Around 8:30 Monday morning, Portland police responded to a call about a man dressed in a trench coat who walked into Grant High School with a “police-style baton.”
Two squad cars and a conversation with a site supervisor later, police found that the man, in fact, was a staff member of a superhero-themed summer camp with Trackers Earth and the baton he was wielding was foam.
Update: Grant High School- subject was part of a LARP (Live Action Role Playing) “camp” on the high school grounds. Police clearing. -1— Portland OR Alerts (@pdxalerts) July 21, 2014
When I called Trackers about the incident, COO Travis Neumeyer laughed. He said this was the first time the police have ever been called on the camp. Usually it’s the camp staff calling the local police as a reminder of upcoming activities.
“We have a relationship with police in part because we end up in undeveloped areas,” he said. “We make sure we’re in touch to let them know that camps are coming up again.”
Neumeyer said staff depends on the school to reach out to the community, but the person who called police must have been confused and just got excited.
For those who are unfamiliar with LARP, it stands for Live Action Role Playing. LARP participants dress up in costume and take on a character and interact with others in a fictional setting.
Trackers Earth describe their camps as “old school outdoor adventure” where participants dress as characters and role play in a story.
There are dozens of Portland Trackers camps in session this summer at several locations, including Grant High in Northeast Portland. They range in themes from archery to “shadow Ninja,” “evil secret agent academy” and zombie survival.