Urban Tribe - Ride with your kids in front.

Springwater attack raises security questions

Posted by on August 25th, 2007 at 11:47 pm

Three Bridges opening celebration

Springwater Corridor Trail
(Photo: Jonathan Maus)

KATU has the story of a man who was attacked on Wednesday night while riding on the Springwater Corridor Trail in Clackamas County.

“Dave Miller said the suspects (about 10 of them) stepped out of the darkness, robbing and punching him and even stomping on his face…they also stole his Specialized mountain bike…”

In the story, Miller said he thinks security on the trail should be improved.

KATU also interviewed Bike Gallery employee Dennis Wyman. In their video report he said, “I know that if somebody’s gonna’ try to take my bike from me, they’re gonna hurt as much as I get hurt.”

The issue of personal safety on the Springwater Corridor (especially after dark) has come up before. Last November, someone started a thread titled, “Springwater Corridor After Dark” in the Women’s section of the Portland Bike Forums.

The poster wrote that she felt “it’s kind of creepy out there when it’s dark.” Other people in the forums told her to find a bike commuting buddy.

I’m curious about your experiences and thoughts. Have you ever had a sketchy encounter on the Springwater (and/or other trail)? Do you think a lack of security on trails like this is a big issue? Do we need more lights? Or more police bike patrols in certain areas?

UPDATE, 8/26/07: Ironically, the Springwater is featured on the front of the Oregonian’s Destination Gresham feature in today’s paper.

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  • john q public August 26, 2007 at 12:53 am

    More lights are needed. There are a lot of great ambush spots in the dark on both the Spingwater and the 205 path. Bike patrols would be great, but expensive and in practice, impractical. Increase trail users\’ visibility with lights and decreasing areas where users can be ambushed.

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  • peder horner August 26, 2007 at 7:37 am

    I was thinking about this the last time I rode the trail. It seemed like the trail afforded many places and opportunities for malevolence, especially during the late evening and night.

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  • Donna August 26, 2007 at 7:46 am

    I just don\’t ever ride MUPs at night unless I\’m in a large group. There would have to be a lot of changes for me to be willing to do it. Thank you to the Dropouts for having part of their ride on the Willamette Springwater week before last. That was a rare treat.

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  • beth h August 26, 2007 at 7:59 am

    I concur with Donna. I simply don\’t ride the Springwater after around 7 pm, EVER. Same with the Esplanade. A friend of mine who has recently taken up bike commuting after many years of driving is terrified of riding on the I-205 bike path, even in the middle of the day. She tells me there are too many places where people can and do hide. Twice in the last week she has encountered people camping out in bushes near the path, sometimes drinking, sometimes yelling at each other or passers-by.

    The truth is that we have many more homeless people in Portland than ever before, and many of them are mentally ill, drug-addicted, or both. Enough fear, depression and anger with no help in sight can make a person desperate enough to lash out at anyone who\’s handy.

    We can talk about making the paths safer, but until we do something REAL about the multitudes of people with mental health and drug issues who live outdoors (like affordable housing, treatment, education and employment) we\’re not really solving any of the root problems.

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  • Tweety August 26, 2007 at 8:08 am

    I had an encounter on the Springwater in broad daylight with a group of youths who had bikes (weren\’t on them) and were deliberately blocking the trail in both directions. I would not DREAM of riding that trail at night unless I had a junk-yard dog with me and a big electric stock prod.

    I\’m a 58 year-old woman and they were all young, buff dudes in their teens. I called out to them firmly, but politely: \”Please share the trail!\” and they moved – GRUDGINGLY and slowily, giving me glowering, dirty looks all the while. I felt very threatened as they could have taken me down off of my recumbent bike in a heartbeat. There were \”racial overtones\” in this event, too – via the slurs I took as I passed. I was returning from a camping trip in Welches, pulling a heavily loaded trailer and could never have out-pedaled them. I had nothing on me to use in defense of an attack. This happened about 4-5 miles west of where the gravel trail begins in Boring around noon. I think the only reason nothing happened was that another returning camper, with trailer AND dog, was only the equivalent of a block behind me.

    Patrols of some sort should be on that trial and lighting is needed for those brave enough to be out there at night.

