Lents mom finds syringe, needle in front yard

Park rangers check parks for needles every day

A Lents mother found a used syringe and needle in her front yard on November 20, 2017. (Courtesy of Jillian Mayfield)
A Lents mother found a used syringe and needle in her front yard on November 20, 2017. (Courtesy of Jillian Mayfield)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — A Southeast Portland mother is demanding solutions to the drug problem in Portland after her 3-year-old found a used syringe and needle in her front yard.

Finding needles in city parks is a continuing issue in the Portland area and parents who bring their kids to Lents Park in SE Portland say they always check the area before letting their kids play.

“Every time I come up here, I walk around first to look for needles,” Lents resident Robert Schultz said. “That’s kind of the realities I live with being a resident near this park.”

Jillian Mayfield has lived in Lents for 5 years and hears about drug use, homelessness and needles left at parks, but she never thought she would need to worry about checking for that danger just outside her front door.

“My 3-year-old found it first. He was poking at it with a stick and then I noticed what it was,” Mayfield told KOIN 6 News. “I was so angry. So angry. I couldn’t believe I found this in our yard.”

After safely dispose of the syringe, Mayfield decided to turn her anger into action. She contacted police and city officials but didn’t hear back, so she wrote her story on the watchdog website Nextdoor, getting dozens of responses from neighbors.

Multnomah County syringe disposal information

Park rangers say they don’t keep track of how many needles and syringes they find, but during daily maintenance visits, the first thing they do is assess safety issues like needles and remove them.

If you find a needle in a city park, you can call the Park Ranger hotline at 503.823.1637. If you want to remove it yourself, use gloves and tongs or pliers to pick it up, put it in a hard plastic container (milk jug, soda bottle etc.) with a top. It’s illegal in Oregon to throw them in the trash, but you can take them to a nearby fire station.