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.

 

4 Replies to “Parks ARE For Everyone – But Lack Safety And Order”

  1. I sent Amanda Fritz an email indicating the petty crimes and the serious crimes occurring in the Park Blocks. She responded by saying, for the minor (non-life threatening and felonies), that we phone the understaffed, park rangers. The park rangers, seem to me to be a happy face group of young people, who have zero authority to issue citations for offenses. They kindly ask people to not do it again. They are more Public relations folks, who may have some influence on sane folks, but not the people occupying the park blocks. It seems to me that we need to push for one of the following.
    1. Give the park rangers actually authority
    2. Push for more real police who can respond.

    1. The Park Rangers are Amanda’s pet project that now cover all downtown parks. By their own admission there primary role is “diplomat.” So in effect, security of the parks has been diminished by design. Ironically they are more expensive than a superior security service provided by Clean and Safe who has a direct connection to Portland Police.

  2. Art in the Pearl is upon us. Early this morning, while walking my dog through the park as vendors/artists set up their booths I overheard this exchange between two; one from Texas, the other a Brit.

    “I don’t know if you’re aware, but there’s a really, really bad homeless situation here. The park is filled with ’em. It is so bad that they actually had to get the mayor down here the other day and clear ’em all out. So make sure you keep and eye on all your stuff.”

    So with a wide audience here watching and talking, our reputation precedes us!

  3. Amanda Fritz needs to be booted out of office. Her only concern is protecting the rights of people to be bums. I emailed her long ago about the proliferation of stolen shopping carts all over the city and her response was, where do you want them to put their stuff. Our city leaders just don’t care or don’t have the will to do anything. Our city’s reputation and livability is being ruined.

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