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Springwater path users feel threatened by campers, police say their hands are tied

Posted by on January 14th, 2016 at 2:17 pm

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Springwater path near SE 82nd.
(Photo: Mark Mollenkopf)

Neighborhood advocates and residents say conditions on the Springwater Corridor path near its intersection of SE 82nd have reached a boiling point. Things have gotten so bad that local residents have dubbed it the “Avenue of Terror.” At issue is the behavior of people who live in tents and under tarps adjacent to the path and the impact their presence is having on users of the path and the surrounding community.

In recent weeks we’ve heard from several readers with concerns about the situation and from a Portland Police Bureau officer who says there’s not enough officers to deal with the issue and a federal court decision has constrained their enforcement power.

“There is a major public health issue brewing here.”

Mark Mollenkopf rides through this area of the Springwater on his daily ride to work. He says he’s counted up to 20 tents and has seen “chop shop activities,” drug use, and a lot of other illegal behaviors.

In a December 18th email to BikePortland (that was also sent to the Portland Bike Theft Task Force, KATU News, and the City of Portland) Mollenkopf wrote, “There is a major public health issue brewing here.” He said the all the trash, broken glass, and drug paraphenalia he often sees strewn on the path is “really getting out of hand.”

But it’s the fear and intimidation Mollenkopf has feels while using the path that he’s most concerned about. He recounted a time when five people were blocking the path as he attempted to ride by. “As I got about 20 feet from them they started telling me to turn around and go somewhere else, I asked that they move aside so I can pass and one of them (who I saw again this morning) yells, ‘Are you kidding? Get the fuck out of here!'”

A week later Mollenkopf said two men watched him as he rode by and one of them yelled, “Nice bike, hope it doesn’t get stolen!”

Mollenkopf is worried that if the situation continues someone will end up getting hurt. “It adds up to a bad environment and I see kids riding to and from school on this section of the MUP which concerns me as well,” he wrote, “What are they being exposed to?”

“This is the one area I leave after dark.”

Terry Dublinski-Milton is a neighborhood activist and board member of the Southeast Uplift Neighborhood Association (we profiled him back in June). The topic of “the situation on the Springwater corridor” was talked about at length during their board meeting meeting this week. He said people are concerned about how the camps are impacting a nearby creek and environmental restoration area that volunteers have spent 20 years working to restore.

“There has been property damage, physical threats against people, drug dealing, prostitution under the bridges, encroachment that closes off the trail.”

“Though there has always been issues with the houseless camping here, the situation is at a boiling point,” he shared with us via email this morning. “There has been property damage, physical threats against people, drug dealing, prostitution under the bridges, encroachment that closes off the trail.”

Dublinksi-Milton says local residents now call the stretch of the Springwater path between SE Luther and 92nd Avenue, “The Avenue of Terror.”

Even though he considers himself a very strong and confident rider who will roll through any part of the city, Dublinski-Milton says because of recent experiences, “This is the one area I leave after dark.”

“Aggressive, territorial behavior from campers is increasing.”

Sellwood resident Chris DiStefano rode his bike on the Springwater several times during the Christmas holiday. After riding through areas of the path full of tents and trash, he shared his experience via a Facebook post on December 28th. “Trash and physical encroachment on the trail are bad enough,” he wrote. “But now aggressive, territorial behavior from campers is increasing and we all stand to lose a major recreational and transportation corridor.”

DiStefano says he was harrassed several times during the holidays and he’s convinced that broken glass he sees on the path is, “placed there intentionally to discourage future bicycle traffic.”

He wants Metro and the City of Portland to prioritize the issue. “The city responded immediately to downed trees on the trail last week and I appreciate the fast work there. This is a much more complex issue, I know, but one we need to address right away.”

“Enforcement of the ordinances under those circumstances criminalizes the status of being homeless and violates the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.”

If you’ve read BikePortland over the years, you’ll know this situation isn’t new. “Security concerns and druge use along Springwater Corridor give some riders pause,” we reported in 2011. Then in August 2012 we shared a series of stories about people who had been physically assaulted and harassed while using the Springwater.

In 2014 we reported about a large encampment that had sprung up further west under the Ross Island Bridge and later that year we shared photos of what one reader claimed to be a brazen stolen bike chop-shop operation around SE 92nd.

If the issue is so well-documented and has existed for so long, why isn’t more being done about it?

There are two answers to that question: One is nothing new, the other is.

“This law… prohibits law enforcement from conducting routine investigative activity on a person based on their homeless status.”

Portland Police Officer Ryan Mele responded to Mark Mollenkopf’s concerns. Mele, an officer on the East Precinct Neighborhood Response Team, told Mollenkopf there were two very good reasons that police have not taken more aggressive action on this issue. The PPB’s current staffing shortage means neighborhood officers like Mele are being pulled away from livability issues and toward patrols in other areas.

Mele also pointed out a recent federal court decision and a state law that went into effect January 1st that has influenced Portland’s enforcement practices.

Mele says the PPB is using a brief filed last August by a district court judge in Idaho (1:09-cv-540-REB) who said that enforcing certain laws on people who live outside, when there is not adequate indoor housing available, would be unconstitutional. Here’s the relevant excerpt from the court:

“If the Court finds that it is impossible for homeless individuals to secure shelter space on some nights because no beds are available, no shelter meets their disability needs, or they have exceeded the maximum stay limitations, then the Court should also find that enforcement of the ordinances under those circumstances criminalizes the status of being homeless and violates the Eighth Amendment to the Constitution.”

This past legislative session Oregon Governor Kate Brown strengthened that ruling when she signed House Bill 2002 into law. That law was lobbied for by civil rights activists who want to end police profiling based solely on someone’s age, ethnicity, gender, religion, and so on. That list of “real or perceived factors of the individual” that cannot be targeted also includes homelessnes.

If someone living outside along the Springwater corridor is simply doing things that are “inevitably connected to their homeless status,” the police say they can’t investigate it.

Officer Mele says that new law, combined with the Idaho court ruling, has put law enforcement on eggshells. “The City Attorney has instructed us that it is the State’s intent to extend additional rights and protection to homeless people and that the United States Department of Justice is actively watching for activity that appears to be punitive toward homeless people,” Mele wrote in an email to Mollenkopf regarding the Springwater situation on December 21st.

While law enforcement practices are in flux, neighborhood residents are starting to organize. Dublinski-Milton with Southeast Uplift says businesses, other neighborhood associations and residents are forming a new group to do something about “the behaviors that are impacting the whole region.”

“There have been repeated attempts to get the city to act with no avail,” he shared. “So they are hoping to put pressure on for a coordinated response.”

— Jonathan Maus, (503) 706-8804 – jonathan@bikeportland.org

NOTE: On Sunday 1/17 at 4:39 pm I changed the headline. It used to be, “Springwater path’s ‘Avenue of Terror’ persists, but police hands are tied”. I made the change after thinking about it more and hearing from concerns in the comments that BikePortland endorsed the “terror” characterization. I think the new headline is more accurate and clear. – Jonathan

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Thank you — Jonathan

367 Comments
  • mw January 14, 2016 at 2:34 pm

    Isn’t citing this new law a cop out? I can see how it would cover things like camping and littering, but how is harassment, assult, prostitution, etc. “inevitably connected to their homeless status”?

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    • q January 14, 2016 at 2:39 pm

      It seems like the portland pd has interpreted this to mean that laws do not apply to the homeless, which is of course absurd.

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      • Chris I January 14, 2016 at 3:11 pm

        It doesn’t help when you have newspapers like the Mercury who think the homeless can do no wrong, and the cops can do no right.

        This is a transportation corridor, and needs to be recognized as such. The police should have full authority to conduct sweeps on a regular basis. All non-plant objects found within 25ft of the pathway will be disposed of. Conduct the sweeps weekly until the problem goes away. Continue conducting sweeps once per month on an ongoing basis.

        This problem is happening because they are allowed to camp here. Once they are allowed, things become territorial. They need to understand that this is a no-camping area.

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        • Spiffy January 14, 2016 at 3:29 pm

          “They need to understand that this is a no-camping area.”

          except that it is a camping area per the new laws…

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          • Matt- Bike Milwaukie January 14, 2016 at 8:21 pm

            Only if they attempt to get housing… yet out around 92nd there are no homeless shelters (at least that I know of), so how can someone camping claim that they tried to “secure shelter space on some nights” if there are no shelters within close proximity to where they are squatting?

            We’ve lead a few of our rides out this way in the past but won’t be taking groups near here until this gets cleared up.

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        • was carless January 15, 2016 at 9:41 am

          I’m starting to think that the Springwater is part of the city’s Homeless Strategy.

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        • J. Conner April 4, 2016 at 10:36 am

          I agree. It should not be considered a violation of their civil rights to make this corridor a no camping area. There are other spots they can use that do not have regular daily traffic by the public citizenry.

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      • VA January 14, 2016 at 4:39 pm

        My husband called police non-emergency to report what appeared to be a homeless man swinging a bat while walking along the sidewalk. He was told by the officer the person wasn’t breaking the law and even if he was breaking the law, instructions from the mayor’s office are “Hands off Homeless.” So disappointing.

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        • eli bishop January 14, 2016 at 11:07 pm

          I was threatened by a guy throwing knives in that area. I called the police but because they guy biked away, they told me to call back if I saw him again.

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      • Ralph May 4, 2016 at 11:28 am

        The new law says precisely that: laws do not apply to the homeless. Enjoy living in Oregon.

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    • lop January 14, 2016 at 3:04 pm

      Enforcing that stuff generally only happens indirectly. Say by clearing out homeless encampments. So unless there is somewhere else to send them…

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      • Cora Potter January 14, 2016 at 3:55 pm

        Well, technically they could be sent to jail if they have stolen goods or commit assault or are engaged in sex trafficking. But, then our jails are overcrowded too. Maybe now that marijuana offenses aren’t clogging them up we’ll have more space?

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    • puddlejumper January 19, 2016 at 12:18 pm

      The inevitable result of liberal policies. The cops have had their hands tied by everyone from Eric Holder’s Dept of Justice to the Mayor’s Office. No wonder morale is so low and the PPB can’t find qualified candidates.

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    • Bud Feuless March 19, 2016 at 9:36 am

      At issue is the Eight Amendment. What is being said here is that we can not sweep or otherwise harass someone based solely on a homeless or housing status that they can not control. If someone breaks a law, whether criminal threatening, drug use, prostitution or even obstruction of a pedestrian right-of-way, you can still report it and PPB must then investigate and respond. What DoJ and others are asking us to minimize is some of the action around the Sweeps, which are mainly driven by the Portland Business Alliance and Portland Chamber of Commerce and City Hall (not PPB). These sweeps have evicted people and confiscated their belongings for no other reason than that they are homeless. You really could not ask for a more 19th century approach. Last year, an old man died of exposure after losing everything in a sweep. Keep in mind that a lot of these folk have lost their ID and can not recover items placed in storage.

      Myself, I ride this part of the trail almost daily. Yes, I’ve seen the behaviors described, though I’ve found that using my bell well ahead of a group often gets them to be more friendly about letting me through. PPB is patrolling using ATV’s (I know, I’ve had to get out of their way pretty often). What concerns me MUCH more is the results of sweeps I’ve seen recently conducted by ODFW (state parks). I have seen a line of evictees simply moving their stuff using shopping carts to a new location, in a line that looks like a refugee march. What’s really disturbing though is that these have seemed now to be not the usual single male meth-heads we used to see, but families with kids and especially women alone. Forcing women out of an established camp in that way exposes them to a lot of danger.

      The point is not that we should not address this problem, but that we should not address it with brutality and a lack of humanity.

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  • RH January 14, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    Wow…based on this new law, this is always going to be a problem for a long time as we won’t have enough shelter space in this region for at least 5+ years. The old Portland as we used to know it is slowly decaying 🙁

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    • CR January 14, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      There would be fewer people to shelter if we weren’t so accommodating.

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      • dan January 15, 2016 at 9:34 am

        We all accept induced demand for motor vehicle traffic: more roads=more cars. Isn’t the homeless situation the same way? More shelters and services=more homeless? The lesson from car traffic is that you can never build enough roads. Are there any parallels that apply here?

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        • Wendy January 16, 2016 at 8:05 am

          there is no correlation between the 2. there are thousands of homeless in the metro area. Has anyone considered approachin the people living there and asking for their help?

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      • Oliver January 21, 2016 at 2:33 pm

        Homelessness is not the result of local or regional government policy. It is a by-product of the economic system we’ve embraced. One that creates economic losers as requirement for it to function. If we’ve decided that capitalism does indeed create the most good for the most people (debatable) then we must accept the fact that a certain number of people are going to fail, and we have a responsibility to deal with them.

        I’m tired of the >>redacted<< homeless. I'm sick of the garbage, I'm sick of the property crimes, I'm sick of the feces, I'm sick of the increasing threats of violence. I want these issues dealt with.

        But I'm just as fed up with the continued assertion by some people that the amount of people sleeping in the woods has anything to do with local attempts to get people off the streets or provide them with some level of basic physical or mental health care.

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  • Josh Chernoff January 14, 2016 at 2:42 pm

    If the police say they them selfs they can’t/wont do anything about this, then its safe to say nothing short of committing a crime your self will solve this.

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    • Spiffy January 14, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      ridin’ dirty…

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    • Pete January 14, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      Call Curtis Sliwa – he loves publicity.

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    • Spenzor January 15, 2016 at 8:04 pm

      Just be homeless when you commit the crime and you’ll be fine!

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  • Todd Hudson January 14, 2016 at 2:47 pm

    This city is comically dysfunctional.

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    • q`Tzal January 14, 2016 at 9:28 pm

      Then this problem can only be solved by Unicycle Bagpiper Vader!

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  • Adam H. January 14, 2016 at 2:50 pm

    The new law regarding profiling homeless people is a really good thing. Too often, people forced to sleep outside are arrested and pushed though a dizzying amount of legal battles that they can’t afford. Throwing these people in jail and issuing expensive tickets they have no hope of paying is not at all productive to society.

    However, I question the decision by PPB that assaulting trail users is “inevitably connected to their homeless status”.

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    • Allan January 14, 2016 at 3:12 pm

      this

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    • Cora Potter January 14, 2016 at 4:00 pm

      … or stealing from nearby housed people, or receiving stolen goods for the purpose of trafficking in stolen goods or aiding in the trafficking of stolen goods….and honestly, the littering and other livability issues aren’t “inevitable”. They can walk to a god damn trash can…and in many cases there is one within a quarter mile.

      The new law makes sense for things like drinking on the street and maybe the occasional need to urinate or defecate when the urgency exceeds the ability to find an appropriate facility.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 14, 2016 at 4:40 pm

      the PPB doesn’t think assaults are connected to their homeless status. Sorry if the story didn’t make that more clear.

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      • Adam H. January 15, 2016 at 9:22 am

        Thanks Jonathan. Although, this is what many commenters are saying as well. Someone above said that a person was “swinging a bat around” at people, but the police refused to step in.

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        • Alan 1.0 January 15, 2016 at 9:55 am

          What that poster said was, “…appeared to be a homeless man swinging a bat while walking along the sidewalk.” Nothing was said about swinging it “at people.” Which part of the poster’s statement would you find to be a chargeable offense?

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          • Adam H. January 15, 2016 at 10:59 am

            A man walking around swinging a baseball bat is threatening behaviour. At the very least, the cops should stop by and tell him to cut it out.

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            • Alan 1.0 January 15, 2016 at 11:10 am

              You express very different expectations and, apparently, desires for police interference than do I.

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        • davemess January 15, 2016 at 1:26 pm

          I know that local business owners have had rocks thrown at them, and when called the police have refused to do anything.

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          • Alan 1.0 January 15, 2016 at 4:54 pm

            “[people] had rocks thrown at them”

            That’s enough for a police response in my book, assuming the people throwing the rocks were old enough and strong enough and close enough, and the rocks of sufficient size to cause harm. I’d have to make a lot more assumptions regarding “homeless man swinging a bat while walking along the sidewalk” before I’d justify police intervention. I don’t see that any of those items (homeless, man, swinging a bat, walking, on the sidewalk) are illegal either singly or in combination (and Adam didn’t have an answer for that, either). Maybe there’s more to the story, maybe there were people too close by, maybe it looked like he was going to damage property, maybe his swings looked like fighting moves, or maybe he was vocally menacing, but that’s a whole lot of assumptions based on what we’ve been told, and I’m generally not real keen on police intervening for no good reason.