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  • Post-Operative « I, Rob August 26, 2007 at 8:23 am

    […] do a long, unhurried bike ride to Gresham and back.  [Edit: Perhaps I’ll carry a length of lead pipe with me, whaddaya think?]  I haven’t ridden that side of the Springwater in ages; actually […]

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  • Victor August 26, 2007 at 9:03 am

    Good morning,

    I have been on the springwater corridor since they first removed the railway ties. I can\’t even remember for sure how long ago that was, but suspect some 12-15 years.
    The recent attack of a cyclist is very concerning.

    I have seen drug related activity, mostly between the Bell street station and 82nd avenue, and around Foster. Several other concerning areas are Tideman park, and the trail that leads up the hill to Milwaukee avenue from the area along the river where the trail dips down. The latter is 1/2 way between Oaks Park and the Ross Island Cement factory.

    Having the entire trail lit would make a huge difference, particularly in the winter months for those of us who commute to work. The other option is to increase patrols. I have not seen police bike patrols, but have in past years seen police on 4 wheel ATVs on the trail.


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  • Duncan August 26, 2007 at 9:53 am

    I have never had a problem on a MUP yet (knock wood) but I also realize that my size and sex allows me a certain amount of latitude in determining what I think is safe. This does indeed bumm me out- I feel badly for the women who posted here that they are in fact less free to chose where they go then I am, but as one person what can I do?

    I think that bike police potrols on the springwater would be an excellent idea- not that they would be likely to catch anyone in the act of doing anything violent, but in terms of what is reffered to as \”broken Windows Policing\” it would do a lot to help people feel safer.

    The thing is that this can be a seld fufliing prophecy- the less safe people feel on the te springwater, the lless they will use it, the less safe it will become.

    I also think that group bike rides on the trail (especially in the evening) are a great idea. I dont have time to organize one, but if i wasnt working when it happened id be sure to be there.

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  • JE August 26, 2007 at 10:03 am

    You are all addressing the symptoms and not the disease. The city should be for those who obey the law living within it and not parasites who feed off it. Criminals need to be locked up and in some cases locked up for good.

    In Portland today, anyone can camp out anywhere. They can beg, threaten, assault, rob, do and deal drugs throughout the city without fear. If a police officer happens by, they will be cited and realeased. In the rare occurence of a trip to jail, they\’ll be released within hours. There is no need to show up to court. The judge will issue a Failure to Appear warrant and if a police officer happens by again, an FTA citation is issued at the scene.

    I\’m not sure if crime pays in Portland. But there sure as hell are no punishments or consequences. Until there are, you are on your own.

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  • Deb August 26, 2007 at 11:21 am

    I stopped riding the Springwater east of Johnson Creek several years ago, even in the daylight. I just don\’t feel safe out there. Too many of the homeless blocking the path, stepping out in front of me, shattered glass on the trail. The possibility of having a flat and being vulnerable.

    I ride to work each morning on the Clinton/Ladd route in the dark. I won\’t stop at the lights and stop signs, there again, if I\’m stopped I\’ve placed myself in a vulnerable position. There are strange people out at 5am.

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  • Betty August 26, 2007 at 12:32 pm

    I used the springwater trail several years ago as part of my commute home. It was usually around 11pm or later. I quickly learned to FIND ANOTHER ROUTE because so many transient types hung out there. One time this guy, who was so drunk he could barely balance himself tried to go around me so we kind of ended up doing a dance. He was pretty harmless and well intentioned but that was all it took for me to skedaddle out there as fast as I could.

    These days I commute home around 2am. The real threat are other bicyclists. After a certain hour – perhaps 10 or 11pm all the little punk kids come out. The breed of cyclist changes. I see them looking into car windows – checking out houses. I don\’t know how some of them can ride with their pants below their crack on those teeny bikes. Nevertheless, I have a very SAFE route and when I see something that looks like a miniature person rolling along (no lights or helmet – obviously) at that time of the morning I quickly get out of the area. On two occasions in the last 8 or so years I actually had to find safe haven behind a building and turn my lights off and ditch the neon coat. Solution – some parenting for one and better police patrol during the dark hours. I suspect the cops are patroling known crime areas or areas that they\’re pretty \’crime\’ familiar with but they should be pulling some of the little punks over and asking them what they\’re doing out after dark. Isn\’t there a curfew?

