Neighbors still unsettled by Goonies house

The city and neighbors have tried to use signs to regulate traffic near the Goonies house in Uppertown.

A neighbor of the Uppertown house famous for appearing in “The Goonies” asked the Astoria City Council on Monday to do more to enforce parking rules in the neighborhood.

Dan Rhoads, the owner of several food carts downtown, detailed recent incidents with movie fans, including one where visitors threatened to beat him up if he didn’t stop filming them with his phone to show how they were violating parking rules in the 38th Street neighborhood. Other fans have flipped him off and yelled at him and his family.

He believes the encounters are related to a rash of bad reviews and low ratings for his food trucks downtown that appeared online soon afterwards. Rhoads owns Hong Kong Taco Cart and The Hot Box BBQ, both located next to Reach Break Brewing on Duane Street.

In addition to asking city police to enforce parking rules in the neighborhood, Rhoads also asked if the city could increase the fine for violating the rule from $25 to $100. But, he emphasized, simply enforcing existing parking restrictions “would be a great first step.” He worries how parking violations create hazards, trap people in their homes and prevent emergency vehicles from reaching residents who might need medical help.

Police Chief Geoff Spalding, who was hired in January after serving as interim chief last year, said he needs to get up to speed on Goonies house-related issues before he can recommend a course of action. As the police department continues to bring more officers on board, neighborhood patrols and enforcement of parking violations could again become priorities, he said.

The police department has received four parking complaints so far this summer, some that manifested into disturbances. But police said, overall, there appear to be fewer complaints this year as compared to previous years.

City councilors were sympathetic to Rhoads’ complaint. Mayor Arline LaMear suggested implementing a parking zone in the neighborhood to further limit who can park there.

If it feels like 2015 again, when the owner of the Goonies house begged the city to limit fans’ access to the property, it’s because Goonies fans never say die. Out-of-town visitors and adult fans of the 1985 movie routinely block driveways and roads and wander the street in droves to get a glance at the house, a private home on a dead-end road.

Such issues escalated in 2015 in the months after Astoria celebrated the 30th anniversary of the film’s release. The owner shrouded the house in blue tarp and the Astoria-Warrenton Area Chamber of Commerce began to discourage visits to the neighborhood, pointing people to more distant viewing areas. The city posted signs to prohibit Goonies parking on 38th Street. Neighbors had long been putting up signs of their own.

On a webpage dedicated to Goonies-related tourism, the chamber now begs visitors to “put yourselves in the neighbors’ shoes” when it comes to visiting the house.

“Aside from seeing more bellies flashed while doing the Truffle Shuffle in a day than most people would see in a lifetime, they are subjected to a number of things that make their life more difficult,” the chamber writes, and goes on to list issues that include parking hassles, blocked roads, pedestrian safety concerns and garbage tourists leave behind for residents to pick up.

The situation in the neighborhood is “better than it was,” said Public Works Director Jeff Harrington. But the house remains a popular destination for the people who uncover the address, or who wander the area knowing the house is somewhere nearby.

Rhoads and his family have been neighbors of the Goonies house for over a year. 

“While I was warned, nobody can really, clearly explain what to expect from being that close to the Goonies house and what it entails,” Rhoads said. 

In the words of City Councilor Zetty Nemlowill, there is an ongoing trend of livability in the neighborhood “being compromised by, really, some nasty tourists.”

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