            If police dispatch were told what we’ve been told, what should they think? I’m guessing there’s a lesson in there to *NOT* say “homeless” when reporting a crime, and I’d further guess that it’s not uncommon for non-criminal actions to be reported as suspicious simply because the person looks unkempt.

            BTW, while my neighborhood is light on sidewalks, there will be people around here swinging bats in the streets and parks within the next month or two. I don’t plan to report them.

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    • estherc January 14, 2016 at 7:38 pm

      yes, it actually demeans the law abiding homeless.

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      • Peter R January 15, 2016 at 10:31 am

        What part of camping on public property is “law abiding”?

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        • Adam H. January 15, 2016 at 11:00 am

          The new law that states you can’t just go rounding up homeless people just for being homeless?

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  • Terry January 14, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    I ride this almost everyday, and at night when I get off from working at a bike shop, sometimes at 9pm, if you want confrontation just have a headlight over 100 lumens, zombie’s hate the light

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    • Spiffy January 14, 2016 at 3:32 pm

      yes, it’s my experience that they will yell at you if you have a decent light…

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      • eli bishop January 14, 2016 at 11:09 pm

        I’ll yell at you if you have a bright light and it’s pointed at my eyes on the Springwater. 🙂

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        • Spiffy January 15, 2016 at 8:12 am

          when you’re laying on the ground all lights are pointed at your eyes…

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  • J_R January 14, 2016 at 2:51 pm

    I’ve had the same experience riding the Springwater corridor. I’ll ride it only during daylight hours. Even then, a group clustered by the path will cause me to turn around.

    We prohibited our kids from riding it to school even though in many ways it was an ideal route.

    If the cops can’t do anything, we’ve effectively abandoned the multi-use path.

    I agree that homeless status should not used for profiling, but it shouldn’t be a valid excuse for law enforcement personnel turning a blind eye toward intimidating, threatening behavior and a host of other crimes.

    We need some undercover cops, DAs, and Portland commissioners to ride the corridor every once in a while to let them experience this first hand.

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    • Allan January 14, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      With enforcement like this why are we advocating for more MUPs? Perhaps a solution would be to allow construction near these areas so that we have some ‘eyes on the street’ Not necessarily front doors

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      • Adam H. January 14, 2016 at 3:16 pm

        Another reason why protected bike lanes along the street are better than secluded bike paths though the woods.

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        • Granpa January 14, 2016 at 4:08 pm

          Strongly disagree. Accepting aggressive criminal behavior and blaming it on the bike path is defeatism. Take a ride on the MUP between Lewis & Clark and State St. Ride Banks/Vernonia and tell me that you would rather be riding behind a concrete jersey barrier down Powell.

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          • q`Tzal January 14, 2016 at 9:17 pm

            And yet we will only get consistent law enforcement where there are lots of users.
            Public streets with automotive traffic have orders of magnitude more users than MUPs buried in wooded areas.

            A path in an idyllic natural setting is nicer until its lack of law enforcement encourages criminal activity. There isn’t enough broad public outcry to get the resources for consistent policing here so it becomes unsafe for NON-automobile reasons.

            Still unsafe, still potentially fatal; bicycle and jogger traffic is pushed out to neighboring streets in to areas not expecting such traffic.

            The hazard is pushed along out of sight and out of mind.

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          • Adam H. January 15, 2016 at 9:27 am

            That’s a straw man and not at all what I said. Public roads are safer by means of having more users and more eyes on the street. Secluded paths along the woods are by definition more hidden from public view, which invites people that are purposely trying to hide from public view. They also see less use for transportation because their secluded nature makes them feel more dangerous. Yes, this can be solved with better police presence, but it’s hard to argue that they are equally as safe – especially at night.

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          • axoplasm January 15, 2016 at 10:32 am

            I used to live adjacent to that Tryon SP path. There are campers in that forest but not many and they are VERY quiet neighbors. They mostly stay out of the SP which has its own rangers. The biggest difference compared to Springwater isnt “eyes on the path” — it runs through the damn forest and gets a fraction of the traffic, there are zero eyes on it 90% of the time — it’s the neighborhoods on the other side of the trees.

            If you call the cops in SW Portland for the most trivial thing — way less than swinging baseball bats — they show up within an hour or so. Probably inside of than 10min in LO or Dunthorpe.

            This is Amanda Fritz’ home quadrant. It was mine, too, for more than a dozen years. So I speak from experience: It’s easy up there among the trees to take an abstract stance on complicated things like crime and homelessness

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    • Paul Z January 14, 2016 at 10:23 pm

      I rode the Boise River MUP last fall, and there was a very visible presence of police officers on bicycles. Not a tent, tarp, or shopping cart in sight. There was also “zero” graffiti along the trail. Portland is getting “trashed”.

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      • Random January 14, 2016 at 10:46 pm

        “I rode the Boise River MUP last fall, and there was a very visible presence of police officers on bicycles.”

        Yeah, but that was hick Boise.

        Here in progressive Portland, we are incapable of keeping our MUPs safe for actual users of the MUP.

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      • Mike Reams January 15, 2016 at 8:02 am

        I walked it last summer and these were the big takeaways for me. I saw police on bikes patrolling the path and, even in some industrial areas (along a gravel/concrete yard), the path was clean and felt totally safe.

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        • Alan 1.0 January 17, 2016 at 4:14 pm

          I would be interested in how things have changed along the Boise River Greenbelt since Bell v. Boise (1:09-cv-540-REB).

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    • J. Conner April 4, 2016 at 10:58 am

      Good idea! Undercover cops. Preferably ones who are made up to look vulnerable in some way.

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  • rachel b January 14, 2016 at 2:59 pm

    Portland of now frequently reminds me of an ineffectual and cowed parent repeating “Stop that, Timmy…’kay? Stop that right now! ‘Kay? I really mean it, Timmy! Stop it! ‘Kay?…” while Timmy burns the house down.

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  • Adam H. January 14, 2016 at 3:01 pm

    We also need to be putting pressure not just on PPB, but on Commissioner Amanda Fritz, who historically has refused to address the homeless encampment issues in our parks.

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    • Todd Hudson January 14, 2016 at 3:11 pm

      Putting pressure on any commissioner is pretty much tilting at windmills. Unfortunately, it requires significant tragedy (or Rose Festival) for the city to take action – much like when cyclists get mamed by motorists. Someone using the Springwater will eventually get attacked or worse; they will lawyer up and the city will have to defend its lack of action. They’ll spend a few weeks pretending to care about the area, and then go right back to ignoring it.

      Like Waterfront Park and the Esplanade, avoid the Springwater after dark. There’s nothing we can do about it.

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      • Adam H. January 14, 2016 at 3:14 pm

        Another reason we need to move away from the commissioner-based system and to a ward-based system, where elected Alders have a direct responsibility to the neighborhood that they represent.

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        • Todd Hudson January 14, 2016 at 3:35 pm

          That is also a pretty quixotic hope – there have been half a dozen ballot initiatives to do just that, and they have all failed by a wide margin.

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        • J_R January 14, 2016 at 8:37 pm

          The problem is the commission form of government, not the geographical assignment of representatives. With the commission form of government, each commissioner has his/her own bureaus and the tendency is to treat them as his/her little fiefdom. This results in a system of “keep your hands off my bureau and I’ll keep mine off yours.” If the elected officials were just focused on city-wide policy, some of this ineptitude, corruption, and waste might go away.

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          • davemess January 15, 2016 at 1:33 pm

            Yes and no. The lack of a regional form of government is a big deal (especially if you live in an area of town that doesn’t have any commissioners from anywhere near by (like half the city).

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    • bjorn January 14, 2016 at 9:30 pm

      Amanda loves camping as long as it isn’t near her house, she lives in a much nicer zip code so she won’t be doing anything about this anytime soon.

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    • jeff January 14, 2016 at 11:54 pm

      I’ve tried to contact her twice about it. I’ve gotten canned email responses and voice mails. Fritz is worthless in this regard.

      there’s a known shortage of Police officers in PDX for an ever increasing population of…well…everyone. PPD needs to expand…and quickly to address a lot of the criminal activity in town recently.

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      • Middle of the Road guy January 15, 2016 at 10:47 am

        Maybe all the people on this blog who complain about the police can sign up and change how PPD does things.

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  • Todd Boulanger January 14, 2016 at 3:07 pm

    The PPB and the CoP legal folks are also likely taking a conservative ‘wait and see approach’ as to any developing case law and other legal “opinions” after the Idaho stuff. (And most legal staff have been on holiday etc…so not a lot of time to sit and think about new things.)

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  • Terry D-M January 14, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    A a meeting today of all seven coalition leaders, the executive director of SE Uplift shared these reported stories about this issue with Amanda Fritz, as she heads the office of neighborhood involvement. I followed with stressing that this situation is very different than other campsites throughout the city. I have never felt intimidated by any of them, but this situation is fundamentally different. Commissioner Fritz says she will follow up with Mayor Hales. I think he knows I am not easily intimidated….so hopefully, these stories may have some effect.

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    • davemess January 14, 2016 at 5:10 pm

      There is a reason that many people along the Springwater are there. They want to be a little secluded. It shouldn’t be surprising at all that they are territorial out here.

      Thanks for your work on this Terry.

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  • rdat January 14, 2016 at 3:10 pm

    I rode springwater last weekend for the first time in about a year and I couldn’t believe what I saw (including human excrement on the pathway). Something has to be done. Perhaps we should provide the campers with free transportation to Kate Brown’s neighborhood so she can enjoy them exercising their rights every time she walks out her front door.

    I don’t think people should be picked on because they’re homeless but, municipalities have to have the tools necessary to secure the rights of everyone to use public facilities and I can see why people feel their right to use the trail is infringed upon by presence and actions of the campers.

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    • davemess January 14, 2016 at 5:11 pm

      Yes there is a spot (just east of 122nd) that continually has human poop on the path. So aggrevating. Why?!?!?!?!

      Recommended Thumb up 9

      • doug B January 14, 2016 at 9:00 pm

        I came across this many times this fall as well. Finally saw the culprit- an elderly man jogging. He stopped mid jog, did his business, then went north up 122nd. Was gone by the time I got there. Crazy

        Recommended Thumb up 10

        • Matt January 15, 2016 at 11:10 am

          I’ve been wondering about that chronic turd-dropper. I must have seen hundreds of his turds in that block.

          Now that I know it’s a jogger (and the homeless don’t jog, generally speaking), I have half a mind to stake it out, follow him home, and publish his address so we can all take turns crapping on his doorstep.

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        • davemess January 15, 2016 at 1:34 pm

          Wow, that’s even more crazy than I thought! I mean it’s a trail that pretty much exclusively goes through the woods! You have so many better options for an emergency number 2.

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  • Todd Boulanger January 14, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    The one thing that is disturbing about this scenario: if there was an urban roadway or suburban highway where ‘gangs’ of individuals (say cyclists) were yelling threats at drivers, blockading motor vehicle passage, putting tire puncturing devices on the roadway I would expect that PPB, DoT, OSP etc. would be down there to end the problem very quickly and not call it a “livability issue”.

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    • Todd Boulanger January 14, 2016 at 3:17 pm

      So back to the “livability issue”…the Spring Water MUP should be considered a “regional bikeway of significance”…a highway of sorts where there are no easy alternative routes. The critical security and safety problem there is that its not like a rider or walker can walk one block over to avoid a threatening situation like in the downtown. If you are 20 feet away from a group you are pretty much trapped other than reversing course and hope you can [drop your bike] to outrun them or swim for it.

      Recommended Thumb up 12

    • Middle of the Road guy January 15, 2016 at 10:49 am

      This is about the homeless people on the path who are threatening others.
      Don’t try to turn this around and make a fiction about how cyclists are persecuted.

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  • reader January 14, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    I am sure the situation will improve when summer returns.

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    • canuck January 14, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Yup, because nice weather really turns people off living outside.

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      • reader January 14, 2016 at 3:41 pm

        My point exactly. 🙂

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        • rachel b January 15, 2016 at 12:26 pm

          🙂

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    • Spiffy January 15, 2016 at 10:43 am

      yep, longer days means less commuting in the dark and warmer weather usually makes for happier campers…

      Recommended Thumb up 1

  • Chris I January 14, 2016 at 3:13 pm

    Does anyone carry a weapon or mace when traveling this section?

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    • Granpa January 14, 2016 at 4:10 pm

      **Deleted this comment because it described a weapon. I don’t feel comfortable when people trade info about weapons that could harm other people. Please contact me if you want to discuss my moderation decisions further jonathan@bikeportland.org**

      Recommended Thumb up 5

      • ahpook January 14, 2016 at 4:28 pm

        perhaps i’m being dense but i don’t understand what this would do or how you would use it.

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        • Granpa January 14, 2016 at 4:37 pm

          **Comment deleted. Please don’t discuss weapons here. Thank you. If you have questions/concerns about my moderation decisions please get in touch via jonathan@bikeportland.org. Thanks. — Jonathan Maus**

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    • Rob Chapman January 14, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      I haven’t traveled the Springwater in a while but I do live in a neighborhood with a city sanctioned favela.

      I carry a phone, o/c spray, knife and a handgun when I go about my business. If I have my backpack I have 1st aid supplies as well.

      I keep two fire extinguishers at home also.

      Don’t want to use any of them.

      We are responsible for our own safety.

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    • Paul Z January 14, 2016 at 10:26 pm

      I would if I did. Damn straight!

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    • Travis January 15, 2016 at 8:57 am

      **Comment deleted. Please don’t discuss using weapons against other people here. Thank you. If you have questions/concerns about my moderation decisions please get in touch via jonathan@bikeportland.org. Thanks. — Jonathan Maus**

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    • was carless January 15, 2016 at 9:52 am

      After what I experienced last week, I wouldn’t dare go down the Springwater without a full platoon of Marines as an escort. And a squadron of Apache gunships.

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    • John Liu
      John Liu January 15, 2016 at 7:25 pm

      I have, on occasion, ridden with a pistol in my jersey pocket. But they are heavy, and not very aero. Campagnolo needs to come out with a carbon fiber and titanium cycling pistol. Electric, and 12 speed, of course.

      Seriously, I don’t carry just because I’m going to ride the Springwater. But I wouldn’t ride there alone if I were a woman. And even as a 190 lb man who might or might not have a pistol in his jersey pocket, I don’t ride it alone after dark.

      Seriously folks. Sooner or later, a jogger, cyclist, or walker will be raped or beaten on this MUP. The place is attracting too many dangerous and disturbed people – yes, along with unfortunate and harmless people who just have no place to go – and it is just a matter of time.

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  • Todd Boulanger January 14, 2016 at 3:22 pm

    I suggest that bike commuters needing to use the Springwater MUP form a ‘biking school bus’ or ‘bike-pool’ wagon train to gather enough numbers to safely travel through the dangerous sections. Perhaps someone can find a nice dry place to sit and wait on either end while the group forms every 10 minutes and advertise it.

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    • Patrick January 14, 2016 at 4:24 pm

      This is a good idea, if we abandon the path it will just get worse.

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      • J_R January 14, 2016 at 8:48 pm

        It’s pretty damn discouraging when adult cyclists are afraid to ride on MUPs in public parks and have to resort to arranging convoys to feel safe in city and regional parks.

        Proof positive that cyclists are second class citizens when police won’t provide resources to make parks safe.

        Platinum, right?

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        • Middle of the Road guy January 15, 2016 at 10:51 am

          No. You are simply one of several impacted groups.

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        • Andrew Shaw-Kitch January 17, 2016 at 5:03 pm

          It is discouraging indeed, but coming together at a community to address a complicated is, I would argue, an adult thing to do. The lack of affordable housing in this city is at unprecedented epidemic levels, necessitating empathy and even perhaps the slight modification of behavior.

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    • Andrew Shaw-Kitch January 17, 2016 at 4:57 pm

      I think this is an amazing idea. There is obviously a lot of community engagement on this issue, and I think creating greater use in a way that makes users feel safe is much more productive than engaging in generalizations based on feelings (“avenue of terror”) and stereotypes.

      The logistics of this are easier than living outside in winter.

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    • GGG February 5, 2016 at 11:38 am

      I like the idea, but if I rode with a bunch of folks like myself it’d turn into pace line for sure. Bad juju!

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  • Jennifer Dynes January 14, 2016 at 3:24 pm

    Thank you, Jonathan. Your advocacy is so important.