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  • pdxrunner August 26, 2007 at 12:41 pm

    I used to live out by Powell Butte and I never rode out there at night. Is anyone really suprised that this happened in Clackamas County? I can\’t remember ever seeing a police patrol on the Springwater. Just a bunch of meth addicts and trash. My friend rode with me one time and he couldn\’t believe the number of used needles on the road/bike lane. No thanks, I\’ll live close-in for now on.

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  • Bill Stites August 26, 2007 at 1:58 pm

    I ride the Springwater Trail at night about 2x a month, from about I205 to the Powell Butte area. My feelings of security vary with my confidence that day, but if I were a woman – I would not ride it after dark ever.
    The reality is that you are simply very vulnerable, with an easy ambush – kicking or pushing you to make you crash – and no escape.
    Perhaps I\’ve been lucky; and I have been told many times in my life that I look like a cop. Maybe a faux badge … 😉

    More cops on bikes would be good, and better lighting is a no-brainer.

    I used have a nice little blackjack from my NYC days … it\’s not a bad idea to have some means of defense. Pepper spray may be a better idea.
    Almost always, Flight is better than Fight.

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  • P Finn August 26, 2007 at 2:21 pm

    It\’s ridiculous how much worse Springwater can be vs. 205 or Eastbank>Sellwood. One night/day, I rode the entire loop. Only the Springwater had rampant broken glass, debris, and of course that lovely massage-effect pavement washboarding.

    As a taxpayer, it makes me sick that we are not funding maintenance and upkeep (including measures to improve security) on such a valuable resource.

    At the very least, the amount of traffic on MUP\’s warrants minimum of two daily ride-throughs by authorities inspecting for security as well as maintenance.

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  • 2ndaveflyer August 26, 2007 at 3:35 pm

    I agree with the comments left by Beth H(#4). There are often potentially dangerous people on the SW corridor; even on a Sunday afternoon.

    I think additional lights are a waste of money in terms of improving security. (It makes about as much sense as building a wall between the US and Mexico.)

    I have seen ATV patrols on the trail and I thought the officers were doing a good job. They weren\’t just joy riding, they were stopping to check out and talk with the many drunk and homeless people along the trail. I think regular patrols like these can have a positive impact. Right now a single rider of either sex is taking a calculated risk riding some portions of the trail at any hour of the day. The people living out on the trail know they have a pretty good chance of slipping away from any crime they might choose to commit.

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  • BeerdedOne August 26, 2007 at 5:01 pm

    While I realize that some people have had threatening encounters with mentally ill individuals (on bikes!) on the MUPs around town, is it really the homeless on the Springwater trail that are causing the problem under discussion here?

    The recent attack, and the accounts in these comments don\’t sound like they were perpetrated by homeless and/or mentally ill people to me, just thugs and thieves.

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  • SKiDmark August 26, 2007 at 5:42 pm

    The people who camp out along the riverside Springwater Trail may be homeless, but they are far from dangerous. I am sorry the destitute and dirty look dangerous to you, they are not. The ones you need to worry about are on the other end of the trail-the young \”gangsta\” wannabees. They are the ones who tagged the bridges before they were even opened. They are likely the ones who perpetrated the attack. It\’s their \”turf\”.

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  • Mike August 26, 2007 at 6:53 pm

    It\’s a shame that you have such nice facilities and yet are afraid to use them because of the actions of a few people.

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  • Matt Picio August 26, 2007 at 7:04 pm

    I haven\’t had any problems on the trail, but then again I\’m male, 242 lbs and 6\’ tall. This incident disturbs me, and I\’m very curious as to exactly where on the trail it took place.

    I also happen to sit on the Clackamas County Enhanced Law Enforcement District Citizen\’s Advisory Committee (yeah, that\’s a mouthful), which advises the Clackamas County Sheriff on patrol-related matters. If anyone has concerns or additional information on specific incidents along the trail in Clackamas County, please contact me at \”matt\” \”dot\” \”picio\” \”at\” \”gmail.com\” and I will see what I can do to bring this to Sheriff Roberts\’ attention.

