Rogue River man fighting drugs in a unique way

, Written by Christine Pitawanich, Posted: Wed, February 26 2014 at 6:28 PM, Updated: Tue, March 4 2014 at 11:09 PM

Rogue River, Ore. -- The Medford Police Departments says meth remains king when it comes to drug abuse in Southern Oregon and now a Rogue River man is drawing attention to the problem in a very visual way. 

"We have a meth dealer problem on this street," said Bob Smith who lives on Magerle Drive in Rogue River.

"There's only seven houses and two of them are active drug dealer houses dealing meth. We're 300-feet from the junior high school," he continued.

Smith, who moved to the neighborhood about a year and a half ago said he wanted to do something about what he's calling an epidemic.

"When I first moved here, I made it very clear that if I saw drug dealers around here that I would arrange to get them busted," said Smith.

So, he made a large bright sign and put it in front of his house. It reads Rogue River Meth Dealer Oasis. The sign is getting a whole lot of attention, which is what Smith says he wanted.
 
"I did this to bring attention to it, to get some resolution to it," Smith said.

The sign is noticeable. Neighbors say they were shocked when they drove down their street this past weekend.

"All I know is my husband and I drove down about three days ago to go to town and ... we were just like what is that all about?" said Patti Breshears, a neighbor down the street.

"It makes me wonder where it is going on and how close it is to where we are," said Breshears.

However, not everyone on the quiet street is okay with Smith's display.

"I think it's without any evidence and it's not specifying. It makes it look like he's a meth dealer, a meth oasis," began neighbor Craig Armstrong.

"I just don't think it's proper," he said, regarding Smith's sign.

For Smith, who's a retired clinical psychologist and previously worked with people on drugs, a sense of duty provides some motivation to bring attention to what he said is an epidemic that's hit close to home.

"I came back from the Vietnam war and within a year my younger brother was dead from drugs," Smith said.

A family loss, motivating Smith to fight drugs in his community.

"We can do this. But you don't hide it. You don't pretend it's not there," said Smith.

This isn't the first time Smith has tried to bring attention to drugs.
He said he's demonstrated in similar ways seven times in Oregon, North Carolina and Colorado. In other areas, he said he's received some push-back.

"They damaged my vehicle twice and ... (there were) threats saying we're going to kill you and stuff like that. They tried to ambush me in an alley one time but they weren't successful," Smith recalled.

"Will it happen here? I hope not," he added.

Rogue River Police said they've investigated a couple people seen in Smith's neighborhood, but they say outside of Smith, there have been no reports of drug activity from residents on that street.

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About the Author

Christine Pitawanich

Christine Pitawanich was born and raised in the Pacific Northwest. In 2010, she received a master's degree in Broadcast Journalism from the S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications at Syracuse University in New York.

Christine also has a Bachelor of Arts degree in Communications from the University of Washington.

Before joining the NBC5 News team, she had the opportunity to file reports from Washington D.C. for WFFT FOX Ft. Wayne News in Indiana. Christine has also interned at KOMO-TV in Seattle.

Christine loves to ski, try new food and have fun in the outdoors.

Catch Christine anchoring weekdays on NBC 5 News at 5pm.

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