Social Host Ordinance: Problem Solved?

By most measures it appears the Social Host Ordinance has been a success in Eugene, Oregon. In 2013 the number of calls related to loud music, loud noise, or loud parties dropped by 30% from the year prior. By comparison, from 2006 to 2010 the number of the crimes committed in association with these types of calls nearly doubled, from 611 incidents-per-year to 1046 incidents-per-year.

Many University of Oregon students oppose the ordinance. But for the time being it appears they have found little other choice but to comply.

For those in support of the ordinance the reduction in complaints gives reason to be thrilled. It also leads one to believe that the ordinance has been a success. However, for other organizations and cities familiar with Social Host Ordinances, this success may come as a surprise.

In a report prepared by the Community Anti-Drug Coalitions of America in 2010, there had been no published study that was able to prove a correlation between the implementation of a Social Host Ordinance and a decrease in the number of parties where underage drinking occurred, the types of parties most often responsible for noise and behavior complaints observed near campus.

But if calls related to loud parties and loud noises around the University of Oregon campus are used as an indication for the frequency of such parties, Eugene may be the first city able to report this sort of reduction as a result of a Social Host Ordinance.


St. Clair Properties believes that while the social host ordinance may have had a small effect on incident statistics, a much larger impact came from the new apartment developments being built near the University of Oregon.

“Up until 2012 there had been a major under-supply of housing near the U of O. This forced students to live in neighborhoods that were historically owner occupied.  However, as new apartments have been built closer to campus, this pressure has been relieved and the South Campus and East Campus areas are now seen to be balancing back out.”

– Jim St. Clair, Principal Broker

Further more, in the time period leading up to it’s implementation, the number of police calls to similar activity had been consistently sloping downwards. And although the 30% decrease seen as the ordinance was being implemented represents the largest drop, the outside factors mentioned above indicate that there is likely more to the ordinance’s success than originally meets the eye.

Written by John Livingston Bullier, with insight from James St. Clair.

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