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  • Matt Picio August 26, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    2ndaveflyer said:

    \”I think additional lights are a waste of money in terms of improving security.\”

    Then you haven\’t ridden the Springwater through Milwaukie at night. East of 2 bridges, there is a canyon where the trail passes underneath Tacoma/Tenino/32nd Avenue. That canyon is exceptionally dark at night, and not safe. Even with a 10W halogen, you can\’t see a lot when riding through there – lighting would make a BIG difference.

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  • Andy August 26, 2007 at 7:30 pm

    Sketchy Things on the SWC:

    Last year I saw a guy masterbating. He was standing on the trail between it\’s start and utmantila around 1300.

    Also have seen creepy guys with 5 foot long sharp sticks past felony flats.

    Groups of drunk/high homeless siting in the bushes. One time two of these guys put an arm out (Trying to touch) towards my girlfriend as we rode by.

    Personally I think you\’ve got some BIG brass balls to ride the trail at night. Especially near Felony Flats.

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  • Tankagnolo Bob August 26, 2007 at 8:14 pm

    Travel in groups of two to a few hundred, and carry a bit of mace. That way you can protect yourself without permanent injury to another. Also, keep an eye out, know when to sprint, or even turn around and sprint.

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  • Mr. Viddy August 26, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    The local government is not going to fund bike patrols and they are not going to light the trail. However, perhaps some sort of volunteer patrol like neighborhood watch? I\’d certainly volunteer my time for such an endeavor. I think this is a situation that won\’t get much attention, even if a cyclist gets killed out there.

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  • Matt Picio August 26, 2007 at 10:13 pm

    \”The local government is not going to fund bike patrols and they are not going to light the trail\”

    Certainly not with *that* attitude.

    You\’d be surprised what can happen if you raise a big enough fuss. The question isn\’t whether *they* care enough – the question is whether *we* do.

    Im already putting my money where my mouth is – I offered to put this before the Clackamas County Sheriff (and the Milwaukie police chief, if we\’re talking inside their city limits). Anyone who wants to help, or has other examples of trail danger / harassment / assault in Clackamas County – email me: \”matt\” \”dot\” \”picio\” \”at\” \”gmail.com\”

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  • Matt Picio August 26, 2007 at 10:14 pm

    Mr. Viddy – I do believe that volunteer patrol has merit, and we should talk to Ardenwald / Johnson Creek or the other neighborhood associations about neighborhood cooperation.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 26, 2007 at 10:37 pm

    RE: volunteer bike patrols. I am still working with the Office of N\’hood Involvement on this. we have officially dropped the \”Bike Patrols\” moniker and it is now a Bike Ambassador program.

    We are looking to have a citywide meeting/info session mid-Sept.. stay tuned for more info.

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  • eli bishop August 26, 2007 at 11:24 pm

    i love riding the springwater corridor trail at night; i bike between 92nd and eastman parkway. i\’d be sad if they lit the whole trail, thought that area where it meets foster often has some scary peoples just off the trail. does anyone know what mile marker the attack happened at?

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  • SKiDmark August 26, 2007 at 11:34 pm

    I am going to venture a wild guess and say somewhere near 182nd St. as the thugs said \”Don\’t mess with 182nd.\”

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  • Todd B August 26, 2007 at 11:43 pm

    Yes do be well lit and with a buddy when you ride isolated areas. And do not hang around isolated areas – just keep moving unless in a group.

    Please be selective with the lighting and do not turn these MUPs into a new over lit 205 highway. It would be best to have more bike traffic to keep the bad element away. It is nice to see the stars and moon in the city on most nights while riding.

    I have been riding the I-5 corridor for many years and have only gotten a bad vibe once. (2 guys doing oush ups on an isloated portion of the trial.) Generally those living and working along the trail want to be left alone.

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  • wsbob August 27, 2007 at 1:49 am

    I live out in the Beav, so I haven\’t ridden the Springwater. I\’ve got to do it. That top photo of it looks great.