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  • soren January 14, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    “If the Court finds that it is impossible for homeless individuals to secure shelter space on some nights because no beds are available, no shelter meets their disability needs, or they have exceeded the maximum stay limitations”

    It seems to me that this is an issue that the voting public could easily solve by agreeing to a very modest increase in taxes. Kudos to the courts and DOJ for their civil rights efforts!

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    • bjorn January 16, 2016 at 1:53 pm

      You assume that the same people who think it is a great idea to threaten strangers on the path will be able to play nice in a shelter situation. Seems doubtful that shelter space would get a lot of these people especially the real problem ones off the path especially if they aren’t allowed to drink and shoot up at the shelter and that usually isn’t how shelters work.

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  • Josh Chernoff January 14, 2016 at 3:28 pm

    A few people think that I’m a little paranoid but I have a small bottle of pepper spray that I got from fred meyers for $14 that I take with me everywhere. I prefer this method of self defense vs buying a weapon and possible killing someone. That and it is a great tool for dog attacks which you would be shocked how often that happens. Its cheap, non lethal and so long as the police and city don’t have your back you better have a plan B.

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    • canuck January 14, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      “I prefer this method of self defense vs buying a weapon and possible killing someone”

      But you did buy a weapon. One that could be lethal if used against someone with a compromised respiratory system. Lots of COPD and other issues amongst the homeless.

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      • Josh Chernoff January 14, 2016 at 3:45 pm

        If you have a compromised respiratory system I’d bet money your probably not assaulting people or deserver a face full of pepper spray.

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        • Patrick January 14, 2016 at 4:25 pm

          You have a natural right to defend yourself.

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          • Josh Chernoff January 14, 2016 at 4:42 pm

            Hey chillax buddy its Non GMO pepper spray.

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        • canuck January 19, 2016 at 7:18 am

          A compromised respiratory system from smoking and living in the elements over years. It doesn’t mean you are bed ridden, you can be just as belligerent and a hazard with emphysema as someone without.

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      • dan January 15, 2016 at 9:48 am

        So…if attacked by a Springwater camper, your advice would be to wait for him to get tired of hitting/stabbing you and then ride away?

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  • rdat January 14, 2016 at 3:29 pm

    We should invite the armed militants from their stronghold in Eastern Oregon to reclaim the land for the use of the People.

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  • Champs January 14, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    In my after-dark experience, you can be (rightfully) sketched out on pretty much any off-street trail in the city. The real difference is that the Springwater doesn’t much care about the time of day.

    It’s not like this everywhere.

    Recommended Thumb up 6

    • Tim January 14, 2016 at 4:46 pm

      I ride a very dark path through a park nearly every winter night and have for 10 years. Never seen any sketchy behavior. Maybe in other parts of the metro area, laws are enforced.

      Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Champs January 15, 2016 at 10:40 am

        I take it you’re not riding the Esplanade or I-205.

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  • Spiffy January 14, 2016 at 3:37 pm

    put very bright lights along the entire path… they hate well lit areas…

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    • Matt- Bike Milwaukie January 14, 2016 at 8:31 pm

      And cut back all the vegetation within a certain distance of the path so that there is a very clear line of sight.

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    • eli bishop January 15, 2016 at 1:48 pm

      It’s not the lights, it’s the camping. It’s lovely to not have bright lights everywhere, actually.

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  • Eric January 14, 2016 at 3:41 pm

    I guess it is going to take an “incident” to get some law enforcement action in this area of the Springwater. Who wants to volunteer to be the sacrificial victim?
    5 years ago I remember seeing a rope across the trail in that area near a few motley looking fellows. I swear they were waiting for a victim on a bike to pull the rope and clothesline the rider. I am a burly looking large male, so they must have passed on me.

    I stopped riding that section of the trail a couple years ago. I cut the corner and ride Johnson Creek Blvd all the way to 205 before jumping on the 205 trail southbound. I will take car traffic over territorial homeless psychos any day.

    Get some balls PPB, sweep that area already.

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    • jeff January 14, 2016 at 3:53 pm

      Nothing happened after the esplanade attack on two riders a year ago.

      Maybe if they start harassing cars we’ll see some change.

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    • Jessica January 14, 2016 at 8:54 pm

      There have been incidents. It has not changed a thing.

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  • Bald One January 14, 2016 at 3:43 pm

    I agree that the section of SWC MUP near 82nd is especially bad, but let’s not forget the state of the Vera Katz EE MUP. EE has a few more regular users that help push the illegal activity to the shadows, but it is just as rife with violence and drug use. I will not ride bikes with my kids along the East waterfront. And, the new Overlook / Greeley MUP connector (N-bound Greeley N of Interstate) is now impassable at times due to the new camp there, not to mention the growing junk pile of cars that are parked in the bike lane along Greeley – that’s dangerous as you have to take the lane with 50+mph trucks and cars speeding along.

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  • Matt January 14, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    Send in the drones…

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    • Eric Leifsdad January 14, 2016 at 6:18 pm

      Maybe just ones with lights and cameras would do it.

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    • q`Tzal January 14, 2016 at 9:27 pm

      Send in the skunks.

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      • B. Carfree January 14, 2016 at 11:06 pm

        Don’t bother, they’re here.

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      • Spiffy January 15, 2016 at 10:51 am

        because houseless people are afraid to smell bad?

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        • q`Tzal January 15, 2016 at 2:34 pm

          Have you ever BEEN on the “business end” of a skunk?
          It’s like saying “don’t worry about hearing protection, the blasting crew is using quiet dynamite”.

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    • El Biciclero January 15, 2016 at 11:22 am

      No need for drones. Just open it up to motor traffic and set the speed limit at 40 MPH. That will clear out any people of any kind.

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  • Buzz January 14, 2016 at 3:46 pm

    This is what the people who fight rails to trails projects fear the most. If it is allowed to continue unabated it will only get worse. These campers have to be trespassing on somebody’s property, post it and arrest them.

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    • rick January 14, 2016 at 7:18 pm

      Do the exact things happen on the THPRD Westside Trail?

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    • bjorn January 16, 2016 at 1:59 pm

      Yep allowing this kind of thing is going to make it that much harder for the Off Road Cycling committee to create new trails that are like the Greater Allegheny Passage trail. By the way when I rode that a couple years ago even close in by Pittsburgh we didn’t see anything like what you see here.

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  • Brent January 14, 2016 at 3:48 pm

    What are the legal actions citizen groups can take when there is no action from police or government to deal with people on public land? I wonder because I imagine a nonviolent, long term and concerted presence by a citizen group could deter some of the most offensive and dangerous behavior. “Take Back the Springwater Corridor”. But I wouldn’t want to be open to lawsuits.

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    • Jessica January 14, 2016 at 8:50 pm

      Lents Active Watch

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    • B. Carfree January 14, 2016 at 9:15 pm

      Someone could go to court and attempt to get a writ of mandamus to compel the cops to do their jobs. That’s only going to work if you can find a judge who commutes by bike and has some feel for what is going on. Quite the long shot, to say the least.

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      • Scott Kocher
        Scott Kocher January 14, 2016 at 11:57 pm

        The mandamus procedure could be applicable to a number of situations where a police — or parks or transportation or code enforcement — official fails to perform a duty. It would need to be a clear cut issue, not discretionary. If any of the other lawyers want to round-table this I would facilitate.

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    • Sara January 15, 2016 at 9:15 am

      I’d suggest advocating for housing for the homeless. That’s pretty much the most direct solution. Your time, money and insistence on the State affording people human dignity could really clean up that trail and make your Saturday bike rides more attractive.

      Recommended Thumb up 7

      • Hello, Kitty January 15, 2016 at 9:36 am

        Many of us do. However, this issue is about people (who may or may not have shelter) menacing and threatening others (who also may or may not have shelter). This behavior has to stop.

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      • Spiffy January 15, 2016 at 10:54 am

        many people don’t want to live in a house/apt/shelter…

        Recommended Thumb up 5

        • Hello, Kitty January 15, 2016 at 11:44 am

          I know I don’t. I want to live in a lair.

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        • davemess January 15, 2016 at 1:38 pm

          I think that’s one of the big issues here: the idea that there are many different types of homelessness.

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  • Pat Lowell January 14, 2016 at 3:51 pm

    This is why we can’t have nice things…

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  • Jim January 14, 2016 at 3:56 pm

    If you want to carry something to defend yourself, head to any hardware store and pick up a can of wasp spray. 20 foot range, cheap, and very effective.

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    • Josh Chernoff January 14, 2016 at 4:16 pm

      No joke the first thing I thought reading this was to install wasp hives all along the camps…

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      • Cora Potter January 14, 2016 at 5:08 pm

        Not wasps – but honeybee hives could accomplish the same sort of deterrent effect, would probably help with the restoration of native plants and would result in delicious honey.

        It could also be a really great small farming training program ….

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        • Cora Potter January 14, 2016 at 5:09 pm

          And, the honey bees probably wouldn’t bother folks that are biking/walking. They just wouldn’t be pleasant to camp next to.

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          • Grandpa January 14, 2016 at 7:53 pm

            Great idea. If food producing plants and flowers were planted along the corridor =, persons of forthright intentions would be more present and the trolls would slink away to unseen corners. I know blackberries are weeds, but before they were removed there would always be pickers along the trail in august.

            Recommended Thumb up 5

        • axoplasm January 15, 2016 at 11:27 am

          Ironically I was stung by bees twice times last summer while riding on the Springwater. With all that blackberry bees and wasps are not in short supply.

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    • Spiffy January 14, 2016 at 4:23 pm

      only if you want to violate federal law…

      stick with the appropriate defense product: pepper spray…

      Recommended Thumb up 4

    • Patrick January 14, 2016 at 4:27 pm

      I wouldn’t do that, it’s poisonous. Pepper spray is intended for people.

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  • Pete January 14, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    “there’s not enough officers”
    …there are not enough officers? Sorry, my OCD coming out. 😉

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  • redhippie January 14, 2016 at 4:29 pm

    Portland is becoming more and more a magnet for this kind of behavior. The more social services we provide and more liberal we are on criminal behavior, the more people will come from Seattle, LA, SF, etc. to take advantage of them. Mayor Hales announced his request for all city depts. to provide 5% in cuts to boost services for the homeless. This means the closure of my kids pool and a general decline in the services that I expect for my $6k/year in property taxes. Stack this on top of the ever growing number of no-go zones I have to go around and the two burglaries I’ve suffered in the last two years, and it is reaching an intolerable place.

    I have a choice. I can leave the City I have called home for 25 years and more to a Hillsboro, Beaverton or Lake O, or try to get the City to have a realistic balance of care for our needy and the quality of life for the rest of the citizens. I will say that this issue has me on the edge leaving the shanty towns of PDX for the more progressive utopians to clean up with out the financial resources of the workers.

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  • Tim January 14, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    I have been homeless and camped out. I didn’t need protection from police harassment, because no one knew I was there. No littering, no thieving, no harassment, no problems.

    The situation described is not homeless and camping, it is criminals taking over our public space. The protection from harassment of the homeless does not apply.

    Recommended Thumb up 111

    • Josh Chernoff January 14, 2016 at 4:55 pm

      Thank you!

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  • Chadwick F January 14, 2016 at 4:46 pm

    Portland Police Bureau now hiring:

    http://www.portlandoregon.gov/police/60019

    Recommended Thumb up 6

  • Ted Buehler January 14, 2016 at 4:51 pm

    If you want to see more police resources put on this problem, you might consider sharing your opinion with mayorcharliehales@portlandoregon.gov — he’s the member of city council responsible for police.

    Ted Buehler

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    • carol January 14, 2016 at 9:33 pm

      You can call the Mayor’s complaint line at 503-823=4127 and also the Parks Security line 503-823-5459. Lents Active Watch is also posting phone numbers for people to call in A big art of the issue is that the mayor decided to state that the ban on camping in the Parks Title 20 is to not be enforced. SCT is a Public Parks Property – Sometime around Dec 15 this happened. The public does not know about it. The people congregating in this area do appear to be camping in an area that is also listed as CLOSED for habitat restoration in a public Park. Due to the homeless emergency, the city is refusing to move people until there is shelter. it seems a task force of police, mental health workers and social workers can come to this area and assess each person and try to get them into the shelter space now available.

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  • Brad January 14, 2016 at 5:02 pm

    Why can’t the PPB just ride motorcycles up and down the Springwater on patrols? That’s no violation of anyone’s rights and the criminal elements will disperse if they know that the trail is routinely patrolled.

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    • Cora Potter January 14, 2016 at 5:25 pm

      They actually have ATV’s exactly for this purpose…

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      • J_R January 14, 2016 at 8:40 pm

        But to use the ATVs, they’d have to get out the trailers, drive to the area, unload the ATVs, drive the corridor, then do the reverse. Too complicated. Just use motorcycles or bicycles, for goodness sake. Get it done.

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        • Buzz January 14, 2016 at 10:33 pm

          cops seem to be allergic to bicycles for some reason

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        • Mao January 15, 2016 at 7:31 pm

          Give me money and I’ll put a little siren on my bike
          wee woo wee woo

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      • davemess January 15, 2016 at 3:52 pm

        I’ve actually seen them on the 205 path, but never the springwater.

        Recommended Thumb up 1

        • davemess January 16, 2016 at 8:47 am

          And last night I was followed for two miles on the 205 path by a transit police cruiser. He even went up the hill to the MAX stop over Foster!

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  • Tim Ferguson January 14, 2016 at 5:34 pm

    The thing to do is to make it more of a pain in the ass for the city to do nothing than to do something. Call 911 every time you see something on the trail that could possibly be interpreted as violent criminal behavior, whether it’s by a homeless person or anyone else. Report report report. Don’t worry about whether this is wasting 911 resources; allocating resources is the City’s job. Drive them batshit reporting, and they will figure out something so they don’t have to keep driving down there. I’m not saying make stuff up, but don’t wait until you are robbed or assaulted. Threat of robbery or assault warrants a 911 call. Menacing you off the trail is not a “quality-of-life” issue, and cities put out fires that are burning their asses. Ones that aren’t get put on the to-do list. Also, if the cops come down—and if someone’s threatening to kick your head in, they have to—often enough, folks might find somewhere else to go do crazy shit.

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    • Craig Gifen January 14, 2016 at 7:25 pm

      I had to call 911 last month at 11:00am on a Tuesday morning. Cops showed up exactly 17 minutes later. Meanwhile the tweaked out dude spreading his crap all over my front porch and trying to pick a fist fight with me (and later my elderly neighbors) finally left after I grabbed the baseball bat I keep near the door.

      But hey, I live in one of the hottest Portland neighborhoods I’m told!

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  • SE January 14, 2016 at 5:50 pm

    I ride Springwater from 111th to Sellwood about 2x a week. The mess and garbage is appalling.
    At Beggars Tick there is a semi permanent tent complex where I see smoke from fires most every time I pass it. Rangers pull in right there and pretend the campers are invisible.
    The PPD stance that the new law is tying their hands is bogus. They were ignoring the campers long before that.

    All that said … I’ve never had a problem with them. give em a friendly tolerant smile and they usually won’t hassle you. That cutting over to JCB at 82nd works for me too.

    The majority that were between 205 & 82nd now seemed to have moved next to Cartlandia.

    Rode down Stark today, that city park at se117 had campers in it too. Wake up Amanda and do your job.

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    • rachel b January 15, 2016 at 12:35 pm

      Good comment. But, ugh. Extorted smile. And friendliness.

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  • Eric Leifsdad January 14, 2016 at 6:01 pm

    Seems like “you don’t have to go home, but you can’t stay here” is fair whether you have a home or not. At least, “you can’t store stolen stuff here and act lawless” please.

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  • naess January 14, 2016 at 6:09 pm

    well obviously the answer is to turn the springwater over to odot.

    Recommended Thumb up 10

    • rick January 14, 2016 at 7:16 pm

      They did help with the rain garden by Barbur and SW 26th..

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    • Spiffy January 15, 2016 at 11:27 am

      they would remove the campers within hours because they’re distractions…

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  • rick January 14, 2016 at 7:16 pm

    Sad

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  • Leslie Carlson January 14, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    I’ve ridden the Springwater for years but as a woman, now avoid this section. It’s just not safe for a woman riding alone. A very good friend just gave up daily bike commuting from Gresham to SE Portland (after years of bike commuting) because she doesn’t feel safe riding it anymore. She’s now a daily driver. We’re sliding backwards here.

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    • B. Carfree January 14, 2016 at 9:27 pm

      The exact same issue has been bedevilling Portland’s little sister to the south, Eugene. The bike paths have all been taken over by aggressive homeless people, most of whom have serious addiction issues. Al of them carry knives and/or baseball bats. Eugene’s bike facilities are mostly very near the free food places, so it’s very convenient to take over a bike path underpass.

