Plaza Trashed On Halloween – November 1, 2011

Tuesday, November 1, 2011
The Plaza Tuesday morning. Photos by KLH | Eye

City of Arcata




Last night the Arcata Plaza was trashed by hundreds of unruly Halloween revelers.  Due to the amount of broken alcohol bottles, citizens should be very cautious if they walk on the grass of the Plaza.  Despite efforts to clean the area there are many shards of glass still on the grass.

Damage to the Plaza includes graffiti painted on four sides of the McKinley statue, mounds of trash left in the park and on the street, trampled flower beds, and broken bottles.

During the evening the Arcata Police arrested nearly thirty people and responded to over 100 police calls, including seven alcohol related medical calls in the downtown.  Some of the medical calls were for over-intoxication, head injuries, and one man who drunkenly jumped from a roof, breaking his ankle.

Police Chief Tom Chapman said of the event, “the level of disrespect for the community is astonishing. The combination of alcohol and a costume gave some a sense of lawlessness.”  Chapman said the department will be reviewing video footage in an effort to identify those responsible for criminal conduct.

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47 Responses to “Plaza Trashed On Halloween – November 1, 2011”

  1. Amy

    can volunteers come out and help with the clean-up?

  2. It’s basically cleaned up except for the shards.

  3. Jack

    This is seriously depressing.

  4. Catelyn S.

    It should be noted that the police did not step in until the very end of the night. They LET IT get that bad. I am utterly disgusted.

  5. Gerri

    When is enough…enough?

  6. Matt

    A few weeks ago there was a story in the NCJ about the city of Arcata and about how the “vibes” have changed in the past few years (and not for the better). Several people wrote letters to the editor disputing that notion, but I think this provides evidence against their arguments.

  7. Jamie

    This is unacceptable. We, the members of the community, are responsible whether we were there or not for we are all responsible as a collective whole. When will the plaza be respected? When it’s a priority.

  8. Bri Averill

    I had a blast last night. I will admit i was one of those young criminals throwing bottles, starting fights, and doing just about anything I can’t get away with on a daily basis. I had a great night and i can’t wait till next year to see what hell I could get myself into on the ol’ plaza.

  9. Grady Ward

    I’ve read that running a shop vac over grass will get the major pieces; obviously this job will require a large number of people with shop vacs and a way to power them. A portable generator or two?

  10. RangerX

    Catelyn – 12 cops, thousands of drunken partiers. You do the math. Heavy handed enforcement could easily have led to a riot.

  11. That’s it. Last week there was a near-riot when police attempted enforcement on the Plaza with a crowd around.

  12. JK

    it’s a rowdy college holiday. you think arcata has it bad? think about other, much larger college towns like those of UC Santa Barbra and San Diego State and how “devastated” those cities get. every year it costs the city of arcata well over $50,000 to replace the grass and generally clean up the plaza specifically after this anual event, which is way lower than the other larger towns. i’ve heard stories of entire frats burning down or other way worse case scenarios that trump some graffiti on a statue of mckinley thats in arcata. they know stuff like this happens, they should have planned accordingly. they don’t want this to happen? fence the statue off or even maybe place some officers around the plaza where they know stuff like this is going to happen in the first place. do something about it rather than waiting around for the aftermath so they can complain about it and waste taxpayer money to clean it all up every year.

  13. West

    After last night I really don’t know what to think about fellow young people and HSU students like myself. I have checked out the plaza on Halloween the past 5 years I have lived here and last night was by far the most rowdy and destructive one yet. It was kind of like a huge drunken stupid college party you can find around town every Friday or Saturday, except they made the plaza their garbage can. When I walked around the plaza last night around midnight I saw some very disturbing things people were doing, things those young people’s parents would probably be ashamed of hearing. Why can’t people have fun and not completely trash the plaza and not hump Mckinley’s statue without your pants on? In past years it was always fairly crazy but not to the point of people jumping off the Bar roofs. I even heard someone pulled out a gun and took a shot into the air? I’m not sure if that is true but my main point is I agree with the police chief in how HSU students and other people showed complete disrespect towards our community. I saw really pointless fights, people having sex near B of A and in an alley, people selling ecstasy and mali….c’mon people! Halloween gives rowdy students who aren’t from Humboldt County the excuse to do things they wouldn’t normally do back home- but graffiti on ol’ Mac??? Leave that for the streets of SF and LA people! This is ARCATA, bring back the drum circles on Halloween and don’t let the destructive student body take over! The vibe in Arcata has changed because HSU is getting a lot more suburban students from Southern California and the Bay. From my experience they are kids who are very irresponsible, have no respect for authority, love to get drunk, and value the weekend parties more than their academic major. I unfortunately have made friends who are like this and sometimes it is hard for me to spend time with them. I think next year they shouldn’t let anybody on the plaza during Halloween- I know it ruins our tradition but last night was crossing the freaking line. Now I want to know how many HSU students were arrested for being drunk in public, hopefully they are punished.

