Crisis in PDX Parks Not on Commissioner’s Agenda

The most striking thing about Commissioner Fritz’s upcoming Town Hall is that the crisis in Portland’s parks  didn’t even make her agenda. Our Commissioner of Parks refuses to acknowledge that city parks have been overrun by traveling gangs with no interest in emergency housing.

At the Sept 1 “North Park Blocks Task Force” meeting at City Hall Fritz made a brief statement “parks are for people” and if we try to limit the “stuff they bring into the park, people won’t be able to hold weddings in the parks.” Then she cited a scheduling conflict and left the 90 minute meeting after only 20 mins. She did not hear the concerns of the North Park Block’s businesses and residents, nor the solutions offered by many city / county officials and social service agency representatives assembled by Mayor Hales.

Portland deserves safe and livable parks and public spaces and it needs a Park’s Commissioner interested in that goal.

Fritz Town Hall

 

Mayor Admits Downtown is Overrun by Traveling Gangs

In an impassioned email the mayor said that as I walked through downtown on Thursday, “I don’t think I saw one homeless person as I know them to be. I think I counted 27 travelers, many of them with dogs, sprawled on the corners throughout the center of town.”

I’m not judging people by their looks or lifestyle, but I want “our public spaces to be for all to use.”

“I don’t want travelers actually controlling, living on our corners, our plazas, our public spaces,” the mayor  wrote. “I welcome them to use them as I would expect everyone else to do. And I want benches and inviting places for all the public to freely use.”

In an interview, the mayor said many of the so-called travelers have “chosen a lifestyle of moving from place to place, and they are not what we call homeless. It’s more of a lifestyle.”

Did you think that was Mayor Hales?  Guess again.

Those comments are from  Eugene Mayor Kitty Piercy – a leader who’s willing to tell it like it is. 

The warning signs were here this spring – City Hall and Portland Police were notified that gangs of travelers were gathering on the North Park Blocks and along Waterfront Park.

City Hall had no unified plan to address this summer’s crisis. Now Portland is in a state of emergency trying to keep the lid on until the traveling gangs head south for the winter.

Mayor Hales – restore safety and order to our parks and public spaces. We need leadership in City Hall, not excuses.

 

 

Portland …. Wake Up and Take Back Your City

portland wake upNote: This first came to us as a comment by lowestcommondenominator. It deserves to be a post

Having traveled both nationally and internationally in some pretty rough areas…and now settled in the Pearl for about 2 years, can this be compared to anything I’ve seen ….anywhere?    Nope!

Only in the Pearl. Only in Portland. And it’s getting worse every month I’m still here… what a shame the government doesn’t enforce the laws to create a safe parks and a livable city.

Panhandlers: Multi-shopping-cart beggars that compliment you on what you’re wearing, and then when no money is offered, they yell at you to, “suck their D**k”, or to “F**k-off”.

Litterbugs: They leave their mess behind day after day for someone else to pick up. Piles. Boxes they slept on. Food containers. Vomit. Whatever else their body relieves. It’s everywhere…not just the parks, but up and down the streets from the Park… Davis, Everett, Flanders, and Glisan.

Drugs dealers: Bags, needles, you name it, all for sale in the Park, and just a half block from the wonderful playground for the kids. How instructive for them…. Fast-exchange deals, new business ops, gone bad deals…with all the yelling, ruckus, and foul language. Either way, it’s routine…daily, uninterrupted by the law.

Porta-Potty? The naïve wonder … where do the homeless go to the bathroom? The Portland Loo? Why take the time? That’s a block or two away… Watch them pull down their pants or whip it out in broad daylight. Across from million dollar condos.The remains, with toilet paper…it’s all just in piles around the trees. No fear in being watched. No matter. It’s their territory. No one is stopping them.

Booze it up: I observing 2 drunks relieving themselves on the front doors of a high end condo a block away from the park, my instinct blurted “you’ve gotta be kidding me!” Oooops …My bad. This isn’t my Park. It’s theirs. The two responded with, “Mr….You gotta problem with us???…Yo, Mr….You gotta problem with us???… Then followed me yelling for 4 blocks. Scared for life…note to self…no words, no eye contact, never. This is their place, not mine.

Portland Pearl, the visitors paradise. And then there’s the Naito Parkway waterfront…. just more of the same, in spades. A should-be focus for locals and visitors…. instead, it’s now officially on the “NOT SAFE to be there list”. Sad. Such a beautiful area…lost to the un-ruled.

Portland, Mayor, City Council….wake up!!! And take back your city. The police enforce your law. Right now, they are handcuffed by your “leave them alone” directives. (I know, I’ve asked many of them…)

NW Examiner: Civility Collapses on North Park Blocks

Civility collapses on North Park Blocks- Sept 2015
Civility collapses on North Park Blocks- Sept 2015 – click to enlarge

The September 2015 issue of the NW Examiner details this summer’s dramatic decline of the North Park Blocks.
Click here for PDF of article

Our lovely park has become home to vagrants who openly do drugs, have sex, fights and regularly urinate and defecate in public. … This is affecting my business and more importantly, Portland’s prosperity in the long run.” ~ Michelle Cardinal, CEO of the R2C ad agency located on the North Park Blocks.

“Everyone I speak to is talking about the city being out of control… It’s very scary what happening to the city right now … younger ‘road warriors’ with aggressive, unleashed dogs began taking over public spaces.  I have so much compassion of the truly homeless people, but they are not the problem.” ~ Stan Penkin, co-founder of Friendly Steers and a member of the Pearl District Neighborhood Association (PDNA) Livability Committee.

 

Parks ARE For Everyone – But Lack Safety And Order

A North Park Block neighbor sent the following email to Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz:

Thank you for the work you do for the city.

I write because I heard about the Sept 1st task force meeting called by Mayor Hales regarding  the conditions in the North Park Blocks. You stayed for only 20 minutes, but before you departed early you declared, “The parks are for everyone,” to a group of people brainstorming responsible responses to public sex, used hypodermic needles, menacing, off-leash dog attacks and other illegal and scary acts being committed with increasing frequency in Portland parks.

Attendees inferred that you are not too concerned whether homeless people and housed-but-antisocial people comply with the law.  They interpreted your comment as, at best, acquiescence to the status quo or, at worst, siding with perpetrators over victims.

The parks ARE for everyone.

  • “Everyone” should include children who should not see people f***ing in the North Park Blocks.
  • “Everyone” should include dog owners who don’t want to choose between watching their beloved pet bleed out or getting bitten themselves.
  • “Everyone” should include people playing Frisbee who do not want to make a diving catch onto a needle.
  • “Everyone” should include residents, shoppers, workers and tourists who do not want to be menaced and sometimes assaulted by aggressive and / or mentally ill people.

I hope you and other leaders develop some empathy for the non-homeless and support those who are working to improve downtown livability for all.  Until the city acts to slow, stop and reverse the downward spiral that we witness every day, then most “everyone” will avoid parks that we have abandoned to lawlessness.  We don’t need another commissioned study or another artistic logo or another ten-year plan.  We know what works for the long term.  In the short term, please enforce the law.