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.