      Eugene has lost 37% of its cyclists back to cars since 2009, according to the US Census ACS. My wife won’t ride many places by herself any longer and I have several female friends who have either given up on riding after being harassed or are moving out of state.

      Of course when these fine fellows take over a street that is frequented by motorists, the cops crack down right now. It’s not a lack of ability, it’s a lack of will.

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    • Toby January 15, 2016 at 8:10 am

      One issue is that under the 205, it’s completely pitch black with nice wide areas for tents. During the winter when it’s dark out during peak commute times, that area is pretty scary. They have no lighting on the path. A simple fix to that area would be putting flood lights under 205 in the name of safety. Who do we talk to to make that happen?

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      • Chris I January 15, 2016 at 8:53 am

        The entire corridor should be lit. Do we have any major streets in Portland that are not lit?

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        • eli bishop January 15, 2016 at 1:51 pm

          The Springwater is more than a street. It’s a natural corridor. We don’t need bright lights everywhere. (Although I might make an exception for some under the 205 bridge.)

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      • davemess January 15, 2016 at 3:56 pm

        Surprisingly I’ve found the part under 205 to be some of the least problematic on the Springwater. I don’t know if it is territorial issues, or maybe ODOT does sweep it more often (they put in that big new metal gate a year or two ago on the east side of the highway), but I’ve been surprised how few people I see there (compared to other sections).

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    • rick January 15, 2016 at 10:50 am

      Have your friends heard of the Salem Area Trails Alliance?

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  • estherc January 14, 2016 at 7:40 pm

    These people that are harassing users of the Springwater are also making life a hell for other homeless who are defenseless. They’re predatory and they prey on other homeless too.

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  • BB January 14, 2016 at 8:19 pm

    PPD doesn’t seem to have any lack of resources to consistently target/harass/ bully people of color in the city. Maybe they can divert some of that energy?

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  • Jessica January 14, 2016 at 8:42 pm

    There are a lot of “homeless advocates” attacking PPB, ODOT, etc for “killing” these people by having them move or enforcing laws. It is mostly not even just livability issues but rampant crime. Menacing is not a livability issue……it’s a CRIME. Ditto with harrassment, threats, indecent exposure, illegal dumping, drug dealing, prostitution, drug manufacture (RV meth labs that are usually by the trail or other parks). They are all crimes. Kate Brown also had the homeless added to profiling legislation. You can’t support these so-called “advocates” (most of whom do not live in this part of town and do not know these people) or choose not to refute them in the news, on social media, and by calling local politicians and expect things to get better. Most of these people have family they could live with or other options and most have had low income housing (some more than once) but are unwilling to cease committing crimes and harming other people even to get a wa bed at night. They arent out there because they there arent enough shelter beds….that includes the sad “granny” they had on the news a couple weeks ago. Shes not that old……shes tore up because of drug abuse and when they offered her housing she turned it down. In your face Vahid Brown with you and your fake ass self. COP has basically told PPB that it’s hands off. Try calling nonemergency and Parks Security and reporting the specific criminal activity without using the term “homeless” was what my neighborhood watch recommended. I am going to try it. Get pictures….call PPB and make them dispatch…..avoid saying “homeless”….

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  • Jessica January 14, 2016 at 8:49 pm

    Sorry about the previous typos. Just wanted to add that PPB is staffed at levels so low they have not been seen since the 60s and in this part of Portland officers are stretched very thin in a very high crime area.

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  • so... January 14, 2016 at 9:13 pm

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
    the PPB doesn’t think assaults are connected to their homeless status. Sorry if the story didn’t make that more clear.Recommended 0

    All I know from this post is that there is an avenue of terror in Portland. If I travel on this avenue, will this mean I know what it is like to be a Syrian refugee?

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  • chaka January 14, 2016 at 9:16 pm

    Have any of the neighborhood groups being organized ever met with the people living along the Springwater Corridor? Talked to them? If police action is used as a threat to the people there, of course they will be hostile. Has there been any coordination or communication with local church or advocacy groups that might be providing resources (food, clothing), etc. to these groups? Outreach? Free sandwiches? Anything more (inter)personal than lobbying and police calls?

    Recommended Thumb up 3

    • Cora Potter January 14, 2016 at 10:17 pm

      Yes, yes, yes and yes….for many years, with much compassion and tolerance. There’s still a bunch of unhoused folks- a lot more recently that are just a-holes. Predatory, disrespectful, a-holes that are the ones that are inhumane to other people, including their non a-hole unhoused neighbors.

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    • davemess January 15, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      There has actually been some debate from local businesses about open air food distribution going on in the area, with the goal of keeping food distribution to indoor facilities (who also have many other resources).

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      • Alan 1.0 January 15, 2016 at 8:14 pm

        Is that about Cartlandia, or stuff like an “outreach sandwich truck” as SE mentioned in this thread, or ???

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        • davemess January 16, 2016 at 8:49 am

          I happens around Cartlandia, and it is a local church that does it.
          That’s about all I know.

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          • Alan 1.0 January 16, 2016 at 9:29 am

            Similar discussions around Esther Short Park in Vancouver. Good intentions, unintended consequences.

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  • q`Tzal January 14, 2016 at 9:23 pm

    You know… A lot of these camping areas are covered in non-native and invasive vegetation.

    I say we mow down and dig it all out and reestablish some good old fashioned Oregon wetlands. Small sections of swampy diversity for beavers and nutria. Streams, mini ponds, bio-swales, marshy soft wet ground that’ll suck a person’s leg in to the hip.

    Yup, definitely time to remove some invasive plants.

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    • rick January 15, 2016 at 10:49 am

      Nutria destroy Oregon wetlands.

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    • Mao January 15, 2016 at 7:35 pm

      No nutria, they are invasive
      Yes to froggies!

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      • Hello, Kitty January 15, 2016 at 7:44 pm

        Yes, frogs taste good too!

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        • q`Tzal January 15, 2016 at 10:34 pm

          We’re Humans and we eat all of the things.

          I do have to wonder, however, just how much alcohol was involved in the first decision to eat fugu.

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          • Hello, Kitty January 15, 2016 at 10:40 pm

            Probably not much. It’s the second guy I’m curious about.

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  • Ovid Boyd January 14, 2016 at 9:34 pm

    I bike on the Fairview-Gresham Trail every morning to work. I have had 7 flat tires in the last 6 months due to broken glass. It’s better than bike lanes, but the state of things is shocking. I lived in China for a decade, and there simply isn’t a homeless problem of this sort there with people living in tents. I don’t know why a developed country can not simply rent some warehouse or something to house people indoors.

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    • bjorn January 14, 2016 at 11:31 pm

      They probably wouldn’t want to allow people to shoot up or traffic in stolen goods in the warehouse so I doubt it would convince any of these folks to leave the trail.

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    • Spiffy January 15, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      you can’t house people in a warehouse due to zoning…

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      • Alan 1.0 January 15, 2016 at 6:57 pm

        false

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  • bjorn January 14, 2016 at 10:30 pm

    If someone were to set up a tent in the middle of 82nd avenue how long do you think the cops would allow that? Obstruction of the path can not be allowed.

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  • Paul Z January 14, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Sunday Parkways should route a ride through the problem areas to provide a wider audience to the problem.

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  • Waiting January 14, 2016 at 11:23 pm

    Fight for shelter capacity! Hales could have the guard here with heated tents and a mobile kitchen in less than 24 hours if they wanted to. When housed people along that corridor got flooded out recently, there were shelters and a welcoming center within hours. The humane approach is evidence based! Sweeps are sadistic and counterproductive. This is not bleeding heart hand wringing, but research and professional practice validated observations.

    Maus, you shame yourself when you stoop to propagating this Lars Larsonesque authoritarian BS.

    The law has changed based on the research. Advocate for humane, evidence-based, effective answers.

    And, BUY NOTHING TIL EVERONE HAS A ROOF.

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    • jeff January 14, 2016 at 11:58 pm

      so I shouldn’t eat lunch tomorrow?
      what does buying things have to do with, well, anything really?

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    • Hello, Kitty January 15, 2016 at 12:11 am

      It is not humane to allow predators to prey on people, regardless of the housing situation of perpetrator/victim. Can we agree on that?

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    • Random January 15, 2016 at 2:50 am

      “The humane approach is evidence based! Sweeps are sadistic and counterproductive.”

      And attitudes like this in Portland are why nothing will be done about the Springwater Trail, unlike in Boise, where a constant police presence mysteriously and sadistically allows people to use the Boise River MUP.

      Too bad – the Springwater used to be a nice bike trail, until we decided that ideology forbade us from stopping “predatory, disrespectful, a-holes” (in Cora’s words) from taking over the trail.

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    • Chris I January 15, 2016 at 8:56 am

      Have you ridden this section of the trail? Are you excusing this illegal behavior because the offending parties are homeless? Check your bias.

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      • Middle of the Road guy January 15, 2016 at 8:39 pm

        “Check your bias” essentially means “you have a different opinion than me but I am going to throw a shaming term at you so you are forced to defend yourself”.

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        • Hello, Kitty January 17, 2016 at 3:12 pm

          While I mostly concur with what Chris I expressed, I have to agree with you. “Check your _____” is almost as dismissive as NIMBY*. It is a way of telling someone you have no interest in what they think or why they might think it.

          Both should be banished from civil discourse.

          * I’d make an exception for “fly”, if you are kindly reminding a friend to zip up their pants.

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      • Chris I January 17, 2016 at 9:00 pm

        I was being facetious with the “check your ___” comment.

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        • Hello, Kitty January 17, 2016 at 11:39 pm

          I kind of thought you were, but wasn’t entirely sure.

          Check your fly!

          Ha ha! Made you look!

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 15, 2016 at 11:35 am

      Hi Waiting. Thanks for the comment. How exactly do you feel that I “stoop to propagating this Lars Larsonesque authoritarian BS.”? I’m not advocating for any course of action here. I am highlighting a concern many people have about this situation and I am bringing the issue to light so we can discuss solutions and productive steps forward.

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    • rachel b January 15, 2016 at 12:53 pm

      Sorry, Waiting. This is just way off, and–at this point in Portland history–a very tired and exasperating, generally-shaming trope. I’ve watched the ‘inhumane’ sweeps frequently, downtown. They go like this; police officers or park officials politely and mildly stand by, looking apologetic, sometimes for hours, while someone who independently decided to set up house in the middle of city sidewalk or park shrieks at at them..sometimes for hours.

      I think it’s insulting to the overwhelming majority of homeless people to expect so little of them. The population has definitely changed–Portland’s homeless population of the past was far more likely to abide by accepted standards of community behavior–willing and able. I remember more mentally ill people on the streets back then, too–so it’s not like we’ve gained a higher population of truly nonfunctional individuals.

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    • Spiffy January 15, 2016 at 1:19 pm

      wow, you seriously missed the point…

      this isn’t an article about people needing a roof…

      this article is about dangerous people that live on an active transportation corridor…

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  • Scott Kocher
    Scott Kocher January 14, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Using MUPs for encampments isn’t safe or fair to anyone. With misgivings, I signed the PBA petition:
    http://pdxcandobetter.com
    And, I’ll keep sending pictures and videos to rangercallcenter@portlandoregon.gov and amanda@portlandoregon.gov even though there is no response.

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    • Todd Hudson January 15, 2016 at 7:03 am

      Send pics and this story to KATU! The city responds when the media shames them.

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    • Spiffy January 15, 2016 at 1:23 pm

      I went to the “TELL CITY HALL YOU CARE” link and sent a note… but I changed it from an issue of houselessness to one of outdoor violence…

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  • SE January 15, 2016 at 7:39 am

    I’ve noticed a “rather chicken way” that Portland deals with the homeless along Springwater.

    When they find a trail leading back to a camping area , they bring in big boulders and block that path. Absolutely worthless response. Campers just make a new path a couple of feet away. Just a wasted measly effort on Portland’s part.
    Or the city cuts back the undergrowth. It grows back quickly. There are hundreds of spots to pitch a tent between 205 & Luther. (did you notice those homes backed to the MUP between Harney & Luther last year ? Fire scorched their rear wood fences. Always suspected ..well, you know who. 🙁 )

    It’s a 1/4 mile longer, but you can avoid most of the campers (when going West) by turning south at the 205 path intersection , take it to 92nd , follow to resumption of 205 path down to Johnson Creek Blvd. go West again on JCB and reconnect to Springwater MUP at Bell Station intersection.

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    • Bald One January 15, 2016 at 12:13 pm

      I think it’s actually ODOT (not CoP) who has been placing the boulders in typical camping locations under freeways: I-5 along the Willamette; I-205 at Foster. You are right about the rest of it – they only have so many rocks and never completely exclude folks. It seems goofy, what will they do when they need to get a lift under there to inspect the under side of the freeway bridge?

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  • Tom January 15, 2016 at 7:42 am

    San Jose only addressed camping besides creeks only after an inviromental lawsuit was threatened. Then they took swift action. A waterway inviromental lawsuit approach carries weight, and avoids any profiling claim. Cities often only respond to lawsuits.

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  • Lester Burnham January 15, 2016 at 8:31 am

    The city does not care. I’ve written them about this very problem and all you get is a canned response about “not enough beds” for the homeless. Doesn’t matter that taxpayers are losing use of a resource we pay for.

    I don’t want to ride the Springwater anymore. It’s just too depressing.

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    • Random January 15, 2016 at 9:38 am

      “I don’t want to ride the Springwater anymore. It’s just too depressing.”

      Could be worse – can you imagine owning a house next to the trail?

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      • Lester Burnham January 15, 2016 at 2:13 pm

        No I can’t. At least I can just avoid the path and ride somewhere else. Living near there must be awful now.

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  • TM January 15, 2016 at 8:31 am

    re: BUY NOTHING TIL EVERONE HAS A ROOF

    … so how exactly are they going to buy the roof?

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  • redhippie January 15, 2016 at 8:32 am

    Hey Jonathan, What about asking the mayoral candidates about this situation. Ask them for an interview and a comment. Help make this a Portland campaign issue.

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  • SE January 15, 2016 at 8:49 am

    chaka
    H Has there been any coordination or communication with local church or advocacy groups that might be providing resources (food, clothing), etc. to these groups? Outreach? Free sandwiches? Anything more (inter)personal than lobbying and police calls?Recommended 1

    actually I have seen on many occasions an outreach sandwich truck parked at Springwater & Luther. There are also PortaPottys and dumpsters along the trail. Campers don’t seen to use the dumpsters, the ground is more convenient ? The PP at The Floodplane parking doesn’t get cleaned out often and I can’t stand to use it.

    gonna ride SWC today and see what’s up ? maybe try diverting South at Luther and going around Cartlandia to 82nd and short jog North back to SWC ?

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  • Kittens January 15, 2016 at 8:56 am

    Obviously the police are using this as an excuse to whine about not having enough money.

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  • Carlos Covarrubias January 15, 2016 at 8:58 am

    *I can’t help but feel like this article assumes criminality is connected to homelessness. Bike advocates always claim make the city more bike friendly helps low income people but this article doesn’t seemed concerned with homeless justice at all; it seems like the agenda of this article is to criminalize it.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 15, 2016 at 9:34 am

      Hi Carlos,

      I understand why you would feel that way. I assure you that is not what this article is about, nor is that what I assume. This article is about the conditions on the path and the behavior of the people who are living near it and how those two things are making users of the path feel. I acknowledge — and we should all acknowledge — that it is a complicated issue that is difficult to embrace and identify without touching some sensitivities on either end of the spectrum.

      If there’s a particular passage you find inappropriate or inaccurate, or anything in the article you feel is unfair, please point it out and I will consider edits. Thanks.

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      • Carlos Covarrubias January 15, 2016 at 11:04 am

        ‘How about avenue of terror?’ That’s a little inflammatory don’t you think? Also all this talk of how to charge people with more crimes? Why not connect them with resources? The entire mantra of this article screams praise for gentrification via mass incarceration.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 15, 2016 at 11:44 am

          Thanks Carlos. I disagree with you.

          That “terror” phrase is what local residents are calling this section of path. I felt it was warranted to use it in the headline. As for “all this talk”… I’m not in charge of what people say in comments. People can say whatever they want – as long as it doesn’t cross certain lines. I have read all the comments and I’m deleting/editing them as necessary.

          And you ask, “Why not connect them with resources?”..I think that’d be a great step to take..Bikeportland is just not the organization to do that work.

