Keep Portland Weird (But Safe)

PDX mounted police

This past summer the North Park Blocks experienced a dramatic rise in unlawful activity – traveling gangs, aggressive panhandlers, drugs, public sex, off-leash dog attacks. That situation was turned around when City Hall finally took notice and Portland Police stepped up their presence to enforce the law in the park.

We saw smart policing based on positive and supportive police interaction with citizens.  But increased police presence in the North Park Blocks required pulling scarce police resources from other Portland neighborhoods. Bottom line  – community-focussed policing is labor-intensive and Portland Police is understaffed to provide adequate safety city wide.

Statistics show that Portland Police is understaffed. The FBI national benchmark calls for 2.7 officers per 1000 residents and Portland has only 1.5. More stats here.

sign the petition

Public safety has made Portland one of America’s most livable cities. Our community needs our Police Bureau to take calls for service, investigate crimes, confront gang violence, and proactively engage with the public. Having enough police officers to manage these functions will keep Portland a great place to live.

Portland City Council must increase Police Bureau staffing levels to ensure there are enough police officers to meet the City’s public safety priorities.

The Portland Police Association has started a petition to Mayor Hales and Portland City Council. Send a message to City Council – Read more and sign the Petition.

pdx police stats
Click to enlarge graph

Join Us: “Polish The Pearl” Saturday 10/17/15

Photo of the northwest view from the US Bancorp Tower.
Photo of the northwest view from the US Bancorp Tower.

Join neighbors and friends for a fall neighborhood clean-up of the Pearl District! Volunteers meet at Peet’s Coffee to check in, receive a free cup of coffee, get a street assignment, pick up supplies, and head out into the neighborhood to pick up litter.

After the event, volunteers turn in supplies and stay for a FREE raffle of an Electra Townie bike! The first 50 volunteers to register online receive a free snack from The Fields Bar & Grill. All supplies are provided, such as safety vests, gloves, trash pickers, brooms, trash bags, etc. Just register for the event online, show up, and be prepared to have a fun time!

Check-in starts at 8:30 AM. Teams leave at 9 AM and meet at The Fields Park at 11:30 AM. The event will happen rain or shine – be sure to dress for the weather. Minors under the age of 17 must be accompanied by an adult. Polish the Pearl is a bi-annual event organized by the Pearl District Neighborhood Association (PDNA) Livability and Safety Committee

Image credit: “Pearl District” by Ajbenj at the English language Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Commons

Portland Community Equality Act: Signature Drive

Times change and so does Portland’s need for a district run city government. Each neighborhood in this beautiful city has its own attributes and challenges and each should have representation by a district representative that lives in each district and can represent the needs of that district. We deserve broader representation and taking the power out of the hands of the few and putting into the hands of the many make for better democracy in the great city.

We are hoping to see Portland Community Equality Act on next November’s ballot. This is our opportunity to bring Portland’s city government into the new millennium. Portland Community Equality Act is gathering signatures. Please help! This is our chance for real change.

Please invite your friends and neighbors to stop by and sign the petition to get direct representation for you on the ballot.

Portland Community Equality Act coming to gather signatures in the North Park Blocks near the Playground this Saturday, 10/3 from 12pm to 1:45 pm. They will also be in the Pearl at the Whole Foods at 2010 NW Couch from 10am to 11:45am as well.

The City of Portland, Oregon was issued a territorial charter in 1851, incorporating 2.1 square miles of forest, stumps and houses. In May 1913, Portland voters narrowly approved a commission form of government.  This outdated and archaic structure remains in place today.

Commission Form of Government 
The City of Portland has the last remaining Commission form of government among large cities in the United States.

The Mayor, four Commissioners and the Auditor comprise the City’s six elected officials.  The Mayor and the Commissioners together make up the City Council. Thus the mayor has no more power that any of the council members.

The commission form of government differs from most other municipal governments in that its members have legislative, administrative and quasi-judicial powers. This is too much power centralized to a small handful of politicians.

Legislative – The City Council meets weekly in the Council Chambers to conduct the City’s legislative business.  The Council adopts the City budget and passes laws, policies and regulations that govern the City. You can clearly see the breakdown in the enforcement of “laws” which prohibit encampments and camping in city parks and the “policy” that has been put in place which directs law enforcement to leave the “campers” alone.

Administrative – The Mayor and Commissioners also serve as administrators of City departments, individually overseeing bureaus and carrying out policies approved by the Council.  The assignment of departments and bureaus is determined by the Mayor and may be changed at his or her discretion.  In the case of the City of Portland, Mayor Charlie Hales heads the Police and Amanda Fritz oversees the parks, instead of having a director of parks whose sole purpose is making those public spaces safe for all of the community.

 

NPB Presents To #PDX City Hall

The North Park Blocks group presented to Mayor Hales and other city and county officials at City Hall on Sept 29, 2015. Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz was not in attendance.

The North Park Blocks is made up of a proudly diverse community who chose to live and work here. We proudly continue to support many efforts to address homelessness including construction of Bud Clark Center, the CCC Recovery Center, new Transitions Projects and the new Blanchet House.

Our concern this summer was born for the safety of the community due to a highly aggressive criminal element taking hold in our Park and on our streets.

We believe Portland needs to keep our city safe, sanitary and livable for everyone.  While also offering compassion, kindness and services to those in need.  This includes support for more homeless shelters and low income housing.

Here’s our slide deck

[slideshare id=53434422&doc=mayorsnorthparkblockstaskforce-mtg3-092915-151001183823-lva1-app6891]

North Park Blocks Meeting and Update

Friends and neighbors;
A meeting of the North Park Blocks residents has been locked in.

When: Thursday, August 6, 2015 6:00 pm
Where: Powers Studios/Visiting Media
825 NW Glisan St, Portland, OR 97209

All of us are adamant about working with the necessary agencies, parks bureau, and the police to resolve the illegal, criminal activity that has surfaced in the North Park Blocks and surrounding neighborhoods in the past six months. This is not a matter of homelessness, it’s a matter of ILLEGAL activities such as:

Threatening behaviors
Fighting
Intimidation
Selling/Buying drugs
Prostitution
Trespassing
Lewd sexual behavior, including urination/defecation
Public consumption of drugs or alcohol
After hours park occupation
Aggressive pan-handling
Anti-camping laws being disregarded
etc….

Contact was made with Jacob Brostoff, our Crime Prevention Coordinator, regarding the “Problem Solving Issues in Public Spaces” document he provided at the recent meeting with residents from the Flanders Lofts and North Park Lofts.

Continue below for our Q&A with Jacob Brostoff.

Continue reading “North Park Blocks Meeting and Update”