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Man and daughter found living in Forest Park....

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Man and daughter found living in Forest Park....

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Old 05-21-2004, 01:58 PM
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Matriarch Doe!
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Default Man and daughter found living in Forest Park....

http://www.katu.com/news/story.asp?ID=67497

Forest family had an elaborate camp among trees

PORTLAND, ORE. - A man and his 12-year-old daughter spent the last four years living in a remote hillside in Portland's Forest Park, police said.
The pair was discovered in a dense, wooded area by an Australian cross-country runner and his wife.

They reported seeing an older man with white bushy hair and a beard, and a young girl at what appeared to be a "well-established transient camp." They called police on April 28.

That afternoon, North Precinct Sgt. Michael Barkley sent four officers on all-terrain vehicles to find the pair but they didn't find them.

"We had very little to go on, " Barkley said. "There's no way you could not do everything you could because it was a report of a child living up there."

The next morning, the runner ******ed police to the site.

After an hour-and-a-half hike, police found an elaborate camp dug into a steep hillside.

Under a tarp-covered, wood-framed shelter, they found sleeping bags, a partially burnt log, a Bible, a stack of old World Book Encyclopedias, rakes and other tools.

A rope swing, a tilled vegetable garden and a small creek were nearby.

A police dog found the pair huddling behind a tree about 50 yards from the camp.

The man and girl told police they had lived in the park for four years. The pair appeared clean, well-fed and healthy, Barkley said, and the girl was well-spoken beyond her years.

The man, who identified himself as Frank, told police he was a 53-year-old Marine Corps veteran and college graduate who served in Vietnam.

He came to Oregon with his daughter, Ruth, from Tacoma with no job and virtually no money. Frank told police that the girl's mother was institutionalized in New Hampshire, and the two now lived on a $400-a-month disability check.

Rather than live on the streets and expose Ruth to alcohol and drugs, Frank said, they hiked deep into Forest Park and built a lean-to.

The pair went into the city twice a week to stop by the bank, attend church, buy groceries and clothes from Goodwill. Frank, a devout Christian, said he taught his daughter using the old encyclopedias.

They grew vegetables and used the nearby creek to keep clean. They stored perishable foods in a small pool of water at the creek's edge.

The man and girl told police that the runner was the first person to find their camp in four years.

Their biggest worry was being split up, Barkley said.

"Please, don't take me from my daddy," the girl told the 26-year police veteran as they sat on a log talking for at least 30 minutes.

Barkley, who has a 6-year-old daughter, said he was struck by the relationship between father and daughter.

"What was so clear was that their living conditions were unacceptable, but their relationship was a real deep love and caring for each other," Barkley said.

Officer Joe Campbell, who helped find the pair, said separating the pair would have broken their hearts. "Their whole lives seemed to revolve around each other," said Campbell.

A pediatrician found the girl free of any illness, any signs of physical or sexual abuse - and no cavities. A criminal background check came up empty, according to police reports.

Even though the child and father lived for such a long time disconnected from society, the girl had been home schooled and was in good physical shape.

In fact, the girl received a very good education from her father while living among the trees. Officials said the girl, who would be normally in 7th grade, is at a 12th grade equivalency.

"When we interviewed this little girl, she was very impressive. She really was very responsible, and she really looked as though she was way advanced in her years," said Portland Police Cmdr. Scott Anderson said.

KATU Television has been given permission from 'The Forest Family's' father to set up a college fund for 12-year-old 'Ruthie.'

To make donations for the girl, who for the last four years have lived in the forest and was educated by her father, to 'Ruthie's College Fund’ at any Bank Of America Branch.

Police say the father was ecstatic when KATU offered to set up a college fund for his daughter.

The father has done a wonderful job of educating the girl, says police. She reportedly performs at a 12th grade level.

Police persuaded them to leave the camp, promising help them find food and shelter.

The pair spent two nights at a homeless shelter. Barkley found the man a job and a place for the two to live on a friend's horse farm in Yamhill County.

Now, Barkley said, the pair are living in a mobile home and adjusting to life with heat, electricity and electric water.

The man mows lawns and is learning to drive a tractor, and the pair ride bicycles to a nearby church on Sundays.

"The amazing part of this was the fact that Sergeant Barkley really evaluated what was best for these people," North Precinct Cmdr. Scott Anderson said. "Sometimes police would be a little quicker to hand things off to state workers. But instead ... he saw this through to the end."
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Old 05-21-2004, 01:58 PM
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Default RE: Man and daughter found living in Forest Park....

Very heartwarming story I think! Not only that this Dad did such a great job with his daughter, but that they have been treated so well since being discovered. The authorities could have ended up handling it much worse!

With things going in the direction they are, how many of us have entertained the thought of doing the same type of thing sometimes? I know I have.
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Old 05-21-2004, 02:11 PM
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Default RE: Man and daughter found living in Forest Park....

Very heartwarming story I think! Not only that this Dad did such a great job with his daughter, but that they have been treated so well since being discovered. The authorities could have ended up handling it much worse!
Yes, it is indeed very hearwarming. It really made me smile to read about such a strong family living and loving through such hardship. The dad had his head on straight, and it paid off bigtime. I'm almost sad to see them relocated after doing relatively well for themselves with what little they had. But at least the police and social services didn't go bonkers like they do sometimes.

With things going in the direction they are, how many of us have entertained the thought of doing the same type of thing sometimes? I know I have.
My wife and I have thought about it more times that I can remember. My best friend has actually done it several times in New York, California, and Hawaii. He's a hippy, though, so his standards are a bit low.
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Old 05-21-2004, 02:23 PM
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Default RE: Man and daughter found living in Forest Park....

Excellent story on helping others.

Stealth and Tex ???????
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Old 05-21-2004, 02:35 PM
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Default RE: Man and daughter found living in Forest Park....

Yes it was a real nice story to hear last night on the news........a good break from all the bad crap thats been on there lately. I thougth it was a cool story about the mountain climber that survived Mt Rainier(his partner didn't) that when he got back home to Maine the first person he went to see was his climbing partners widow.

Did you see that in some parts of Alaska gas is $5 a gallon?
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Old 05-21-2004, 04:10 PM
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Default RE: Man and daughter found living in Forest Park....

Great story. Amazing.
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Old 05-21-2004, 04:12 PM
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Default RE: Man and daughter found living in Forest Park....

stories like this don't end favorably most of the time.
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Old 05-21-2004, 04:20 PM
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Default RE: Man and daughter found living in Forest Park....

Many of us would have read a lot into the opening of this story , and I can't say I didn't , but what a refeshing surprise ! For once the story didn't conclude with the little girl getting stuck in a foster home and her Father in a cell . Sometimes the tale is legit and ends well .
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Old 05-21-2004, 04:32 PM
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Default RE: Man and daughter found living in Forest Park....

KATU Television has been given permission from 'The Forest Family's' father to set up a college fund for 12-year-old 'Ruthie.'

To make donations for the girl, who for the last four years have lived in the forest and was educated by her father, to 'Ruthie's College Fund’ at any Bank Of America Branch.

Very nice story. However, I hate to be the bad guy here. But why does the girl deserve to have College Fund set up for her?
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Old 05-21-2004, 04:36 PM
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Default RE: Man and daughter found living in Forest Park....

Very nice story. However, I hate to be the bad guy here. But why does the girl deserve to have College Fund set up for her?
I don't think it's so much that she "deserves" it any more than alot of other kids, but sometimes there are stories that become public and touch people who have the means and would like to help. There's nothing wrong with that.
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