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          • soren January 15, 2016 at 12:07 pm

            The decision to use it in the title comes across as a tacit endorsement of the phrase, in my opinion.

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            • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 17, 2016 at 2:57 pm

              Thanks for sharing your opinion Soren. My opinion is different.

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            • Andrew Shaw-Kitch January 17, 2016 at 5:35 pm

              I have to agree. The KION article reads “Springwater Corridor Trail: Avenue of Terror,” creating a cartoonish depiction of both cycling conditions on the entire trail and homelessness. The ludicrous equation is not hard for the reader to unpack: the presence of people living on the trail=terrorism. The KOIN article uses the important qualification “some” that BP does not “has now been nicknamed ‘The Avenue of Terror’ by some users.” Fear is the easiest way to divide opinion and demonize oppressed populations, and KION links to BP in order to justify what is inflammatory language.

              These are the conversations happening in the Black Lives Matter movement as well as other progress movements that take an intersectional viewpoint toward forms of oppression.

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        • Hello, Kitty January 15, 2016 at 11:49 am

          Carlos — this is a serious question: How many of those out on the street have not yet had contact with the organizations intended to help them? I.e. how many remain “unconnected”? (This is a different question than whether those people have received meaningful assistance).

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    • Hello, Kitty January 15, 2016 at 9:40 am

      I’d be willing to bet that the vast majority of people here are compassionate about those who find themselves without a place to live. This article is focused on people who threaten others. I think we can agree that this behavior is unacceptable, regardless of who is doing it and where they live.

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      • Cora Potter January 15, 2016 at 10:13 am

        I agree with this statement 100%. I think they tendency to broadly group and broad-brush portray unhoused folks is actually far more prevalent, tenacious and insidious among “homeless advocates” than it is among folks who, unfortunately, have to point out the destructive and predatory behaviors of a few individuals and groups of unhoused folks, because they live near it and/or have to deal with the outcomes of these behaviors frequently, if not daily. Advocates do our unhoused community members absolutely no favors when they defend these behaviors in the course of their advocacy.

        Also, if you come from generational poverty and/or have lived among or spent time with unhoused folks in a meaningful way – you know there’s what they tell you and what is really going on. They’re probably the most convincing deliverers of sales pitches society has. It doesn’t reduce the need – but it does mean you have to learn to sift through the BS to determine what’s a need/crisis and what is a grift. (td:lr poor folks lie convincingly to get resources or avoid consequences)

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        • rachel b January 15, 2016 at 12:57 pm

          Well said, Cora.

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    • soren January 15, 2016 at 10:07 am

      And any piece that tangentially refers to the houseless immediately attracts comments where people fantasize about “getting even” by killing or injuring other human beings. For example, in this comment thread someone discussed whacking people with a bag full of pennies and someone else suggested spraying roach spray in person’s eyes.

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      • Pat Lowell January 15, 2016 at 10:23 am

        Nobody’s suggesting we attack homeless people. We’re talking about defending ourselves against people who are threatening us. Housing situation is irrelevant.

        Recommended Thumb up 28

        • soren January 15, 2016 at 11:31 am

          This article specifically discusses drug use, trash, tents, and verbal harassment. I do not believe that any of these things justifies spraying pesticide into someone’s face.

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          • John Liu
            John Liu January 15, 2016 at 11:56 am

            Sooner or later, people will be physically attacked on this path, to an extent and in a manner that the city and its residents will find impossible to ignore.

            Recommended Thumb up 12

            • Cora Potter January 15, 2016 at 3:28 pm

              We’ve actually had accounts of physical attacks on our neighborhood facebook page. Also, when they put glass or other debris into the roadway with the intent of disabling a bike, and probably the unintentional outcome of a few cuts and bruises, that’s really an attack as well. It has the potential to cause injury.

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            • bjorn January 16, 2016 at 2:05 pm

              It has already happened, a guy attacked a cop with a 3 foot crowbar and the cop ended up shooting him.

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      • Grandpa January 16, 2016 at 7:22 am

        This old fart has been menaced while riding on the trail and I devised a means of defense. I never advocated its use and mentioned that it had never been used. My mention of the item was in response to an inquiry, not the drum beat toward vigilante violence which you ascribe to me. Your mischaracterize my post is an insult.

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      • Grandpa January 16, 2016 at 7:33 am

        I wish this blog had an edit function….

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      • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 17, 2016 at 2:58 pm

        soren,

        I’ve deleted and/or edited comments where people discuss using weapons of any kind. I have left some discussion of weapons when people talk about how they feel a need to protect themselves in general. If you see specific comments you feel have crossed a line, please send me the link I will look at it.

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        • Grandpa January 18, 2016 at 6:23 am

          I am fine with how you moderate this forum. If the worst thing that happens to me is that I get a post deleted, it is a good day.

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        • Andy K January 18, 2016 at 8:11 am

          A post titled “Avenue of Terror” and shared wih thousands has more potential to incite violence than a buried comment seen by a few dozen.

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          • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 18, 2016 at 8:26 am

            I think people are smarter than that Andy K. Context matters. I wanted to balance the power of that phrase with a need to make sure readers were aware of how severe the issues had gotten.

            Now I’m thinking of deleted the phrase altogether because I feel like, unfortunately, people are spending more time worrying about my choice of headline than thinking about how we can address this issue.

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            • Andy K January 18, 2016 at 4:38 pm

              Thanks for the reply Jonathan. I don’t think the smart, informed BP readers will generally be influenced by just a title.

              Thank you for writing on a sensitive topic, even though you don’t have all the answers, while at the same time showing us that word choice matters and you care about it enough to engage your readers it in the comments.

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        • soren January 19, 2016 at 9:32 am

          Thank you!

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  • Craig Giffen January 15, 2016 at 9:10 am

    I really think the best solution is for us all to go down there and have a big healing energy circle with the drug users and folks running the bike chop shops. Then….the problem will magically go away via the power of positive thinking. Oh, we need to be sure to “have a dialogue” with the folks chopping up our bikes, can’t forget that.

    I’ve been a proud flaming liberal, but the Portland’s inaction on crime is turning me into my conservative parents.

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    • Keviniano January 15, 2016 at 11:32 am

      I think you may be confusing new age bunk with liberalism.

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      • Hello, Kitty January 17, 2016 at 3:24 pm

        Well, let’s see…

        “healing energy circle” — new agey
        “drug users” — libertarian
        “bike chop shops” — small businesses (Democrats, Republicans, basically everyone)
        “magically” — more new agey
        “power of positive thinking ” — even more new agey
        “have a dialogue” — liberal
        “chopping” — chefs
        “forget” — senior citizens
        “flaming” — homosexual, possibly pyros, or even the fireworks lobby; unclear
        “liberal” — more liberal
        “inaction” — lazy people
        “conservative” — conservative

        Yeah, I’d have to agree. That post was all over the place.

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  • Oliver January 15, 2016 at 9:34 am

    It looks like I need to expand my “Nowhere south of Powell” policy to riding my bicycle as well.

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  • matthew January 15, 2016 at 9:44 am

    I ride this trail somewhat frequently. I have received more smiles and handwaves from presumed ‘residents’ than mean, much less intimidating glances, and never have I been threatened or felt as though my safety were compromised. I can’t help but think that a lot of stigmas are fueling the fire that has ended up with the astonishing name ‘avenue of terror.’ Like all stigmas and prejudices, the anti-homeless sentiment can be easily broken down by engaging and listening to the folks that for a myriad of reasons sleep outdoors.

    I acknowledge that safety is the central issue here, and yet almost all comments here are focused the safety of those privileged enough to have stable housing and who ride a bike, and give no regard to the safety of homeless folks. Is it “safe” to wear the same wet clothes for a week? Is it “safe” for a diabetic to sleep out of doors for 20 years? THESE ARE ALSO MEMBERS OF OUR COMMUNITY; if they act out at others whom they perceive more privileged it is likely because WE MAKE THEM FEEL LIKE THEY AREN’T.

    We all know this is “a complex issue,” and yet most of us just want to simplify it by involving the police. And Marc, I need to call you out for this: “There is a major public health issue brewing here.” NO! HOMELESSNESS IS< AND HAS ALWAyS BEEN, A MAJOR PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE, it does not become an issue just because it has started affecting you.

    Channel all this hatred and bigotry into learning and organizing against the evil doers in the world, and you will see that the homeless are at the bottom of that list. Be nice to eachother.

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  • SE January 15, 2016 at 9:53 am

    when I read the heading “Springwater path’s ‘Avenue of Terror’ persists, but police hands are tied” , I thought immediately it was another of MA’s hyperbole attempts. disappointing to see that it was actually JM’s. 🙁

    Terror ? really ? do you have any real concept of what TERROR is ?

    Maybe it’s upsetting, maybe agitating , maybe disturbing ? But TERROR ? Oh give me a break. It belonged on The National Examiner rags BREAKING NEWS.

    That type of headline devalues the credibility of BP.O

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    • Brian January 15, 2016 at 11:04 am

      “Things have gotten so bad that local residents have dubbed it the “Avenue of Terror.”
      He was simply quoting what the local residents have termed the Springwater Corridor. He didn’t invent the nickname. “Terror” by definition is something that causes strong feelings of fear. Who are we to say that others should not consider it terrifying to now use the SC? Do you think it would be terrifying for a 12 year old to walk down the SC? How about the woman who stopped using it as a bike commute route?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 15, 2016 at 11:40 am

      SE,

      That “terror” thing isn’t my idea or my words. It’s taken from a quote that was a source for this story. I decided to use that quote in the headline because I felt it communicated the severity of the situation.

      In your opinion, this situation isn’t “terror”.. but in other people’s minds, it is. And FWIW “Avenue of Terror” is a nickname for a place, no one has directly said they felt terrorized. splitting hairs, i know, but that’s what what we do with language sometimes.

      hope this clarifies things. thanks.

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    • Spiffy January 15, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      terror is defined as extreme fear… so yes, the title is spot on… people are in such extreme fear for their lives that they’re avoiding the area…

      terror is absolutely the correct term…

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      • rachel b January 15, 2016 at 4:23 pm

        Yes. And can we please call it quits once and for all for the “What–are you such a selfish baby you can’t put up with a little (fill in blank here…invective, threat of abuse, poop, glass, human blockade, property destruction, theft, vermin-attracting filth, territoriality, etc.) remarks? It’s not weird or prissy or selfish to expect others to abide by the social contract, to not destroy public property, to not threaten, harass and annoy. Cora hit the nail on the head–if you have lived with manipulative and/or sociopathic personalities, you’re more likely to recognize them and approach those people with a healthy load of skepticism in your attempt to ‘help’ them. Portland, through its aggressive inaction and indiscriminate Barney-like ideals, really has become the wan attractor–the proverbial patsy, schmuck and mark to beat ’em all.

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        • are January 17, 2016 at 3:55 pm

          some of these people have been cheated by the so-called social contract

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          • rachel b January 17, 2016 at 10:18 pm

            Tell me about it, are. You aren’t helping anyone by enabling and tacitly endorsing anti-social and destructive behavior. I know this from firsthand experience.

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          • JeffS April 4, 2016 at 2:47 pm

            You mean they haven’t been provided with free housing?
            Most all of us fall into that category.

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  • Andy K January 15, 2016 at 10:10 am

    If people are afraid to ride it, then this is probably the most crucial “bike fix” in the whole metro area.

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    • rick January 15, 2016 at 10:18 am

      Except for ODOT’s deadly TV Highway

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      • Spiffy January 15, 2016 at 1:35 pm

        nobody cares when drivers attack people…

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        • Hello, Kitty January 15, 2016 at 1:46 pm

          Of course they do. What a ridiculous statement, on all levels.

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  • Anna G January 15, 2016 at 10:34 am

    There is a petition on change.org to open wapato as an emergency shelter. Those who commented that that the cops can’t do anything without a place for campers to be moved to, are right, even though there is criminal behavior involved. One can also email Mayor Hales and Deborah Kaufoury on this, even though both are dragging their feet as far as actually providing shelter. Perhaps there’s power is numbers, ie if everyone who commented here emailed them….

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    • Spiffy January 15, 2016 at 1:36 pm

      “Those who commented that that the cops can’t do anything without a place for campers to be moved to, are right, even though there is criminal behavior involved.”

      that’s wrong…

      there’s a shelter called jail where they house the criminals…

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  • Mark M January 15, 2016 at 11:22 am

    Jonathan, Thanks for sharing the story.

    Most recently someone has removed the 5 trash filled shopping carts that were parked on the paved surface which makes it a little better. And the giant tent that was erected on the corner of JCB and Springwater is finally gone.

    I’ve just decided to cut around the section of Springwater between 82nd and Flavel at night by going through the quiet neighborhood side streets but I do worry for more vulnerable users like woman, young adults that venture through there unaware of the possibility for dangerous encounters.
    Not that they can’t protect themselves but it could get serious real quick!

    I Can’t wait for the time change and more day light later, maybe that will disperse them out more and more people using the corridor.

    I would like to request that everyone that uses it make a call to PPB to complain about the dangers. I think the more people that actively protest to PPB they will eventually have to do something.

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  • Carlos Covarrubias January 15, 2016 at 11:26 am

    I mean didn’t the PPB just kill a homeless man in 2014 on the Springwater Corridor? Nicholas Glendon Davis? Calling the cops can be a death sentence for homeless people with mental health issues and that’s essentially what you all are pushing for. And why? So you aren’t uncomfortable riding your $2k bikes back to Sellwood? The fake causes in this town are unbelievable. Prison/jail are not rehabilitative. I can attest to that directly

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    • Hello, Kitty January 15, 2016 at 11:35 am

      I totally hear what you’re saying. The police are not the right agency to be dealing with the mentally ill. Prison is woefully unrehabilitative. However, if calling the police is out, how would you recommend dealing with people who threaten violence against others? Would “connecting them to services” resolve the issue? (And yes, I do realize that the people we’re discussing here are a small minority of those who find themselves without shelter.)

      I also think you may have misjudged the demographic of people on this forum.

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      • Carlos Covarrubias January 15, 2016 at 12:07 pm

        You’re not going to like my answer but frankly the analysis that this article takes needs to encompass a more comprehensive perspective. This issue IS DIRECTLY related to housing in Portland. Many of the homeless have been pushed out of downtown by influxes of newcomers who complain about visible homelessness in the city’s core. The problem with that is that they have been driven away from the majority of the homeless, mental health, and drug addiction services which have historically been downtown. Now you have people who are camped out on the Springwater corridor and out in North Portland and are no longer in realistic reach of their respective social workers. The City knows they are failing our homeless by pushing them out and the police are responding less because the City so far has not come up with solution to the crisis. Obviously homeless people in parts of town they haven’t historically been in is shocking to residents, new and old, and so the cry seems to be louder now. Mix that up with the droves of folks who move here for our ‘bike culture’ and are finding they are the victims of petty bike theft, which the cops never prioritize, makes a very angry group of rabble rousers. But the reality is Portland has always had a bike theft problem, its just part of having a place that has an over abundance of bicyclists. I’ve lived in Portland my entire life and have several bikes stolen, that’s kinda just the way it is. Bottom line is if you really need to blame one particular group, blame the folks who complained so many of the homeless out of downtown Portland. That’s all I have to say. And btw you didn’t have to quote that dude, that was your choice as the editor, Maus. People say inflammatory shit all the time but the media doesn’t publish them unless they are looking for click-bait. Peace

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 15, 2016 at 1:19 pm

          thanks Carlos. Points taken.

          FWIW we are planning to be out there to talk with people living outside along the trail as soon as possible. we’ll have more coverage next week.

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        • Hello, Kitty January 15, 2016 at 1:44 pm

          That’s OK, I don’t like a lot of the answers here.

          Your points are all well taken, and explain why people are camped along the trail — they have been pushed out of other areas, including (and especially) downtown, and they have to go somewhere. I get that. I don’t like it, but then they probably don’t either.

          However, none of that is justification for behaving in a threatening and menacing way. I’m not complaining about people trying to hold on as best they can in an untenable situation. I’m complaining about those who do not follow one of the most basic rules of modern human society — thou shalt not do violence unto others.

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        • bjorn January 15, 2016 at 8:23 pm

          This issue has nothing to do with housing, you don’t have to have a house to use a trash can and you certainly don’t have to have one to not intimidate strangers who are trying to use a MUP. The people who are the problem on this path are not just randomly between homes, they are violent and antisocial and putting a roof over them isn’t going to fix anything.

