We call our next door neighbor Richard Cranium because we don’t want the kids to pick up on “Dick Head.”
I gave up on killing him with kindness about 5 years ago. When I moved in with Brian, I said, “I’m going to make that guy be friendly with us!” I had heard horror stories over the years about how awful this guy was.
10 years later, 4 failed attempts at mediation (he refuses), a police report we filed for harassment & trespassing.
We called the police several years ago because he had dumped a bunch of hedge clippings in our yard. Brian went over and told him to clean it up, to which Richard Cranium replied, “Fuck off!”
We called Resolutions Northwest to seek mediation, and every time we saw him outside, we’d ask him when he was going to come clean up his mess. Finally, after nearly a month, I got so fed up with the mess that I cleaned up the clippings and dumped them on his grass. We came home later that day and he had neatly piled all the yard debris back in our yard, in the middle of our path, about 8′ in from the sidewalk. I called the Police non-emergency line (503-823-3333 in Portland, btw) and asked, “At what point is this harassment and trespassing?” To which the operator replied, “Right about now. We’ll send an officer over.”
The police officer warned him about trespassing, and actually made him clean up the yard debris:
Cleaning up his mess under police supervision, circa 2008
Every time he attacks us, it ends up biting him in the ass. Seriously, when he complained to the city about our retaining wall, nearly every other neighbor on the block had to replace their sidewalks, including him. Once he sent a threatening letter (on his law firm letterhead, trying to be extra-intimidating!) about how he would remove our retaining wall because it was 5″ over the property line. He implied that a survey had been taken, so we demanded to see the survey. A few days later, a survey crew was out there, and it turns out his fence was actually over the property line on OUR side!
So why does he keep coming after us when it always turns out badly for him? Definition of insanity?
He’s definitely escalating lately. Last week he was raking his leaves into the street in front of our house when I arrived home. I was staring at him, trying to decide if it was worth confronting him, when he called me a bitch! Right there in front of my children! We called the police, but they said it was free speech. Seriously, in front of my children? So Brian told him to stop trying to bully us, and we called Resolutions Northwest again.
Today is leaf removal day, when the city sweeps the streets. We parked our cars directly in front of our house, because we were worried that he’d park his car in front of our house, preventing our leaves from being removed. Instead, he used his leaf blower to blow the leaves out of his yard into ours:
He blew them out from under his boxwood bushes, after Brian spent most of the afternoon yesterday clearing all the leaves out of our yard.
Brian went out and confronted him:
BRIAN: “Hey, why are blowing your leaves in my yard?”
RICHARD CRANIUM: “Hey Dumb Shit, how’s it hanging?”
B: “Stop blowing your leaves in my yard.”
RC: “Why don’t you blow me?”
B: “I think you’d like that.”
RC: “Maybe I would, why don’t come try it?”
B: “Why don’t you just stop trying to be a bully?”
RC: “Well you’re a dumbshit.”
B: “Maybe I am. But you’re a bully. So stop it.”
We both agreed that confrontation got weird in a hurry. How’s it hanging? Come blow me?
Brian came in, and we decided to call the police non-emergency line again. We are concerned that he seems to be escalating, and clearly attempting to provoke a physical confrontation.
RC looked up and saw me on the phone, so he cleared up most of the leaves from the sidewalk and quickly sped away in his car.
He left just enough to be annoying. Jackass. Of course all the leaves he blew in the yard are still there.
The police offered to send an officer over to talk with us, but we decided to just try mediation again. I don’t know why I worry about seeming like I’m over-reacting. It just seems to petty to call the cops over a leaf incident. But this isn’t just about the leaves. This is about RC’s ongoing harassment of us. His attempts at intimidation.
But other than yelling at him, calling the cops and seeking mediation, there’s not a whole lot we can do. He WANTS Brian to attack him physically. He’s purposefully trying to bully us and provoke a physical confrontation, and we won’t give him the pleasure. He always tries to intimidate me, saying, “I’m a lawyer, and I can destroy you.” Well we’re not lawyers, but we’re not stupid either. So we document. And we try for mediation. And we hope this all goes away soon.