Two dozen star Goat Trimmers arrived Monday morning to eat the vegetation at Billy Goat Hill near South 38th and M Streets.
The city-owned right of way rises from an alley at the south end into a steep, overgrown urban jungle at the north. Neighbors have tried to keep it clear, but it’s been a haven for illegal activity, including drug deals, prostitution and squatting.
You can get away with a lot of bad stuff if you hide behind enough blackberry bushes.
That’s why Chris Ott of Tacoma’s Public Works Department came to the aid of neighbors who wanted the city’s help with clearing the brush. Don Miller, who owns Goat Trimmers, offered the neighbors a deep discount on the project, and Ott sorted out the details.
Monday morning, drama struck. A neighbor, who has not protested previous clean-ups, objected. He said he did not think that bad guys hide out there, and he likes the cover.
Miller obliged him, and set up the fencing to avoid the area near the man’s yard.
The rest of the neighbors were delighted and intrigued with the hungry visitors.
Around 2 p.m., Donna Burwell and her toddler daughter, Chloe, were imitating the Tacomans Who Stare At Goats.
“I was noticing that one goat wanted the stuff that was slightly beyond the fence, ” Burwell said.
Cue the lights and sirens.
“We were in the alley, watching the goats when a police car pulled in,” Burwell went on. The officers asked me if I had seen a heavy-set 45-year-old man.”
She had not. But the goats, undoubtedly. had. The officers climbed the hill, searched the thickets and emerged with a man wanted on suspicion of domestic violence.
“Of course, he was lurking on the hill,” Burwell said. “They pulled him out and assured us the goats were safe.”
They hauled him away on suspicion of domestic violence.
So much for the claim that unsavory types don’t go to ground on Billy Goat Hill.