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    • Cora Potter January 15, 2016 at 3:35 pm

      My bike is my primary form of transportation and it cost nowhere near $2k. I don’t own an automobile. I use the Springwater between 122nd and 80th, weekly. The cost of a flat tire often means that I may go without lunch on a day when I have to work away from the office and can’t have a packed lunch. It’s not about discomfort. It’s about allowing criminal activity to go unchecked and the externalized costs of allowing these folks to take over the Springwater in East Portland falls squarely on the shoulders of other neighborhood residents – in a part of town where the median income is less than 50% of the citywide average.

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    • bjorn January 16, 2016 at 9:29 pm

      The cops were called because that man was assaulting people and he went after the cop with a three foot crowbar. I am not saying it was a god thing he was shot but let’s not pretend that he wasn’t a violent criminal whose crimes directly led to his death and are an example of the fear inducing violence that people are upset about.

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  • Chuck January 15, 2016 at 11:39 am

    Though it’s not nearly as pressing as Springwater, I’ve been surprised at how cavalier the city has been w/r/t the bike path that is adjacent the shantytown on Greeley. There are cars parked on or driving up that bike path to deliver goods to that camp on a regular basis and it’s only a matter of time before there’s some kind of serious collision, if there hasn’t been already. That’s to say nothing of the bike lane on Greeley that is almost always obstructed now by what look like non-functioning travel trailers that the city is apparently allowing.

    Long story short, the cops aren’t even trying to enforce these laws anymore, and I’d guess it has much more to do with directives from the Mayor as he attempts to rebrand himself for his next gig than it does police staffing levels.

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  • Rina January 15, 2016 at 11:45 am

    We cannot expect the police to perform random sweeps on homeless individuals. What we can expect is that when we call in a crime related to transients they will respond.

    The county prohibits camping in areas not specifically designated for such use call 503-742-4452 or file a complaint online.

    Accumulation of household trash of any amount on property is a violation of the Clackamas County solid waste management call 503-742-4452.

    Dumping trash, litter, refuse, or debris in any amount is a violation of the chapter 10.03 of the Clackamas County solid waste and waste management code subject to civil penalties and or a $3500 fine call 5035576391 or email Roadconcerns@Clackamas.us.

    Report any illegal activity, such as fighting in public, harassment, drug use, stolen bicycles, anything else that applies, to the nonemergency police number 503-823-3333. They will respond.

    Call consistently day in and day out and the criminals, with homes or without, will not return if they know the police will be there everyday checking on a criminal report.

    Most of the bike path south of Luther is Clackamas county. I can post the correlating complaint like for multnomah county as well. Coming soon…

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    • Rina January 15, 2016 at 7:39 pm

      Correction: 503-823-3333 is the multnomah county and police non-emergency. The Clackamas non-emergency line is 503-655-8211. Both will respond to a complaint in the area of the “avenue of terror”. Give em a call. I was surprised to see so many people have been harassed on the trail and not reported it. When reported, the police will show up and arrest the guilty party…or at least move them along.

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  • Beth January 15, 2016 at 12:48 pm

    All I know is that I will no longer ride the Springwater unless I am in a LARGE group of folks. The last two times I rode it alone (as recently as early winter 2015, which is when I last rode alone out there), I was blocked by someone who then tried to wrestle my bike away from me. I kicked him hard in the crotch and sped away, terrified.
    I still enjoy riding from Portland to Gresham — it’s a pleasant ride with bagels and coffee at the other end — but these days I feel safer on Marine Drive.

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    • Alan 1.0 January 15, 2016 at 2:16 pm

      Did you report it to the police? Just curious what they said, and whether they have more reports, no shame if you did not (I might not, either).

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      • Beth January 15, 2016 at 10:39 pm

        I didn’t report the first one, as he just blocked my way and stared me down menacingly. When he stepped too close I told him to get away. When he stepped closer again I kicked him in the shn.
        i reported the second incident to the police but only after I’d pedaled a mile down the road and caght my breath. The police told me to tell them where, and asked if I felt safe going back to the spot and waiting for them. I said no. They said they couldn’t help me unless i could point out the man to them. I ddn’t have the energy to deal with that, so I hung up and went home. End of story.
        And I don’t ride the Springwater alone anymore.
        I doubt that anything meaningful will change the situation out there until the courts allow police to actually differentiate between homelessness and criminal behavior, and there is funding to hire additional officers to patrol these public areas so they can be fe to travel in broad daylight.
        End of rant.

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  • Adam January 15, 2016 at 1:54 pm

    It’s the exact same scene under the Steel Bridge on the Waterfront Park downtown. About 30 or so tents, trash strewn everywhere, and transients in varying states of undress staggering all over the narrow bike path, glowering at you for having the audacity to be riding to work on it.

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  • eli bishop January 15, 2016 at 1:58 pm

    This is starting to make me realize why I don’t ride as much as I used to. The Springwater is a huge part of my commute, especially homeward bound. I hate tangling with the “residents”, and I hate cleaning up glass on the path. There was a time when the Springwater was positively magical at night, but I don’t feel that way anymore.

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  • Damian Miller January 15, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    OMG, this comment thread has me heartsick.

    Yes, our city is getting rougher. Remember, we are in the middle of a citywide housing crisis, as Michael has been documenting on this site.

    Many, many people who were once marginally housed are now living outside. As some others have pointed out, if you have a place to live and a bike, you get to *ride past* the menacing behavior that can result when people’s lives are unraveling. Imagine having to live in it, and with it.

    In our law and zoning, we, as a city and a state, have decided to prioritize the right of landlords to collect as much rent as the market will bear in a growing city with a housing shortage. This is the natural consequence.

    You may think you are safe, that this is not your problem, but just wait until your lease is up!

    Can we please stop imagining physical harm to the homeless? And longing for ODOT’s intervention? Have we lost our minds? Do you not see the way in which their unannounced sweeps of homeless camps comes from the same callous disregard they show for our lives on the road?

    If anything, we need to be showing up when other people are pointing out the agency’s ruthless prioritization of automotive convenience (http://www.golocalpdx.com/news/activists-plan-protest-of-odot-sweeps). If we are ever going to change the agency’s leadership and perspective, we need all the allies we can get.

    Have a listen to last Saturday’s Legislative Housing Emergency Forum. There is legislation pending in Salem, in the coming legislative session, to legalize inclusionary zoning, and prohibit no-cause evictions, among other things.

    https://vimeo.com/151329562?utm_source=email&utm_medium=vimeo-cliptranscode-201504&utm_campaign=29220

    Don’t want to get see your neighbor’s mental illness, addiction, or domestic violence situation playing out on your local MUP? Make sure they have a roof over their head.

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    • Random January 15, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      Since we can’t fix anything without a root-and-branch reform of society, I guess bicyclists will just have to stop using the trail – or at least those cyclists who aren’t young, fit, males.

      Also, what does ODOT and their evil pro-car agenda have to do with this? They aren’t the agency responsible for the Springwater Trail.

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      • Damian Miller January 15, 2016 at 7:53 pm

        So, um, root-and-branch reform of society would be nice, but reasonable legislation on tenants’ rights and inclusionary zoning would go a *long* way. And these bills have a decent chance in the coming short session. Especially if legislators hear from all the housed people in the neighborhoods who are also being impacted by the crisis.

        Re: ODOT, some prior commenters were hoping for the kind of indiscriminate sweeps ODOT has conducted of the 205 camps. Even if all you care about is not encountering desperate and disturbed people on your commute, please think for a moment about the impact of unannounced sweeps in a city with no available shelter beds. Camp residents’ possessions, documents, medication, and identification are often lost or confiscated. Result: homeless people are moved from one place to another, but are more desperate and disturbed than before.

        https://www.facebook.com/events/220896891577066/

        I was struck by this protest announcement: “ODOT: Stop the Terror!” In part because it sounds like something I could have penned re: Barbur. But also because it reframes this article’s title, re: who is actually experiencing terror under Portland’s relentless gentrification.

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      • NF January 17, 2016 at 3:33 pm

        “what does ODOT and their evil pro-car agenda have to do with this?”

        A lot. This conflict is between two marginal groups fighting over leftover scraps of the last car-free space. While we’re all (necessarily) paying attention to this, ODOT is busy spending our resources not on more bike infrastructure to bring relief to such conflicts, but on signs for raised speed limits: 400 new signs, each costing $1,700, according to OPB. Add other costs to that, like the cost of emergency personnel called out to crashes.

        Meanwhile, our electeds host wonderful & affirming community events. While stopping hate is MUCH needed, publicity around these events makes it trickier to hold our “hearts-in-the-right-place” electeds accountable for doing ODOT’s bidding, even when it’s removing some of the little bit of bike infrastructure we have. Let me be clear: Mayors & officials who abide by making roads even *less* safe for me to bike on are not showing me “love.”

        redhippie brings up heading to the suburbs, which leads me to this point: There’s another demographic complicit but impervious in all this, whose voices aren’t quoted in the article. It includes the car-commuters demanding (& getting) wider roads in places like Washington County. Will wider roads make neighborhoods more pleasant, affordable & livable? No, & they exacerbate conflicts already occurring, like at the Springwater Trail, by removing even more livable space. Do car-commuters care about that? They seem to want more land to be eaten up for & by their cars. Ironically, they want this because they hate spending 20 extra minutes sitting in their cars. Why don’t they just bike or take transit instead?

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        • 9watts January 19, 2016 at 10:09 pm

          Excellent comment. Thanks!
          And for the blog post your name links to as well.

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    • estherc January 15, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      NO one is condemning homeless people. They are discussing people that are harassing them on the trail, have obvious evidence of bike theft, other criminal activity.Being homeless does not mean behaving in an antisocial manner. You do a great disservice to homeless people when you equate the two.

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  • k7ty January 15, 2016 at 4:07 pm

    You can now report campsites to the city with one point of contact. See

    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/index.cfm?&c=69333

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  • SE January 15, 2016 at 5:20 pm

    I just got home from 2 rides on the “Avenue of Terror” (here-forth abbreviated to AOT) . And I survived. After reading this thread I expected an experience similar to Captain Willard going upriver. Fortunately the natives were huddled down in their nylon huts.
    (most likely reading this thread). Lots of bikes out there today (they must NOT have read this thread).

    Anyway, I think AOT is not currently correct, it should be “Avenue of Soggy Trash” (AOST) . It’s everywhere. Stripped bike frames too.

    When headed West I tried the Harney bypass at 82nd , worked like a charm. Didn’t even have to view the “less than beautiful” people.

    Got to thinking about all this. In my life, if a couple of events had gone differently, I could be out there too. The movie “Run Lola Run” made a big impression on how small events can completely change an outcome.

    Talk of weapons and mayhem is just more trash, have a little compassion for them. Most campers aren’t there by choice.

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    • rachel b January 15, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      Did you read Beth’s comment?

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    • cory elia January 15, 2016 at 7:21 pm

      Yes they are. I was a drug addict who lived on that same strip of the bike trail. They are all tweakers and heroin addicts.

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      • are January 17, 2016 at 4:01 pm

        all

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    • rachel b January 15, 2016 at 7:41 pm

      Also, many are there by choice, of course they are! It’s disingenuous to say otherwise. http://www.opb.org/news/article/overlooks-homeless-campers-want-to-stay-but-neighbors-say-no/

      I really don’t understand the shaming of people who are afraid or reluctant to ride through these glass-and-trash-and-poop-strewn (mainly male-dominated) trailside redoubts.

      I don’t think someone blocked on a path and forced to struggle for their bike really needs to get tougher (esp. if they kicked the guy in the balls–well done, Beth!), or–wow!–more compassionate of the homeless. I don’t think anyone needs to be shamed because–the gall!–they expect their city to be a safe and orderly place.

      I think that attitude of “Put up with it, you sissy! Be compassionate!” is one of the reasons things are in the wretched state they are now here, where people are regularly lambasted by the ‘Super Compassionate’ if they dare to say anything remotely critical of even Portland’s most obvious street/path/park bullies.

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    • not that Mark January 16, 2016 at 6:16 am

      And there you have it.

      A man takes a ride through there in late afternoon after the story broke, isn’t harassed, doesn’t see anyone with a needle in their arm, no attempted robbery, no weapons and mayhem, and all the experiences of the other riders and walkers, including the women who have been harassed and threatened, and everyone else, can be dismissed.

      Thanks for clearing that up.

      Man up people!
      You too women.

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  • bjorn January 15, 2016 at 5:29 pm

    I just noticed that one of the photos at the top of the article is of a stolen shopping cart. Carts cost around 500 dollars a piece and everytime someone takes off with one it increases the cost of food for everyone else.

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  • SE January 15, 2016 at 6:34 pm

    bjorn
    I just noticed that one of the photos at the top of the article is of a stolen shopping cart. Carts cost around 500 dollars a piece and everytime someone takes off with one it increases the cost of food for everyone else.Recommended 1

    that’s not what the web shows …Buy 1 or more $95.99

    http://www.webstaurantstore.com/supermarket-grocery-shopping-cart/962GSW100.html?utm_source=Google&utm_medium=cpc&utm_campaign=GoogleShopping&gclid=CI36vJ2lrcoCFdKFfgodLOgFjw

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    • bjorn January 15, 2016 at 7:56 pm

      The grocery store I worked at told me that they spent around 500 a piece, maybe the price has declined over time. Regardless everytime you see someone with a cart not on supermarket property it is stolen.

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      • Eric Leifsdad January 15, 2016 at 11:31 pm

        $500 is for the chromoly cart with sealed bearings, cushioned seat, and leather grip with heated cupholder.

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  • carol January 15, 2016 at 7:04 pm

    Here is the KOIN News story http://koin.com/2016/01/15/springwater-corridor-avenue-of-terror/

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  • Mike Sanders January 15, 2016 at 7:27 pm

    This is a public path we’re talking about here. Can’t they be arrested for blocking traffic and harassing trail users? Maybe it’s time for the Legislature to get involved by passing laws with teeth. Sending state police to enforce the law would be a start, since PPB clearly won’t. Deliberately spreading glass on the trail to, in effect, close it, qualifies as blocking traffic. Putting the Springwater (and all long distance trails) under Oregon State Parks/Police authority and protection might be something that might help.

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  • Waiting January 16, 2016 at 2:22 am

    Fact: There is a nightly shortage of at least 2000, and probably more like 5000, shelter beds in Portland. Fact: The waiting list for subsidized housing placements is about two years. Fact: About 1000 new people able to complete for market rate housing are moving to Portland each month. Fact: The very low income are simply priced out. Fact: The idea that there is some safe, legal place for them to be, if only they would just go there and be nice is FALSE. Fact: The “attraction theory”, that homeless people come to Portland (or anywhere else) because of generous aid,has been disproven by research. Fact: People who are actively involved in criminal enterprises are largely housed. It may be just a flop, but they aren’t sleeping outside in the rain.

    Some years ago we were having a similar problem in my neighborhood. I had a lot of these same false ideas about it. What cured it was when the Police Bureau ran their “Tired of Tweakers” program, busting long time low level meth dealers — who were not unhoused, but preying on the unhoused.

    It is true that those who are priced out to the streets are those with less social power, such as people with mental illness, physical disability, developmental disability, illiteracy and addiction. But, the idea that they are on the street willingly is false. (Not that some wont tell you so to protect their pride.) People given the chance or money to do so get off the streets almost uniformly.

    There are multiple studies showing that sweeps are counterproductive in that they destabilize people already struggling for what minimal stability they have. University of Hawaii has a recent one.They are sadistic in that they are purely punitive in function for People who have nowhere else to go. It is for this reason that the Dept of Justice has issued a letter telling local jurisdictions that they are unconstitutional unless shelter capacity is available.

    Anna Griffin did an excellent series in the O drilling all this stuff down thoroughly. Go read it. I am not making this stuff up. Y’all are wrong.

    Vulnerability to crime is no joke, but these people suffer from it far worse. About one a week dies out there, from exposure, untreated health issues, drugs.

    If you want it cured, demand adequate shelter capacity! Demand lots of new low income housing. Demand portapotties. Demand Trash collection. But quit throwing gas on the flames of the Police bureau’s jihad against homeless and mentally ill. It is just wrong.

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    • Alan 1.0 January 16, 2016 at 10:13 am

      Y’all are wrong.

      No, and in saying that, you are wrong. Many if not most people posting here agree with the gist of what you propose, as well as with the facts you have selected. Several regular posters here work professionally on low- or no-income housing issues, and even more volunteer for various roles supporting shelter, food and health issues. Out of the more than 250 posts in this thread, only two or three actually propose more camp sweeps, and many more rebut that. You’re not only preaching to the choir, you’re condemning the choir as “wrong.” I do not think that will help our cause, and I invite you to join the rest of us who support humane housing options as well as enforcement of laws which protect everyone including those with inadequate shelter.

