons, you make lemonade. If you want to scare someone but only have a few random household objects, you make do.
- Smith Creek and Raymond residents called 911 after seeing machete-wielding men walking around.
- In Long Beach, a caller was concerned about a man who was armed with tomahawks.
- A Long Beach woman reported finding an arrow sticking out of the ground. She suspected it came from her neighbor’s yard.
- In August, a Bay Center resident called to say they found a homemade gun in the middle of an intersection.
- One Long Beach caller reported a man who had been running around with a stick since 4 a.m. Another reported a man who was “throwing knifes at power poles.”
- In November, a homeowner allegedly woke to find a woman “pounding on the fireplace with a hatchet and hammer.” The caller said the woman “threw a pan through a window” and left.
A case for the fashion police
Sometimes, one man’s trash is another man’s eye-catching ensemble. These peoples’ fashion statements led their fellow humans to make statements to dispatchers.
- A Nemah caller complained that a “strange” looking man on crutches was walking around. Later, his crutches were found on the side of the road.
- A man “wearing a funny-looking hat” was seen riding a “bike with a plastic bucket attached to the back.” The caller suspected him of trying to steal more bikes.
- In Long Beach, a suspicious male with a tall hat was alleged to be drinking and flipping people off. Another man was reported for going through a trashcan “looking for a shirt.”
- A Long Beach caller alerted dispatchers to a situation involving an older woman in “MC Hammer pants.”
- In Ocean Park, an alleged trespasser with a tattooed face was described as wearing a “greasy fishing hat.”
- A Long Beach caller expressed concern about a woman with a red shirt wrapped around her head and a pair of broken handcuffs on one wrist.
- In August, a person wearing a red cape went into a building in Long Beach and closed the door.
- An Ocean Park caller reported a “man of meth” who was seen wearing droopy pants and carrying a silver coffee pot toward the bay.
Almost every new driver has a few close calls caused by a heady combination of inexperience and unjustified confidence. For some people, the close-call phase never ends.
- One Smith Creek caller told dispatchers, “Grandpa crashed the U-Haul in the ditch.” Another said they lost bales of hay in the road.
- In February, passengers reported a problem with slippery roads in Naselle. They said the unfortunate driver was still in the vehicle because if he took his foot off the brake, the vehicle would slide down a hill.
- One caller complained about the noise caused by half a dozen quads and dirt bikes on a back road.
- In Naselle, a citizen asked police to deal with “guys” who were spinning their tires in the road and filling the air with smoke.
- A Surfside resident reported the theft of a large glass float, saying the thief’s vehicle had a “razzmatazz” muffler.
- In October, a man said his vehicle slid off the road and was “going down a bank.” He said he had it chained up to keep it from going completely over.