More dirty needles found in Portland parks

PORTLAND, Ore. -- Just two days after KATU aired a story about a little girl who poked herself with a syringe she found on the Portland waterfront, more people have frighteningly similar stories to tell.

Christy Asmus is a nurse at OHSU, and lives blocks from Southeast Portland's Essex Park, where she and her husband take their toddler to play.

That's where Christy saw two kids take a needle they found to their parents. One of the boys got stuck with it when he picked it up.

"Their parents looked around in the trees and found one, maybe two more," said Asmus. "At least the parents did the right thing and put the needles in a plastic diet soda bottle and put the lid on, so they wouldn't fall out and other kids wouldn't get stuck."

Asmus scours the grass and around the trees when she take her daughter to Essex Park.

She says it's not uncommon to see people who may be drug users in the park at night.

She posted her needle story on her neighborhood facebook page and heard several more stories about finding needles.

There's talk of organizing a neighborhood watch group to patrol the park at night.

"I don't usually come here after dark," said Asmus. "I don't think there are a lot of lights in this area, maybe on the baseball field, but I think lights could be helpful as well. Motion lights that put a spot light on somebody who's coming by."

Park rangers patrol city parks.

"Safety is our first priority in the parks," said Parks Department spokesman Mark Ross. "Safety and maintenance. When our maintenance crews or patrols find something like needles they're quick to dispose of it safely, and we do have a hotline to call a park ranger if there isn't one around, 503-823-1637."

Asmus plans to look out for herself and her family.

"One thing I think is important is that I'm going to show my child what the needles look like and make sure she knows to be afraid of them, and not touch them, and tell me!" she said.