WESTON - Rod Caine says he's fed up with what he describes as blatant drug activity in his town, right near his property and his children.
He said that after local law enforcement repeatedly failed to act on his information and complaints, he decided to take matters into his own hands.
Less than two weeks ago, Caine posted a sign across the street from a house on Main Street that he says has been a hotbed for illegal drug activity since the current tenants moved in.
Caine said he actually has observed methamphetamine drug use and a high amount of visitors coming and going from the house, including a stream of foot traffic next to his property.
Each sign, which reads "We want Weston drug free so we are watching you," aims directly at the front porch of the house. They have been torn down and replaced about six times already, sometimes amid shouting between Caine and house residents and visitors.
One neighbor witnessed one such encounter from her home on Thursday. People had come out of the house, some to the driveway with others on the porch. There was loud shouting that lasted for a few minutes, and one woman allegedly flashed herself as the encounter ended.
Residents of the house said Caine was egging certain people on for a fight. Caine, on the other hand, compared it to walking into a hornets' nest, saying he was threatened and nearly surrounded.
Multiple townsfolk have said they admire that a citizen is taking action against a community problem. A major question, however, is whether or not Caine is pointing in the right direction.
The house being watched actually is a parsonage belonging to the adjacent Methodist church, in close proximity to Athena-Weston Middle School.
Vicky Jackson, treasurer of the church, said she has been inside the house while the current tenants have lived there and found it to be cleaner than before. She said people might have misconceptions about the tenants, who are very poor and probably threatened by the accusations of drug activity.
"Do I think it's coming from the parsonage? No," she said.
Living at the house is 84-year-old Geneva Sams, who receives special care because of health issues, and her son Leland John. They say they have many friends but their house is clean and they are tired of being harassed.
"This is just what they imagine is going on," said John. "They're rich and we're poor."
Sams said Caine's wife used to be her in-home services case manager through the Department of Human Services office in Milton-Freewater. She and John said Caine might be retaliating on behalf of his wife, whom they said they fired.
Caine said he was unaware of that working relationship, but after he called his wife he did confirm that his wife had once been Sams's case manager, until the case was transferred to the Pendleton office.
"It's definitely not a personality conflict between me and the people across the street," said Caine. "This is definitely a drug thing. And that's what it's been from the get-go."
A retired correctional officer, Caine said he was exposed to things like the smell of meth in training classes and knows what he is talking about.
Caine said he was particularly set off when his son walked home with a pipe containing leftover marijuana, picked up in their own driveway. Caine said he brought the object to the local police officer.
He also cited a time that he was walking out of the post office with his son where they walked past a car in which people from the parsonage were smoking meth in broad daylight. Caine said he angrily confronted the people in the car and walked down to report them to the law enforcement office just down the block. He said the officer asked a few questions but did nothing.
"All he had to do is stand up, look outside and take a picture," said Caine. "Everybody else has the information, but he doesn't."
When asked if he had received complaints about drug activity in Weston, police officer David Ross said he had not. He said he was aware, however, of Caine posting the signs.
"As far as I know, he's fine with putting it up," Ross said.
He did reportedly visit the parsonage after the Thursday confrontation, however, subsequent follow-up attempts to contact the officer were unanswered by press time.
Caine said he has gone around to his neighbors hoping to rally support in his cause. He plans to bring the matter before the City Council during their next meeting on Aug. 8.
"There's actually been a drug problem in Weston a long time," said Councilwoman Dori Frison. "I think we could look into it as a group. I know I've got concerns about it."
Judy Davis said she came to Weston three years ago from California, hoping to get away from drug crime. When asked to describe how she knows about the problem, she answered, "You just know it."
She said she has found the butts of marijuana joints and a used syringe while playing with her kids in the park.
"I admire what (Caine's) doing but I don't have the guts to do it," said Davis, explaining that people fear retaliation from drug users. "This is a nice little town. It just needs to be cleaned up."