Tattoo artist gets 18 months probation.
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An unlicensed tattoo artist who provided body art to underage girls in Springfield was spared a jail sentence last Thursday and instead will be on probation for 18 months.
Brett Allen Breding pleaded guilty to three counts of tattooing without a license and one of advertising for tattoo services without a license. All four are misdemeanors.
But Breding, 20, of Crow, also pleaded guilty to an unrelated charge of first-degree theft. He admitted having pawned jewelry stolen from a woman who had let him stay at her house last October.
He will serve 18 months of supervised probation on the theft conviction and at the same time will be on probation to the court for the tattoo convictions. He has to write a letter to the court every six months reporting on his employment or education status.
Breding also must pay a $200 fine and $100 in restitution on the theft conviction and a total fine of $400 on the tattoo convictions.
Breding will have the theft charge, a felony, dismissed if he successfully completes his probation.
Police arrested Breding in November after the mother of a Thurston High School student told an officer that Breding had done tattoos on her underage daughter and another girl. Six other girls later were found to have received tattoos from Breding, police said.
In Oregon it is illegal to perform tattooing on anyone under age 18, even if a parent consents. It also is illegal to perform tattooing without a state license.
Prosecutors filed six charges of illegal tattooing, but Chief Deputy District Attorney Patty Perlow said many other girls also received tattoos. However, she said no one known to have been tattooed by Breding developed any infection or similar medical problem.
Plan developedto round up peafowl
GOSHEN - For the few dozen peacocks and peahens wandering the grounds of the Willamette Leadership Academy, their days as free-range birds may be numbered.
The Springfield School District - which owns the property and buildings that house the charter school - has developed a plan to lure the birds into an enclosed area and then give them away to people who will - presumably - keep them from returning to the school.
For more than a decade, the peafowl, as the birds are collectively known, have been living in the quiet neighborhood of Goshen, strutting from house to empty lot to school to fire station. Lots of people like them and feed them, but nobody claims them.
And that proved to be a problem for the school district and for the Willamette Leadership Academy. The state considers them domesticated animals not subject to wildlife regulations. Lane County considers them wild animals not subject to the domestic-critter rules governing the likes of horses, dogs and emus.
Some speculate that the birds got comfortable hanging out on the school grounds during the year that the former elementary school was shuttered by the Springfield district.
When the military-oriented academy moved in last fall, the birds' regular presence - and their prodigious droppings - became a problem, not just for the students who are often asked to spontaneously drop to the ground and do push-ups, but also in the kitchen, which was so overwhelmed with flies attracted to the bird poop that the county health department issued the school a warning.
At a public meeting last month attended by roughly 20 people, the charter school and the district heard from several people interested in adopting the birds, said Springfield district spokeswoman Devon Ashbridge.
Among those who attended were people familiar with what it takes to raise peafowl and how to humanely trap them, she said.
Enough school neighbors and other community members indicated an interest in taking the birds that the district is optimistic it will be able to find homes for all of them, Ashbridge said.
That's assuming the skittish birds can be caught.
The district sent a letter to interested community members last week describing their plans and asking neighbors to stop feeding the birds - proposing instead to get them used to eating at the school where a fenced enclosure with a netting roof will be built and food placed to entice the birds inside.
Man strugglesto find, keep a home
John David Brewster is a hard man to keep housed.
In the 37 years that he's lived in Eugene or Springfield, he's lost one house to foreclosure.
He tried to buy another house under a friend's name, but that flopped.
And, last month, the city of Springfield declared a third house, which he was living in and buying on contract, too dilapidated and dangerous to occupy.
They barred anyone from entering the place.
So, Brewster is homeless this winter, as he has been on and off for decades.
He's another person riding a bike around city streets looking for a dry place to sleep, standing in line for a meal or a food box, and costing the local jails and hospitals thousands of dollars each year for lodging and medical care because nobody knows quite what to do with him.
Brewster, 60, doesn't make it easy on anybody.
"If he was a sweet little old man, there would be a lot of volunteers," said Mary Grace Hickok, a Springfield woman who is selling the house - the one that the city considers uninhabitable - to Brewster for $313 a month.
Brewster is known in neighborhoods around the University of Oregon as the "LTD screamer."
He has a 13-year dispute with Lane Transit District, as Brewster tells it, since the day a driver booted him from the bus and confiscated his disability bus pass.
Whenever he's free and able, he rides his mountain bike to the UO area and screams a specific sentence of protest, which ends with an expletive about LTD.
During football season he adds "Go Ducks."
"It's freedom of speech. It's the American way," said Brewster, who is from New Hampshire.