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    • Hello, Kitty January 16, 2016 at 10:49 am

      Maybe we all (more or less) agree. We want a Tired of Terror program to get rid of the violent element among those along the Springwater. I don’t hear many cries for random sweeps to round up those who pose no threat to others.

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    • rachel b January 17, 2016 at 1:02 pm

      “Fact: The “attraction theory”, that homeless people come to Portland (or anywhere else) because of generous aid,has been disproven by research.”

      Hi, Waiting. Who did this research? Please direct me to the research. And I do not mean the Anna Griffin O series, where the “research” has been called into question.

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  • SE January 16, 2016 at 7:26 am

    Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)
    SE,That “terror” thing isn’t my idea or my words. It’s taken from a quote that was a source for this story. I decided to use that quote in the headline because I felt it communicated the severity of the situation.class=”recommended”>Recommended 4

    IMHO, If you are going to justify it that way, then quotation marks should have been placed around “AOT” , indicating that it is not your phrase.

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  • soren January 16, 2016 at 8:08 am

    The current limitations on enforcement actions are a direct consequence of systemic violations of civil rights by the city. Previous random enforcement actions harrassed, injured, and killed houseless people. And these brutal actions targeted everyone, not just the “antisocial”. I condemn antisocial behavior on the Springwater trail, but I also condemn the antisocial policies of our city (and by extension voters).

    The city has been given clear guidance on how to remove these restrictions and has balked. If public anger focused on the people in city hall instead of the people living on the springwater we might see these restrictions removed.

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  • SE January 16, 2016 at 8:46 am

    not that Mark
    And there you have it.A man takes a ride through there in late afternoon after the story broke, isn’t harassed, doesn’t see anyone with a needle in their arm, no attempted robbery, no weapons and mayhem, and all the experiences of the other riders and walkers, including the women who have been harassed and threatened, and everyone else, can be dismissed.Thanks for clearing that up.Man up people! You too women.Recommended 0

    not quite.

    one persons experience does not negate all others, unless you chose to be absurd about it. Just as some calling it the “Avenue of Terror” does not mean that all have experienced it that way. Go ride it yourself and report back. I did. JM says he will.

    PPD did seem to infrequently patrol it on quads (in the past), but generally on nice, safe Summer days.

    But I’d certainly not ride The AOT at night, nor would I ride my own street at night either. I feel sympathy for anybody forced to ride PDX after dark, anywhere.

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  • Clm January 16, 2016 at 9:03 am

    Is it possible for us who care so much to help the city and the houseless?

    We have stretches of road that are adopted by families and businesses. Can we adopt sections of springwater? The groups are supported with bags, trash service and safety vests. If our community starts weekly sweeps of the trail to keep it clean and open, then those living there temporarily might also join us to help curb the lawless, intimidating and aggressive folks.

    Springwater is beautiful and worth it. We are not helpless to keep it that way. Clearly many people care passionately about the trail.

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  • SE January 16, 2016 at 9:29 am

    rachel b
    Portland of now frequently reminds me of an ineffectual and cowed parent repeating “Stop that, Timmy…’kay? Stop that right now! ‘Kay? I really mean it, Timmy! Stop it! ‘Kay?…” while Timmy burns the house down.Recommended 51

    I’d like to nominate the above as “post of the week”

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  • axoplasm January 16, 2016 at 10:03 am

    I suspect I don’t have anything new to this conversation. I want to register some emotions and impressions.

    There are at least three issues here.

    — Lawlessness, violence, and public safety
    — Affordable housing and the social safety net
    — Property values and quality of life for property owners near the trail

    They are related so we tend to stir them together, and draw unnecessary dichotomies. If you’re “for” strong public safety somehow you’re “against” a strong social safety net? Or vice versa? I’d like to be “for” both of those things, and still keep sight of the fact that the most obvious camps tend to be in neighborhoods where fancy Portlanders traditionally want to dump our problems already.

    I have a gut sense about solutions (hint: NOT ENOUGH HOUSING) but I’m just barely smart enough to recognize my gut sense might be wrong. Instead it seems to be like other Portland problems & gets the NIMBY treatment: “couldn’t we just shoo this problem out to Gateway or something?”

    Our squatter camps make me ashamed of Portland. We should be better than this. Squatter camps + vigilante justice is the laziest possible solution to all three problems above.

    I ride past camps on Springwater, Esplanade, & in the forests on the westside every day. Sometimes at night. Sometimes with my kids (not at night). I’ve never felt threatened — but I wouldn’t minimize anyone else who does. All I ever do is ride past them, I don’t live there.

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    • Alan 1.0 January 16, 2016 at 10:33 am

      Excellent summary. I’d just add that “not enough housing” is the current crisis, but the root of that problem is a broader social issue of wealth inequity.

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      • 9watts January 19, 2016 at 10:20 pm

        Agreed. And encouraging people to move here makes it all that much worse.

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    • soren January 16, 2016 at 11:29 am


      — Lawlessness, violence, and public safety
      — Affordable housing and the social safety net
      They are related so we tend to stir them together,

      They are not only related from a sociological perspective, they are directly related by a Federal court ruling that severely limits enforcement actions by the city until the city provides a minimal level of housing. While complaints, rants, and weapons tips are likely cathartic for some, they do nothing to address the court order.

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      • are January 17, 2016 at 4:06 pm

        i mentioned this in a separate comment yesterday, but we are not looking at a federal court ruling out of idaho. the language quoted in the main article about the eighth amendment is from a document filed in that case by the justice department. the court itself dismissed the lawsuit on procedural grounds.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 17, 2016 at 4:38 pm

          Thanks are. Worth noting that this is the passage of the ruling that i received from the police officer so it’s what they are using to inform their practices.

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          • are January 17, 2016 at 9:19 pm

            i think it may be a good idea for the police to set policy with reference to what they are hearing from the justice department, but if somebody is telling somebody the court in idaho said [x], that is simply not the case.

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  • Jim Labbe January 16, 2016 at 11:04 am

    Great article on an important and under covered topic. The situation on the Springwater is illustrative of problems throughout East Portland and East County that have the potential to grow in other parts of the region. The problem highlights how the region’s housing crisis has the potential to undermine our region’s legacy of investment in parks, trails and natural areas. The solution is partly affordable housing but investing in natural resource stewardship and park and train maintenance in a way that builds community ownership and economic opportunity.

    In covering this story in the future, I’d recommend interviewing Ed Kerns who has been working for years to improve and enhance the SPringwater Corridor around Lents. He’d be a valuable perspective to add to this discussion:

    http://www.lentsspringwaterproject.org/about.shtml

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QgF5ip5dRPk

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  • Joe Biel January 16, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    When did BikePortland’s become a conservative, anti-homeless advocacy campaign? These “stories” that lack actual news items began popping up in the last few years. This is “punching down” in the worst possible way. Instead of using your ability to push city gov’t and news agencies on this issue, you’re attacking the most vulnerable people. Your “sources,” who apparently have never felt vulnerable or had their privilege threatened before, aren’t informing on anything that doesn’t go on in cities all over the U.S. Portland has had the highest U.S. increase in cost of living likely for the second year in a row. You have the mic and it’s incredibly disappointing to watch it to be used to further beat on the homeless instead of the people who could actually fix this issue. Housing is what we need to solve, not pushing around people that have nowhere to go.

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    • Hello, Kitty January 16, 2016 at 1:35 pm

      A few isolated comments aside, I think you have mischaracterized the overall gist of the comments here. I haven’t read much “punching down” or attacks on the homeless. What I see instead are calls for curtailing specific behaviors that are independent of housing status. It is very unfortunate that people have found themselves without adequate shelter. That does not excuse other people from behaving in a threatening manner.

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      • rachel b January 17, 2016 at 1:08 pm

        Hear, hear, Hello, K. It’s reminding me (aggravatingly) more and more of the NRA’s approach to dissent. Just shout down everything and anything and vilify the speaker. Talk about shutting down a discussion.

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      • are January 17, 2016 at 4:13 pm

        several comments saying in effect chase “them” away, problem solved. repeated use of “they” and “them” as shorthand. “no camping zone.” “zombies,” shine bright lights in their eyes. “stop that, timmy.” at least three deleted comments referencing weapons. “send in the drones.” “extorted smile.” “invasive plants.”

        these may be “isolated” comments, but there are more than a few, and similar stuff comes up every time we have an article posted here referencing “the homeless.”

        incidentally, jonathan, in the same spirit in which we no longer refer to “cyclists” or “motorists,” maybe we could adopt a policy of referring here to “human beings who have nowhere to sleep.”

        obviously what we have here is a real problem. but the compassionate answer cannot be sweep “them” somewhere else (where?). let’s use this space for developing creative mechanisms to address the problem. which also means listening hard enough to identify those features of the problem that aren’t just your immediate concern.

        clm’s suggestion above for having people “adopt” portions of the trail would fall in this category.

        instead of, y’know waiting for someone else (PPB) to make the problem go away, probably through the use of force.

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        • Hello, Kitty January 17, 2016 at 4:37 pm

          At this moment, there are 316 comments in this thread (not sure if this includes one of mine in moderation limbo). How many do you feel are over the line, expressing real hate/threats/etc. rather than annoyance or attempts at humor? I’d be surprised if we could find 10% that were offensive, probably less. Given the wide range of viewpoints I see expressed on this site (in other threads), the fact that many (like me) are posting pseudo-anonymously, and the strong feelings that can be generated by talk of physical threats that are the subject of this thread, the debate here seems very civil.

          I do find it notable that very few of those complaining about the tenor of the comments are willing to condemn the use of intimidation, threats, or violence against others.

          Finally, I agree that positive suggestions and creative solutions are preferable to complaining.

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        • rachel b January 17, 2016 at 4:44 pm

          Are, people are not expressing impatience and frustration with “the homeless”: they are expressing impatience and frustration with people who are threatening others, befilthing parks and trails and public spaces with impunity and creating a public nuisance–and expressing frustration with city’s lack of response to their quite reasonable concerns. This has been pointed out ad nauseam in this thread, and I’m personally at wit’s end as to how to drive it home any further. No one here hates the homeless or people in need. Many of us support organizations that serve the homeless or have family and….aghh, I’m not going to point out all this again. It’s been said much better by people other than myself, right here in this thread. But it seems to be willfully ignored. And I say this as one who grew up in government-official poverty and who’s had plenty of up-close and personal experience with people who know how to abuse a system and take advantage of the kindness of others. Please know that I am not saying that is a descriptor of ALL the homeless, or even close to the majority. I hate even having had to add that assurance, but apparently it’s necessary.

          p.s…my “stop that, Timmy” quote was far more broad and general in scope than you’re supposing. And yes indeed–as any woman can tell you, someone you smile at because you feel you have to in order to pass by unmolested and unharassed–who you feel you need to placate with a smile an a show of friendliness in order to simply get by or to make it all easier–is the very definition of an extortionist.

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      • Joe Biel January 22, 2016 at 7:43 am

        I’m referring to the original “reporting” alongside the series of “articles” about things like the “boneyard,” etc. It’s BikePortland as a thought leader on this issue and how that advocacy is directed that is the most concerning.

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 17, 2016 at 3:28 pm

      When did BikePortland’s become a conservative, anti-homeless advocacy campaign?

      Hi Joe… The answer is never.

      When did you start forgetting who I am, why I do this work, and what I believe in?

      These “stories” that lack actual news items began popping up in the last few years.

      So you’re saying that the fear and assaults people are relaying here are untrue and are complete fabrications? What exactly is an “actual news item”? Why must you dismiss the concerns of others because they don’t line up with your concerns?

      This is “punching down” in the worst possible way. Instead of using your ability to push city gov’t and news agencies on this issue, you’re attacking the most vulnerable people.

      I disagree. No one is being attacked. I am sharing the experiences of people in our community. This is one story. I look forward to sharing more experiences from other perspectives (like we always do) in the future.

      Your “sources,” who apparently have never felt vulnerable or had their privilege threatened before, aren’t informing on anything that doesn’t go on in cities all over the U.S. Portland has had the highest U.S. increase in cost of living likely for the second year in a row.

      Again. Why do you feel the neet to pass judgment on people you have never met? I am very privileged and lucky to have what I have (some of it attained for no other reason than the privilege I was born with), but does that privilege mean I am not allowed to feel threatened? And does it mean that I should not share my experiences with the community in hopes of finding some solutions?

      You have the mic and it’s incredibly disappointing to watch it to be used to further beat on the homeless instead of the people who could actually fix this issue. Housing is what we need to solve, not pushing around people that have nowhere to go.

      Sorry to disappoint you, but I disagree that what I have done with this story is “beat on the homeless”. I know this post does not align with your personal expectations of what BikePortland should be, but sorry.. .that just might happen from time to time because we are an independent thinking organization and we don’t shy away from difficult, sensitive, and complicated topics.

      Joe… Why would you come here and write a comment like this? Do you think your comment helps or hurts our ability to move toward solutions? I think it hurts. I am trying to my best to highlight a situation that is very serious and deserves a respectful dialogue.

      Obviously this story has just two elements of an issue that has many more elements that need to be highlighted. I focused on the experience of people bicycling because 1) that’s who I hear from most often and 2) because that’s my beat. That’s what I do. That’s what I know. I’m a bike journalist first and foremost.
      ===

      I think we should all be working together productively instead of trying to tear each other down. You don’t like how I handled this issue. OK. So how about sharing your disagreement in a less-insulting way? And yes, I have an extremely thick skin; but I care very much about how we talk as much as what we are talking about.

      You’re an activist Joe, a publisher, someone who knows media very well… So I’m surprised that you have commented like this instead of using the Internet for what we both know it can be … a place for a community to come together, hash out differences and have a healthy debate about how to make our world a better place.

      That’s the internet I still believe in and that’s why I am still here doing this work.

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      • are January 18, 2016 at 3:50 pm

        obviously it is up to joe to speak for himself, but since i expressed support for his comment elsewhere on this thread, i would like to respond.

        the headline and the article take at face value the idea that the police “hands are tied” in dealing with criminal behavior, citing a supposed federal court decision out of idaho and a revision to the state statute on profiling to include the word “homelessness.”

        this is a transparent dodge.

        the court in idaho dismissed the case on procedural grounds after the city revised its ordinance. the document to which mele pointed you was a brief filed in the idaho case by the department of justice, urging the court to adopt a reading of the eighth amendment advanced by the 9th circuit federal appeals court in 2006 in an opinion that was later withdrawn when the parties settled.

        what the 9th circuit had said was an anti-camping ordinance is maybe, maybe unconstitutional if there are not enough beds. this reading of the eighth amendment is not yet the law anywhere. but i personally think it would be a good thing if it were, and i imagine joe agrees.

        the state statute simply requires local law enforcement to have written policies in place by january 1. either PPB met this deadline or it didn’t, but it is difficult to imagine they adopted a policy that says never arrest a homeless person for anything.

        when mele says staffing shortages, this is probably closer to the truth. and actually this might be a good thing for now, as force is maybe not the best path forward here.

        the point is, however, jon, that the underlying problems here go much deeper than interference with safe access to a multi-use path. and i know this is a bike blog, but if we are going to talk about these issues at all, we need to start taking the widest possible view. the view embodied in this piece seems narrowly focused on the needs of one user group, and the only policy response implied is the use of force.

        the people who are engaging in these threatening behaviors did not start out seeking to be shut out of society, and they did not arrive at the unfortunate place they are entirely by choice. the machinery that put them there is making more all the time. forcing these individuals to just move on is not going to change that. we need to be talking about the many things that have gone horribly wrong in the larger society and how to turn some of that around.

        it is good that neighborhood groups are starting to talk about what ordinary folks can do, though there still seems to be an emphasis on enforcement. i would hope to see people coming together to reclaim the common space, while engaging their homeless neighbors as human beings. but maybe that has become too much to ask.

        again, i would urge your readers who care about any of this to actually read the DOJ filing in the idaho case.
        http://www.justice.gov/opa/file/643766/download
        these problems are real, and they will not be solved by taking a narrow view, give me back my bikeway, get these people out of here.

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm

          Thanks for helping us understand the legal issues are.

