KATU-TV: Park Drugs, Public Sex, Off-Leash Dog Attacks

KATU-TV’s Jackie Labrecque reports on the break down of the North Park Blocks – drugs, public sex, off-leash dog attacks.

Note: Aug 25th – In an attempt to restore order to the North Park Blocks, the city began to cordon off the park with barbwire-topped chainlink fencing. More

KATU-TV ~ PORTLAND, Ore. — Neighbors in North Park Blocks have had enough of people using drugs, camping out for days, and even having sex in the middle of a public park in broad daylight.

The area runs along the south part of the Pearl District, and neighbors are begging city leaders to do something about it.

“Just in the past couple of months, the influx of homeless has been crazy,” said Amy Mullen, who takes her son to the park regularly around the city. It is his favorite, but she would rather avoid it.

NPB Burnside / Nw Park 8-12-15
NPB Burnside / NW Park 8-12-15

“People are shooting up, just out in the open. People are having sex, people are drinking. People are camping, they’re littering,” said Tami French, who lives right along the park.

French is fed up, and to make matters worse, her dog was attacked Saturday by another dog.

“It was the most horrifying experience. I thought he was going to kill my dog. I could not get this dog off of Yogi.”

French filed a report with Multnomah County Animal Services, and snapped a photo they asked us to include in our video report. They hope it will help them identify the owner who took off. Neighbors say the man hangs around the park a lot and the dog is rarely on a leash.

“We stand at that corner and look to see, Okay, where is the safest place to walk our dogs because there’s illegal activity occurring all the time in the park,” French explained.

Neighbors are posting each crime on their website, and are continuously calling on city leaders to do something. Police say they are aware of the pictures neighbors are posting of people having sex and shooting up and are addressing the problem with regular patrols.

While out talking with neighbors, the KATU crew ran into Bruce Stephenson who studies city planning.

“I’m trying to figure out how the park blocks are used,” Stephenson explained.

The professor from Florida is writing a book about the Pearl District. Each day he observes the North Park Blocks.

“What I’ve seen over the last two months is an increase of people with camping gear in the park blocks,” he said.

The very spaces moms would love to enjoy again with their kids.

“It’s understandable, it’s an unfortunate situation,” Mullen said. “But it isn’t fair. We’re a little nervous having a small child here.”

“Definitely, I would like to feel safe taking my kids to the neighborhood park,” said Jennifer Vesbit, who was at the park with Mullen.

City Tries to Take Back North Park Blocks

Da Tung and Xi'an Bao Bao behind fence
Da Tung and Xi’an Bao Bao behind newly installed  fence

In less than two weeks the North Park Blocks will host Portland’s premier Labor Day event – Art in the Pearl. After ignoring deteriorating conditions all summer, the city finally took first steps to try and restore control of the North Park Blocks.

As we have reported, this summer the North Park Blocks have been overrun by traveling gangs, rampant drug use, prostitution and off-leash dog attacks.

Today the city began erecting barbwire-topped chainlink fencing to cordon off the park from all public use. It’s unfortunate that the city’s delayed response  to weeks of unlawful behavior requires such drastic measures.

Hopefully the North Park Blocks will be  a safe and livable space for all to enjoy during the art fest and beyond.

Displaced camper watch installation of park fencing
Displaced campers watch installation of park fencing from Park playground

Vicious Dog Attack in North Park Blocks

North Park Blocks dog

Tonight at about 6 pm a North Park Block’s neighbor was walking her dog “Yogi” by the basketball courts. Both Yogi and his owner were attacked by the off-leash dog in this photo.  Onlookers called 911. Yogi was bleeding from the attack and was taken to the vet.

Portland deserves safe and livable parks and public spaces.

If you see the owner of the dog that attacked Yogi, you will need the case # 167314 and can call:

From 8-5PM the Animal Service Dispatch line 503-988-5222
OR after hours: 503-988-9079 (Officer Randall Brown’s direct line – there is voice mail will go to his cell)

It’s About Behavior, Not Homelessness

behaving badlyLast week an intern was walking to their office on the North Park Blocks. On NW Flanders (a few doors west of the park) they encountered this couple. Mayor Hales and members of Portland City Council don’t get it. Let’s simplify the situation for them – we don’t know the housing status of this couple, but we do know they are behaving badly.

This summer the North Park Blocks, its adjacent streets and many other public spaces in Portland have been overrun with illegal activity – drug dealing, public use of alcohol, destruction of property, intimidating panhandling, urination/defecation, prostitution and illegal sexual activity.

Portland has lost control of its public spaces. Mayor Hales and members of Portland City Council fail to provide humane solutions to Portland’s long-standing homeless crisis while turning a blind eye to the illegal activities that make our parks, public spaces and sidewalks unsafe for everyone.

Portland can do better. We’re “The City That Works.”