    Incidents with moron thugs that decide public property is their turf, are distressing but really are probably a predictable consequence of an amenity like the Springwater. It seems like lights in some places, like the dark underpass mentioned above, would be reasonable and sensible, but lighting the whole thing…well, like I said, haven\’t ridden it, but it seems a shame. Missing out on the good parts of the night experience is quite a price to pay.

    Citizen patrols are exactly the thing that could most effectively cinch continued safe use of this trail, or corridor as it seems to be called. Real people rather than selfish thugs, recognizing that this resource is theirs, and worth protecting, resulting in an increase of citizen presence is what will make gangsta morons feel far less comfortable foolin\’ around looking for 10 to 1 odds favoring them against vulnerable people.

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  • Seth August 27, 2007 at 7:44 am

    I routinely rode the springwater this past fall/winter/spring at night alone from out around Boring to Foster. I would say that 99% of the time I saw nobody out there. There was one time that 2-3 teens were blocking the path on BMX bikes. I just slowed down and they moved out of the way. I\’m usually moving fairly quickly so maybe less of a target? My headlight might also tend to make people scramble out of sight – maybe they think I\’m popo because it is a light and motion HID light that is crazy bright.

    All that being said, I advise my wife not to run down on the springwater by herself. There are definitely some unsavory characters along the way. Bike patrols would help.

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  • woogie August 27, 2007 at 7:44 am

    The issue with any police coverage of the trail is a return on investment. If you remove one officer from a patrol car and put them on the path what is the return on safety to the public?

    The problem with any patrolling on the path is the length. How many patrols would you need to make the path safe? As we saw in this case the perpetrators sat in the bushes and jumped out. How hard is it to wait for the patrol go go by and pick on the next rider?

    Also look at how inaccessible the trail is to any help not on a bike? Who has the key to remove the pole in the middle of each street crossing? How can police, fire or ambulances get down the trail in the remote areas?

    As for lights, just what do they do to dissuade a thug? The remoteness of the path and lack of easy access to the police negate any benefit of lighting the path, other than to make it easier to ride at night without a light.

    Frankly I am surprised at how little crime has been committed on the trail to date, but that could be changing with more and more people commuting and using the path at night.

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  • Stephanie August 27, 2007 at 8:34 am

    Can anyone tell me what the event was on Sunday with all the bicyclists going up the Springwater trail. They had numbers and such.

    I\’d like to contact the organizers and complain about the behaviour of some of the bicyclists. They were riding two and three abreast and nearly hitting people who were walking in the opposite direction. One man had the audacity to scream \”MOVE!\” to someone instead of getting in front of or behind his friend.

    Apparently, it\’s not only transient people who are jerks on the path; the bicyclists can be too.

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  • Kristen August 27, 2007 at 8:35 am

    As a woman cyclist, I won\’t ride on any MUP alone, unless I absolutely have to. And, I won\’t ride alone at night.

    Does this cut into my commute-by-bike time? Yup. But I\’ll drive in the darker months for my safety, any day.

    That said, Springwater is still a good path. You can go from downtown Portland all the way out to Boring, it\’s gorgeous, and there aren\’t any cars on the path. The minuses? Lots of swervy pedestrians, swervy kids on bikes, swervy adults on bikes, dogs on or off leashes, and yes, the homeless and \”Gangsta\” youth elements. That, and the surface isn\’t the best (chip seal) and at least close in to town, there\’s too many roads to cross.

    Lighting the sketchy areas would be a good thing. But it won\’t make me ride on it.

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  • Meghan August 27, 2007 at 9:10 am

    Frankly, as a bicyclist, I don\’t feel too vulnerable out riding there in the daytime. I often wonder about the people who walk/jog there and how they feel there. There are certainly sketchy characters along the trail, but I think this could be said of many parts of Portland, not just along the Springwater Corridor. But I agree, one takes a risk riding there alone at night, regardless of gender.

    I rode it yesterday as part of the Portland Century — that was the event #32 above was asking about. I feel terrible if there were people out there being harassed by Century riders. As a slow-ish rider in my category, I too noticed the \”macho\” vibe coming from some of the racer types. No one person is more \”entitled\” than anyone else to the use of a multi-use path, and we all need to remember that.