          I am well aware that the underlying problems here are much deeper than access to the path… However since the mission of this site is report on cycling-related issues, our stories will reflect that. That’s my decision as publisher. I personally agree with you 100% that we need “widest possible view”… but in my work capacity as publisher of bikeportland, I don’t think taking that view on this blog is what we should do (and we couldn’t do it well enough to do it justice anyways. I like us to stick to things we can add value to and have the capacity to really make an impact on, and not step into issues that are better left to others).

          And I don’t agree with your take on the story in general. I don’t think the implies that the use of force is the only policy response. The story reports that a PPB officer with experience around this issue says/feels they have limited capacity to deal with the issue because of two main reasons that have been outlined in the story.

          As always, it can be difficult to separate the community’s response to an issue with how the issue was covered in the story they are responding to.

          And your wrote:

          “these problems are real, and they will not be solved by taking a narrow view, give me back my bikeway, get these people out of here.”

          I could not agree more. And I’m glad that – at least in my opinion – that’s now how the vast majority of people here are responding.

          Thanks again for your comments are.

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        • soren January 19, 2016 at 9:39 am

          are, although we sometimes do not agree, you are one of my favorite commenters on bp. thanks for taking the time to comment here.

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          • Alan 1.0 January 19, 2016 at 9:00 pm

            +1, when a ‘thumbs up’ just isn’t enough. Special thanks for not only the link to the Bell DOJ statement but the deeper context of how it came to be.

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      • Joe Biel January 22, 2016 at 8:26 am

        When did you start forgetting who I am, why I do this work, and what I believe in?

        Because, like all of us, your views have evolved over time. Such as your views on Critical Mass. And it is my hope that just as you once posted very sexist reporting, my hope is that your views will continue to shift on your classism as well. And let’s not forget your coverage of North Williams when you had the unique position of having a real opportunity to bring people together around the situation…I’m here to continue to push your leading edge!

        So you’re saying that the fear and assaults people are relaying here are untrue and are complete fabrications? What exactly is an “actual news item”? Why must you dismiss the concerns of others because they don’t line up with your concerns?

        I know that you are very aware of that you are simultaneously working as an activist and pushing any conversation in a certain direction when you report on things like the “boneyard.” It gives your readers complicit permission to be angry and fearful of people that get attacked from all sides. You’re aware of the news/activism dynamic and you know that reporting on an issue puts pressure on various parties to change it. How about reporting on how the city could rectify the homeless crisis instead of complaining about the homeless? You’re better than the Oregonian. Don’t stoop to their tactics.

        I disagree. No one is being attacked. I am sharing the experiences of people in our community. This is one story. I look forward to sharing more experiences from other perspectives (like we always do) in the future.

        I suggest that you re-read the volume of reporting you’ve done about the homeless over the past several years. Think of yourself as a homeless or even a poor person reading those articles. Think of how you would feel about BikePortland. You’d think it was a news organ for people with luxury bikes. You would not expect to be found welcome there, even if you rode a bike every day. Similarly, since posting the previous comment, numerous people have approached me in real life to thank me for that post, saying that they felt very uncomfortable about how you handle these issues but were too intimated to say anything. Is this everybody’s party or is there a cost of entry?

        Why do you feel the need to pass judgment on people you have never met? I am very privileged and lucky to have what I have (some of it attained for no other reason than the privilege I was born with), but does that privilege mean I am not allowed to feel threatened? And does it mean that I should not share my experiences with the community in hopes of finding some solutions?

        Because your article is completely one-sided.

        I am trying to my best to highlight a situation that is very serious and deserves a respectful dialogue.

        I posted this comment because I respect you enough to tell you what I think. It’s an important issue at at critical time in our city’s history just like North Williams was eight years ago.

        I focused on the experience of people bicycling because 1) that’s who I hear from most often and 2) because that’s my beat. That’s what I do.

        This is exactly my point. You’re defining people of means as “people bicycling” and poor people by their homelessness, whether or not they bicycle.

        I think we should all be working together productively instead of trying to tear each other down. OK. So how about sharing your disagreement in a less-insulting way?

        I’m sorry if you find my words insulting. That was never my intent. I hoped that your view would figure out other perspectives on this issue. I don’t think a person is defined by their learning curve and I don’t judge you or the commenters for their antagonistic words or feelings. But the simple fact of the matter is that there are enough people complaining about the homeless in their path. It’s the acceptance and complicit nature in this view and the way that you are attempting to frame this issue that is alarming. There’s a dynamic at play that you are, once again, in a unique position to shift.

        For what it’s worth, a week before this article I did use the Internet to attempt to bring people together on this issue because everything I read in the news was divisive: http://microcosmpublishing.com/blogifesto/2016/01/daily-cosmonaut-3-real-estate-reality-check

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        • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 22, 2016 at 12:28 pm

          Thanks Joe. I appreciate your reply. I’ve learned a lot of new perspectives and have thought a lot more about this issue in the past week due in no small part to you and other commenters who challenged me on this.

          And please do keep challenging me. Now I have more clarity as to your intentions. I have a lot of “isms” to work through and I actually enjoy the work of trying to understand them, evolving toward new understandings of issues, and ultimately being a better person — and journalist – as a result.

          Thanks.

          and p.s. I had a feeling your opinion of my views on Critical Mass had something to do with your comment.

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          • Joe Biel January 22, 2016 at 3:56 pm

            I respect how forthright and willing to learn and adapt you are. It’s rare from people in your position.

            “I had a feeling your opinion of my views on Critical Mass had something to do with your comment.”

            I have no idea what you might mean by this but I assure you that my comment has everything to do with the stated reasons: belief and hope in your continued evolution. It’s been incredibly sad that your byline only appears on the site these days when it’s to take a seemingly personal beef with the behavior of the homeless rather than advocating on behalf of them, in a situation that would really be better for EVERYONE.

            For example, it was a major blow to the homeless when OHP stopped covering pharmaceutical coverage for the homeless around 2004-2005 and created a tremendous new job for the police to manage unmedicated people as social services were also disappearing. The homeless numbers of today vastly exceed those of a decade ago and it’s not like services have even been restored to previous standards. That’s why people have no better option than living on a bike trail of resorting to acts of desperation. There’s a much bigger story there that no one wants to seems to get their hands dirty with.

            It was the same way in 2008 with Williams. Rather than hearing all sides of the story and bringing that perspective to the table, the situation somehow became about ignoring the voicing of the people in Portland that have always been ignored.

            I understand that you have to evolve with a changing city and readership, but you can be the challenging voice rather than the reassuring one. I would like this to again be a place where I can reliably and proudly get news of interest.

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    • Jim January 17, 2016 at 3:41 pm

      I feel that this blog is first and foremost, a cycling advocacy platform. An inconvenient truth, is that a number of homeless threaten, attack, and steal from cyclists (and others). I do not wish to be threatened, attacked, or stolen from. My desire to be compassionate to the homeless comes to a screeching halt at that point.

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    • davemess January 17, 2016 at 4:05 pm

      Few things annoy me as much as the idea that one’s conservative/liberal leaning should apply exactly the same to every single topic and situation. Let alone that being a cyclist or “pro-bike” automatically makes one a liberal.

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  • Random January 16, 2016 at 12:55 pm

    “aren’t informing on anything that doesn’t go on in cities all over the U.S.”

    Name another city in the United States that has problems like this with a MUP.

    Eugene and Santa Cruz don’t count.

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    • Derp January 16, 2016 at 6:57 pm

      My hometown of St. Petersburg, FL. The Pinellas Trail was notorious for violence at night (attacks, robberies) along with homeless camps. It was also a rail-to-trail MUP that linked the cities of Pinellas County. It’s very much like the Springwater whereby it goes through urban and semi-rural stretches, industrial backyards, and neighborhoods. Highest population density county in FL so not some little town in FL. The greater Pinellas region of Tampa/St. Petersburg/Clearwater is like Portland/Vancouver/Beaverton.

      http://www.tbo.com/pinellas-county/cameras-coming-to-monitor-st-petersburg-trail-20140707/

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    • B. Carfree January 17, 2016 at 12:39 am

      There have been reports of gang activity and bike-jackings on some of the SoCal bike paths. I don’t remember which ones. However, I didn’t see any reports of people taking them over as permanent camp grounds.

      Years ago, they had a MUCH smaller version of this problem along the American River Bike Path. I wouldn’t be surprised to see it come again. They have homeless along the Sacramento river, so as soon as there are some amenities (soup kitchens) near the American River they will no doubt have people take over the path.

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    • Sally Hunt January 17, 2016 at 6:28 pm

      I solo bike all on Eugene’s MUPs a lot, often at night, and have never been or felt threatened by other users or those sometimes camping along the paths. I keep aware & alert but I haven’t encountered any problems.

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  • Jason January 16, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Sky had a great idea the other night. We should just pay the homeless to build singletrack along the 205 Path and the Corridor. Two birds…

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  • are January 16, 2016 at 6:35 pm

    the quoted language about what should constitute a violation of the eighth amendment is not from the court decision — which actually dismissed the claims of the individual homeless plaintiffs on procedural grounds –, it is from a “statement of interest” filed by the justice department
    http://www.hlrn.org/img/documents/273726589-Bell-v-Boise-Statement-of-Interest.pdf

    many thumbs up to joe biel and a handful of others on this thread for pushing back against this tide of anti-homeless hate.

    as the consumer capitalist economy continues to fall apart, things are only going to get worse, people. the time to engage on how to build community from the very bottom is now, not after the last bit of scaffolding hits the ground.

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    • Hello, Kitty January 16, 2016 at 11:27 pm

      Sorry, there is no tide of anti-homeless hate here. There is, however, a strong tide opposing people who intimidate and threaten others. Most of us are compassionate toward those who find themselves without shelter.

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      • soren January 17, 2016 at 10:28 am

        I strongly disagree. Bikeportland comments have a long history of stereotyping, demeaning, and threatening violence against the houseless. It’s sad to see that tradition continued here.

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        • Hello, Kitty January 17, 2016 at 10:32 am

          I know you can find a few offensive comments among all those posted here, but do you really think you could fairly characterize the comments here as a “tide of hate”? I think that’s a wild mischaracterization of what people have written.

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  • SE January 16, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I gathered up my cajones (both of em) and rode The AOT again today. Tho this time only from 122 to 82. Glad to report = All quiet on the Eastern (Terror) Front. (except constant flights of geese overhead).

    Yes, I turned off before the Dreaded Cartlandia Section, but did pass the old “East of 82nd Area Devastation Area”.. (looks like post-bomb Nagasaki) There were a couple of sketchy looking Russian Grandma’s pushing a stroller , but nothing that really terrorized me.

    Last summer I did have a semi-incident where campers standing at the edge of the trail had one pop free and jump in front of the bike with both arms out (at Luther) , playing “chicken”. I kept on bearing down on him and he popped back out of the way in time.

    I have a friend whose home backs up to The AOT. He has had items disappear from his yard and found poop near his fence, but he doesn’t treat them as The Enemy and they are generally OK with him.

    SETalk of weapons and mayhem is just more trashRecommended 8

    Started thinking that some may have misinterpreted the above quote to think I was minimizing other riders experiences. Actually I was referring to the threat comments in this blog.

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  • SE January 17, 2016 at 9:06 am

    Marginally related (chop ops on The AOT), but interesting.

    This Is What Happens to Your Bike After It’s Stolen

    http://www.seattlemet.com/articles/2014/10/1/this-is-what-happens-to-your-bike-after-its-stolen-october-2014

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) January 17, 2016 at 5:06 pm

    Just posted this note on the story:

    On Sunday 1/17 at 4:39 pm I changed the headline. It used to be, “Springwater path’s ‘Avenue of Terror’ persists, but police hands are tied”. I made the change after thinking about it more and hearing from concerns in the comments that BikePortland endorsed the “terror” characterization. I think the new headline is more accurate and clear.

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  • SE January 17, 2016 at 5:37 pm

    In doing a little research , http://www.traillink.com/trail/springwater-corridor.aspx , I think the MUP comes in at 21.5 miles in length.

    From my experiences riding from Gresham to Sellwood, the problem area is from I-205 to Harney Rd, most likely mile or so. OR about 5% of the total trail.

    Since the I-205 to Harney Rd area can be bypassed by using the 205 mup south to JCB and rejoin the Springwater at Bell Station, totally quitting it, or worse yet, going back to driving until the homeless emergency is over may be excessive.

    Sure, it does not address the homeless situation, but tarring the whole trail with the TERROR label is excessive too.

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  • suicidarida January 18, 2016 at 8:52 am

    Please dont delete this one john.
    The dangers of the trail are VERY real! These people are desperate. And have nothing to lose! Many riders have been taken out by swinging objects.
    If you got A nice bike. Mine cost 7500$ And homeless or Thieves want it.
    They WILL take it
    I have encountered all of these Swinging bats, at me. Skate boards swung at me, Rocks thrown at me. All the camps have rocks collected. Just look somtime. Many campers blocking path, Glass in front of camps, Chasing me down yelling : Give me that f-ing bike! Trash blocking paths. And many many many more. The police have stood down. Through incorrect interpretation of law.. saying you are on your own
    We are allowed to protect ourselves. Police arent always avaliable
    Police say only non lethal means of protection can be used.
    I have now taken the path of non lethal means of protection can be used.
    ***Portion of comment deleted – I’m not comfortable with the level of aggressiveness you are advocating for. — Jonathan***
    2. Warn ‘ I will protect myself if you dont move!
    3. If they have A weapon? Speed up. Shift to one side of your bike.
    ***Portion of comment deleted – I’m not comfortable with the level of aggressiveness you are advocating for. — Jonathan***
    When aproaching groups. Make sure you only have them on one side of you as you pass. Switch sides at the last minute.
    4. Carry A mega bright searchlight ***Portion of comment deleted – I’m not comfortable with the level of aggressiveness you are advocating for. — Jonathan***

    Do not become A victim. You may pay with your life and become A statistic.

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    • suicidarida January 18, 2016 at 9:22 am

      Wow! This post got butchered. Get A backup plan people in case you are attacked. And be aware this can happen.
      And remember street kids are still in good shape. And can probibly outrun your bike.

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      • Lester Burnham January 18, 2016 at 11:33 am

        I’m tired of the homeless defenders acting like we should just chill out and act like nothing is going on. We are losing this path!!!

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    • Granpa January 18, 2016 at 11:42 am

      come to think of it, I have had someone try to claim my bike. It was years ago at this same location.

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  • SE January 18, 2016 at 9:43 am

    An improvement on The AOT !!! 🙂

    The “beg button” on the East side of Foster has been in-op for a while. I see riders giving up and braving traffic to get across it.

    I emailed PBOT 2 weeks ago about the issue and got this non-encouraging response.

    “Thank you for contacting 823-SAFE, the Portland Bureau of Transportation’s Traffic Safety Line. Be assured that your email has been received and will be addressed appropriately, either forwarded to the responsible division or reviewed by PBOT Traffic Engineering staff. Due to the current high-volume of requests, PBOT Traffic Engineering staff have an investigation response time of 16 weeks from now for an engineering review. You should be contacted with the results of any investigation.”

    16 weeks ? WTF ?

    BUT when I got to Foster a couple of days ago, the button was fast & responsive.

    Actual, real, thanks PBOT 🙂

    Unfortunately at that earlier time I wasn’t tall enough to test the “Bill Walton memorial” beg buttons at Foster. Are they for horses ?

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  • SE January 18, 2016 at 4:05 pm

    I rode 13 miles on Springwater again today (from 122 to Sellwood & back)

    Observations ?

    a nice ride, lots of bikes out on this Holiday
    PPD Crown Vic cruiser creeping down the trail at 205 overpass
    PortaPotties being picked up/replaced
    NO bike frames visible anywhere
    still garbage everywhere
    14 tents near Cartlandia

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    • suicidarida January 19, 2016 at 6:54 am

      Wait till the sun goes down……………………..

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  • SE January 21, 2016 at 4:28 pm

    I rode The AOT again today from 122nd to Sellwood & back.

    Charlie must be reading this blog ? At 11:30 AM, I saw….

    Between 92 & 205 there were 2 CoP cars blocking the trail. A guy whose uniform said RANGER was helping an older, confused guy to put some boots on. He had a bag of boots, so seems like they might have been donations ?

    Between 92nd & Flavel there were 4 CoP vehicles. Guys standing around with wader boots and garbage pickup tools. There was also a trailer to store garbage ? But on return trip, all vehicles were gone and I saw no difference in the amount of trash. (filling that trailer would not make a dent in it all ,,if that’s what they did.)

    Ironically (?) , the tents just across from Cartlandia were somewhat tidy. 🙂

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