Brewster says his brain was damaged in a 1986 motorcycle wreck. He has short-term memory loss, and he's quick to rile.
"If I go into the next room, I forget what I'm doing. It happens all the time." Brewster said. "If I read two sentences, I forget what the first one was about."
Brewster has been jailed 42 times at the Lane County and Springfield lockups over the past three decades, mostly on charges of disorderly conduct and drug possession - although the latter instances have tapered off since he got a medical marijuana card.
He has been combative with police, but his charges generally don't relate to violence against others.
In the mid-2000s, Brewster lived on an out-of-sight hillside in Goshen. He built a tarp shelter secured with bungee cords he found along roadways. With bike and trailer, he brought in recliners, a couch and a coffee table he found with "free" signs.
"It was so nice and quiet. Nobody knew I was up there," Brewster said - until 2011 when he was discovered and evicted.
Then Brewster met Hickok, a woman in her mid-30s, at the river, where she had gone for a swim.
Hickok had recently inherited the house where she grew up at G and 25th streets in Springfield. It was always ramshackle, she said, but her mother loved the house - "not enough to fix things on a regular basis, but she loved that house."
Hickok said she's hoped to sell the house to a contractor, who would knock it down and rebuild on its quarter-acre lot. But, sad at her mother's passing, she couldn't bring herself to do it - "so this other person crossing my path, just at the right moment, seemed like such beautiful serendipty.
"He was having to move every night and not getting any sleep and having to worry from day to day. I said, 'I know a place that, maybe, you could stay and keep an eye on it for me,'" she said.
Hickok said she signed a contract selling Brewster the house for $50,000, on a $313-a-month payment plan.
He set up automatic payments to come out of his monthly disability check, and since then the payments have arrived without fail, Hickok said.
When city officials visited the place, they determined it was perilous, said David Bowlsby, acting Springfield building official.
"It wasn't anchored. There was no bolts, no tie-downs - there's nothing holding anything in place at all," Bowlsby said.
But the problem that first brought the property to authorities' attention was the electricity. Brewster had torn down a garage wall, where the house's power utility box was located, and placed the still-live box on a nearby fig tree.
"It's a lot more secure than it was," Brewster said.
The Springfield Utility Board shut off the power after a meter reader spotted the set-up. "It was absolutely a hazard they had to react to," Bowlsby said.
The following week, Springfield inspectors toured the house, posted a "danger" sign and barred Brewster from living there.
Since the city's Jan. 14 posting, Brewster has visited countless city officials, including a plumbing inspector, an electrical inspector, a planning specialist, Bowlsby and the city manager.
Brewster's house can be saved, Bowlsby said. "Although it looks bad, it doesn't reach the level of condemnation. This can be fixed," he said.
But for how much?
Springfield has federal Housing and Urban Development grants - up to $2,000 - for repairs but Brewster doesn't qualify because, in the eyes of the federal government, he doesn't own the house.
"It's this gray area," said Kevin Ko, community development specialist. But Ko added that the $2,000 wouldn't solve the house's problems.
"John's mother, God bless her, loves John and doesn't want him to be homeless," Hickok said. "She's willing to pay for maintenance on the home if it will make the difference between John being housed and John being unhoused."
Hickok worries that, even if the house were brought up to code, Brewster wouldn't be stable enough to maintain his residence there.
"I have doubts," she said. "He can't stay out of jail.
"I would hate to have his mother spend a lot of money to fix that place up and then for him to fail to be able to live there," she said. Should that happen, the property would revert to her. "That would be a lovely secondary gain for me, but that would make me a rotten human being. This is what I'm weighing in my heart."
Burglars entering through the roof
Why bust through the front door or side window when you can get in via the roof?
That's apparently the attitude of a burglar who has literally "dropped in" on three Springfield businesses since Jan. 7, eschewing more traditional break-in techniques in favor of a less common - and perhaps sneakier - strategy.
Employees of a Shell gas station mini-mart near Main and 58th streets in the Thurston area reported last month that an intruder had made a hole in the building's roof to gain entry to the business. The burglar stole various items, police said.
The same scenario replayed days later at Sharky's Pub and Grub, a sports bar near 42nd and Main streets, police said.
Investigators learned of the most recent crime in the series a week ago Monday morning.
That's when an employee of Timber Bowl in downtown Springfield called police to say he had arrived at work to find a hole in the ceiling. Lottery tickets had been stolen and the bowling alley's cash register was damaged, according to police.
All three of the burglaries apparently occurred while the targeted businesses were closed.
Police declined to release additional details about the break-ins because an investigation is ongoing.
Police asked anyone who sees suspicious activity around a business to contact them.