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  • suurban August 27, 2007 at 9:19 am

    The Tidman Johnson natural area is a natural area without electric lights for a reason. Other sections of the trail can get lit up like a mall, and likely become safer, I dont care. I do crank on the trail every day and enjoy the freak scene, horses, healthnuts, heavy metal enthusiasts. No bone has a right to hurt others, but they do have a right to hang about and be sketchy, they are the fringe of our society, but in our society and they think our shorts are amusingly revealing.

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  • Matt Picio August 27, 2007 at 10:16 am

    woogie (#32) said:

    \”The issue with any police coverage of the trail is a return on investment.\”

    The biggest issue isn\’t ROI, nor the length of the trail (also commented on in that post) – the biggest issue is jurisdiction.

    The Springwater Trail starts at SE 4th & Caruthers and ends in Boring. It\’s paved from Portland out past Gresham to the Clackamas County line way the heck out east. The trail is also split partway by the \”Sellwood Gap\”. Along its length, the trail passes through Portland, Milwaukie, Gresham, Boring, and multiple locations in unincorporated Clackamas County and unincorporated Multnomah County. That means depending on where on the trail you\’re having issues, it could be in the jurisdiction of 3 police departments and 2 sheriff\’s offices.

    A lot of the problems can be addressed by cutting back portions of the vegetation more frequently and by lighting problem segments of the trail – assuming the neighborhood associations don\’t oppose the lighting.

    Of course, any solution is going to involve money (other than volunteer patrols / ambassadors)

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  • Matt Picio August 27, 2007 at 10:22 am

    #36 \”The Tidman Johnson natural area is a natural area without electric lights for a reason\”

    Tideman Johnson is east of 36th Ave and the problem area extends at least 8 blocks west and 6 blocks east (3/4 mile and 1/2 mile respectively) of the natural area. Parts of that could be lit without adversely affecting the natural area (which really isn\’t – they completely nuked the entire thing when they did the sewer work, and the \”new\” Tideman Johnson isn\’t anything like the old one). Whether public safety trumps other concerns is probably a decision for the Ardenwald/JC neighborhood association.

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  • Spencer August 27, 2007 at 10:57 am

    Squeak the wheel guys,

    I don\’t know what the solution is, but when people see stuff (youth gangs menacing, masturbation, broken glass, drunks, dogs off leash, drug use, etc.) start calling it in and making reports. Speaking as a bureaucrat, nothing gets administrators attention faster than statistics. If you quantify the issue, more resources will be dedicated towards it. Even if your individual complaint doesn\’t get addressed, it still shows up as a report, and the more reports in an area starts to get more attention. The law really is on your side, use it.

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  • Ron August 27, 2007 at 10:59 am

    I do not live in Portland but I have ridden several sections of Springwater Corridor. It is a fantastic resource. I would think that random night patrols by a group of bicyclists could have a positive effect. The law abiding taxpayers need to take back the night and not allow their freedom to be taken by a small number of hoodlums. I would not hesitate to come to the aid of another bicyclist. The liberties of the law abiding cannot be dictated by the lawless.

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  • Resident August 27, 2007 at 11:41 am

    Bottom like…If you put a trail through garbage neighborhoods, thats what its going to attract. Until gentrification occurs in SE (another 20 years), this is what you will have. Unfortuanately, the ghetto train (MAX) is headed that direction too, so look out for more problems along the 205 trail and where Max will cross springwater when they put in the milwaukie line. I have lived near 162 and Burnside for nearly 30 years and watched the train destroy my neighborhood. Those low income / subsidized housing apartments look real fancy when they first put them in, but the trash they attract quickly make the neighborhood their own…

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  • SKiDmark August 27, 2007 at 11:41 am

    I will also say that the beauty of a bike path is that it is carless AND copless.

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  • BURR August 27, 2007 at 11:42 am

    some more discussion here:


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  • woogie August 27, 2007 at 11:42 am

    Matt #37,

    The length of the trail is the issue. The fact it crosses many jurisdictions is a result of the length of the trail.

    Lighting alone is not going to solve the issue without the presence of law enforcement. If the police cannot respond to an incident on the trail the trail will be used more and more as a convenient place to commit crime.