  14. Mark Sailors

    And people thought that the PROTESTERS trashe the joint…( pun intended)

  15. People believe what they want to believe, and sift facts to prove it.

  16. Heather

    Interesting. The city closes down the park on 420 but keeps the plaza accessible to all the drunks for Halloween.

    420 caused minimal damage to the park because of heavy foot traffic and some littering. No broken glass. No urinating on other people. No graffiti. No fights.

  17. Right. That may have been because of the incessant rains that day.

  18. Heather

    I’m not talking specifically to last years 420. You do know that those 420 park gatherings have been going on for quite a while now?

  19. Yes, I recall the photos of all the trash, trail and forest damage, not to mention the shoplifting and vandalism surge that occurred in town around the same time. The last two years of heavy rains on April 20 have helped temper that.

  20. wtf?

    why would the city agree to rent out th e plaza to a college group- i mean did they really think they would clean up after themselves? and not destroy property while dressed in costume?
    they shoulkd have put a clause in the rental agreement or padded the rental fee to include a clean up crew/security.
    im a 5th grader and i know this would have worked.

  21. It wasn’t rented out. It was open to the public.

  22. wtf?

    u didnt have to call me out on a public forum-
    i heqrd that from a guy that my dad knows who works at the place where my mom gets her nails done

  23. Disturbing

    For anyone that was at this so called Halloween bash and thinks it is funny to destroy a wonderful little square is an idiot. Pretty sad to think you had a good time trashing this place…
    I feel sorry for you.
    I hope there is not a next year..

  24. “i heqrd that from a guy that my dad knows who works at the place where my mom gets her nails done”

    Um, that may not be the most reliable of information sources.

  25. Paul DeMark

    Very sad and disturbing. I remember when the Arcata Plaza was a cool and friendly place. Those days are long. I feel bad for the Arcata businesses and community members. I’m very glad that I live in Eureka. I never thought I’d feel that way, but it is true.

  26. Random Kat

    I have to say that the cops showed no concern about the fact that people were throwing bottles at the people on the statue. If the community was smart they would pull their heads together and organize something that allows the thousands, not hundreds, of people out on the square and through out the bars to do this. There was a sold out concert at the ATL that holds 700 people. Each bar had atleast 200 people in it at any given time. They made enough money off those people to help cover it. We caught the kids tagging on the statue and they were random transients, not people from here that appreciate partying out there. 30 thousand damage is WAY overkill. I know for a fact that the cops were more worried about flexing muscle on the people fighting. I saw “unruly” people everywhere, yet the only ones the cops stopped where yelling at each other or fighting. You could easily stand back and pick out the individuals that did most of the damage. I feel as if the cops allowed that to happen so that next year they can really step up force on everyone out there. Just my opinion.

  27. Jenny

    Of course the vibe in Arcata has changed. Arcata is a collage town, that is located in a county that is known nation wide for being drug tolerant.

  28. Unknown

    if they didnt want this to happen they should of blocked off the plaza for the night. they knew what was happening yet they didnt do anything this “event” has been going for years and talk about it has been going on a week prior every where. the police didnt try to make any effort. i personally watched a fight occur in the middle of the road and a cop drove around like nothing was going on. they should now be aware of whats happening what has happened past years and do a better job of preventing this.

  29. C

    Ummmm I saw more UNDERAGE HIGH SCHOOLERS than I did HSU students.

  30. Wanda De Justus

    It use to be a muse to watch Randy Mendosa,work a crowd-probably a lack of social engineering-

  31. MB

    This makes me really sad. I wish I could have gone and helped clean up and I don’t even LIVE in Arcata anymore.

  32. KP

    This was my third Halloween on the Plaza and I will be doing the same thing next year. Lighten up people, its the one night a year that the plaza isn’t immaculate.

  33. AY

    Lighten up??? Are you freakin’ kidding? This is my home and has been for almost 25 years. I’ve never seen it like this. Do you crap in your living room? Do you throw trash and break bottles in your bedroom? Really? Stay away from our home if you can’t respect it. And the APD knew exactly what they were doing when they stayed out of it. They aren’t stupid. I can’t recall the name of the e.r. doctor who made some great comparisons between drunk people and stoned people, but he did mentioned the square root of yellow. Anyways, I’m sure the APD would have rather had a bunch of stoned people on the plaza that night. Really it all comes down to… grow up or get out! RESPECT!

  34. Donna

    And they want a bathroom? There went the money for that and more!

  35. Theresa

    I for one am glad I don’t live in Arcata. Even though I don’t, I am appalled at what happened. You could have run a herd of cattle through there and probably caused less damage. What a mess! People who have that kind of disrespect for public property also have no respect for anything private either. They trash their homes, cars, public bathrooms, etc. You name it, they leave a wake of negativity and devalued property.
    The morning after in this case was worse than depressing.
    I’m happy I live near Willow Creek!

