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Father And Daughter Had An Elaborate Camp
katu.com ^

Posted on 05/20/2004 6:08:07 PM PDT by chance33_98

Father And Daughter Had An Elaborate Camp

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 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."


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 electric 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."


TOPICS: News/Current Events; US: Oregon
KEYWORDS: cpswatch; education; fatherhood; forestfamily; homeschool; portland; terrificcop
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1 posted on 05/20/2004 6:08:07 PM PDT by chance33_98
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To: chance33_98

That's a nice story.


2 posted on 05/20/2004 6:12:05 PM PDT by texasflower (in the event of the rapture.......the Bush White House will be unmanned)
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To: chance33_98
"What was so clear was that their living conditions were unacceptable

My grandmother wouldn't have thought the conditions so unacceptable. As long as the children were clean and well educated.

/john

3 posted on 05/20/2004 6:12:31 PM PDT by JRandomFreeper (Soy el jefe de la cocina. No disguta conmigo.)
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To: chance33_98

What a great story.


4 posted on 05/20/2004 6:13:04 PM PDT by knarf (A place where anyone can learn anything ... especially that which promotes clear thinking.)
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To: chance33_98

Sounds like he was a good and honorable man doing very well with what he had.


5 posted on 05/20/2004 6:13:57 PM PDT by Blood of Tyrants (Even if the government took all your earnings, you wouldn't be, in its eyes, a slave.)
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To: knarf; mhking; LadyShallott
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.

For once, a little common sense.

6 posted on 05/20/2004 6:16:20 PM PDT by chance33_98 (Shall a living man complain? Oh how much fewer are my sufferings than my sins;)
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To: chance33_98

The family has riches most will never know.
Bless all those involved.


7 posted on 05/20/2004 6:18:08 PM PDT by mabelkitty
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To: chance33_98

Amazing what can be accomplished WITHOUT the socialist NEA and government SERVICES!!!


8 posted on 05/20/2004 6:18:12 PM PDT by Not a 60s Hippy
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To: JRandomFreeper
My husband's parents didn't have electricity or indoor plumbing until the mid-50's.

I am pleased to see that the police used common sense and helped the father and daughter, rather than calling in the social workers.

Nice story.

9 posted on 05/20/2004 6:19:00 PM PDT by Miss Marple
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To: chance33_98

Amazing that the press is reporting this in such a positive light. I'll bet they expected bad news from the pediatrician.
It kind of reminds me of Heidi and her Grandfather.


10 posted on 05/20/2004 6:22:41 PM PDT by ValerieUSA
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To: Not a 60s Hippy

Only to the credit of the particular man who found them did this have a happy ending....

Most other police would have automatically thrown the father into jail after having the "child protective" service wrench his daughter away with no concern.


11 posted on 05/20/2004 6:23:52 PM PDT by steplock (http://www.gohotsprings.com)
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To: chance33_98

ummm... electric water?


12 posted on 05/20/2004 6:24:29 PM PDT by ValerieUSA
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To: chance33_98
This is OUTRAGEOUS!! Their living conditions were right out of the 18th century!!! It's HORRIBLE!! That poor child was been denied the basic needs of life. Can you imagine growing up under such conditions? No MTV. No Britney Spears. No pizza. No Gameboy. No computer. No internet. No pornographic spam. Where was George Bush when this child was being left behind?

OH! THE HUMANITY!!!

</sarcasm>

But seriously...

Aside from the fact that they were squatting on public land, why are the authorities messing with these people? Since when does an Aussie jogger getting his knickers in a bunch constitute a cause for alarm? Heaven forbid this guy should ever travel down to rural Baja.

13 posted on 05/20/2004 6:24:45 PM PDT by Redcloak (Have you hugged your tagline today?)
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To: Miss Marple

My mom's 11 brothers and sisters were in the same shape, They were sharecroppers in rural Mississippi.

All were literate, clean, and Christian, and all eventually lived to have happy, successful lives.


14 posted on 05/20/2004 6:25:21 PM PDT by B-Chan (Catholic. Monarchist. Texan. Any questions?)
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To: Blood of Tyrants

A Viet Nam Vet and, Once a Marine always a Marine.

Then you have Kerry, his daughter in her see thru dress at Cannes. Seems Kerry did less with more.

This Marine Did more with less.

Shows what Honor and integrity can do.


15 posted on 05/20/2004 6:26:42 PM PDT by Michael121 (An old soldier knows truth. Only a Dead Soldier knows peace.)
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To: chance33_98
"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 quic