  36. Dayna

    Melodramatic yuppies. Arcata isn’t getting worse from year to year. You are just getting older and/or more responsible.
    I witnessed this chaos but it wasnt any worse than any of the other disruptive behavior that goes on throughout the year. No matter whether there was a blockade, riot, drum circle, peaceful gathering, or chaos, I can only imagine folks would complain.
    Consider the fact that most of us live here for the freedoms we are aloud and get over it. There are far bigger issues in the world.

  37. Michele

    I think the point is that trashing the Plaza lowers the morale of the people who live and work here, wastes OUR tax dollars, puts public servants lives at risk and for WHAT? So a few irresponsible people can party it up? I don’t live in Arcata but I work here. My husband and I were seriously thinking of moving to Arcata but after what we’ve witnessed recently — Plaza takeover and tent city, Halloween trashing and melee, people sleeping in the streets, panhandling ALL THE TIME, etc., we’ve decided that Arcata does not represent the kind of forward thinking and “freedoms” we value. We are really disappointed.

  38. Arcata is a wonderful, imperfect town. There is so much to do here, and so many wholesome, healthy activities. I had major trouble finding places for all the pictures of different crowds of people having various forms of fun in this week’s paper, and didn’t even cover everything.

    If you’re waiting for all the problems to go away, that will never happen so there might be better places for you. Others of us have decided that the excesses are worth it to live here.

  39. Michele

    “If you’re waiting for all the problems to go away, that will never happen so there might be better places for you. Others of us have decided that the excesses are worth it to live here.”

    I believe from what I read in the posts and what I hear people saying on the street, is that ‘others’ are changing their minds. At least they aren’t in agreement with the ‘excesses’ and direction their beautiful city is heading.


  40. If the supposition is that having problems signifies a dire direction, then that’s something I don’t agree with. We will always have problems.

    I’m about to post a compilation of the crowd shots I mentioned. What all of them suggest, including the Halloween crowd that I don’t have a pic of, is that our downtown and other spots in town are exceedingly popular, mostly with happy shiny people having all sorts of fun.


    Christ everyone, people got drunk and did rowdy shit. Is it really the end of the world? It’s also not fair to blame HSU students for this because it wasn’t just us. Also, those who DID do some of the crazier stuff don’t represent HSU’s student body at all. Unless it was awesome rowdy, in which case, they totally do.

    Dude who jumped off a roof? SWEET! Dudes who tagged Ol’ Mac? Not sweet.

    Anyone else think this may in part be fueled by the “fuck the system” attitude going around the country right now due to the Occupy movements?

  42. Mark Sailors

    No its not a “F THE SYSTEM” attitude,I think it is a sense of entitlement bred into the youth of today. ,a generation that feels like they are entitled to trash the plaza, or riot when a team wins the superbowl, or camp and defecate and urinate on the town square.
    Come on folks, we are better than this.
    Or we aren’t and the fall of our civilization is more close than we care to admit.

    The next bubble to burst is the education bubble,( )

  43. LJ

    People who participated in, and defend the level of disrespect displayed on the plaza on Halloween, are irresponsible. Yes, people get drunk, people party, people get rowdy. But destruction and disregard for the heart of our community is selfish, rude, immature, and mean. I’m proud to call this tolerant town my home, but this kind of event drives a wedge rather than builds understanding. It’s discouraging to old and young alike.

  44. hot chick 2345

    I was there that night and i rode the statue just like the other 100 people did. I have been here for 3 halloweens now and they are all the same. If the fact that locals are complaining about broken glass and some graffiti ya’ll need to take another look around. That town allows bums to feel like its ok to be homeless and the cops around here are absolutely worthless. The drug usage and tolerance out here astounds me! SO seriously people get over it. This is a big college town well almost. That college brings in alot of money for that town that is not from drugs. Its one night a year.If yall are looking for a problem this is not it. There are so many other things that are wrong with Arcata. Sorry to tell you locals.

  45. If you’re saying that coming to Arcata from L.A. and throwing money around gives you the right to trash our town, you’re simply wrong: it doesn’t. As to the cops being “worthless,” what, exactly, are you talking about? That they don’t catch crooks or what?

    It sounds like you don’t know much about Arcata and are importing the slacker standards for behavior from wherever you came from.

  46. Wanda De Justus

    Thought southern cal folks, ultra special to the town-

  47. Unknown

    maybe if humboldt gave us teens and college somewhere to go on halloween night and stuff to do we wouldnt go trash your so to believe perfect arcata town. my high school does a safe a sober party event for graduates on grad night so we can party have a good time and not get drunk and trash things maybe humboldt needs to do that for us on halloween night just a suggestion. we are teens we arent going to stop having fun because some people got butt hurt we need a compromise another thing to do.


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