    How many ambassadors do you think are needed to drive away the thugs? What about in this case where 10 people swarmed one person on a bike? Would a two person patrol be able to fend off these people? They might become a target themselves.

    The fact that crime is becoming more prevalent on the trail may be an indication that criminals have been driven off the streets to an area that presents a better opportunity.

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  • heather andrews August 27, 2007 at 11:49 am

    From the close-up photo on the KATU website, and knowing what I do about the area, it looks like it probably happened between Linwood and Bell Avenue. A few blocks away from my house!

    A little further east, between JCB and Luther, is where a transient guy was found murdered a few years ago, which caused a bit of a stir. About a year before that, a senior woman was found dead in Johnson Creek, near the trail in Gresham around Eastman Parkway. At least in the second case, no foul play was suspected.

    A few thoughts:
    -Generally all Portland Parks and Rec properties such as the Springwater, have posted hours of operation. My philosophy is that if you\’re in the park outside of those hours, you\’re there at your own risk. That having been said, the Parks site doesn\’t list hours for the Springwater, although there used to be a sign indicating trail hours located at the Johnson Creek trailhead at JCB and SE 45th Place. Perhaps this ambiguity is something that needs to be addressed?

    -Depending on what those park hours are supposed to be, I have to echo Matt\’s sentiment about the need for at least a little lighting in the canyon area that runs through Milwaukie at about SE 32nd. The one time I rode home this way after dark (last November), I couldn\’t see 20 feet in front of me, despite having a rather bright light. However, adding lights doesn\’t necessarily solve the crime problem–there\’s a great article in [i]The New Yorker[/i] this week that touches upon this (unfortunately not available online).

    -Although I\’m female, I\’ve never been afraid of the Springwater or anyone on it. After not being able to see very well during my one trip in the dark, I discovered an alternative route to get home from downtown. Perhaps my lack of fear makes me stupid. Or maybe it\’s because all the \”scary\” people live in my neighborhood anyway, so I\’m used to sharing space with them and take them with a grain of salt. The \”permanently peeved\” look I tend to get with strangers probably helps too.

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  • Bjorn August 27, 2007 at 11:56 am

    Realistically I think if you compared number of car miles driven to car jackings and looked at number of bike miles ridden to bike jackings in this city you might find you are not as much safer in your car as you thought… One bike jacking per year is not many, although I agree it sucks if it happens to you. There are 20 car jackings per 100000 adults in the US each year, bike jacking statistics seem a little harder to come by…


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  • BURR August 27, 2007 at 11:57 am

    re. \’hours of operation\’. I think the argument was made, at least for the eastside esplanade, that it is a transportation corridor and not solely a recreational facility, and therefore must remain open for 24-hour access. I believe this is tied to the source of the funding used to construct the trail(s).

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  • amanda August 27, 2007 at 12:27 pm

    I hope this doesn\’t get double-posted, my apologies if so:

    Some of you seem to be conflating all sorts of issues. The issue is that a group of thugs has found a really convenient place to jump out, knock someone off their bike and kick them in the face.

    As far as I know, that place is a narrow pathway with no exits, in a canyon of sorts which at night is pitch black. There are no hayfields and horses and pretty stars. The edge of the path is overgrown and there is not even white reflective striping along the edge of the path (at least not visible as far as I can tell).

    This is a pathway paid for with tax dollars that is intended to provide a safe route through the city. Of course lighting would help. Lighting helps me see if there\’s a group of thugs up ahead so that I can stop, turn around and peddle my ass out of there. Carrying mace or any kind of weapon really does me no good when I am completely ambushed from the side by multiple assailants.

    There are ways to make the path safer which would not detract from the path, I hope everyone recognizes that we all benefit when more bikers and walkers feel that they can do those things safely in our city.

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  • cs August 27, 2007 at 1:22 pm

    Wow. I am amazed at all the bold generalizations and liberal usage of words like, \”trash\” and \”thugs\” in these responses. And the assumptions that homeless people are mentally ill drug addicts. Just because an individual looks \”sketchy\” to you does not make him or her dangerous… particularly the homeless, who are probably more vulnerable camping out than you are zooming by.

    I am a woman and have ridden both the 205 path and the Springwater at night with no problems. I have never had anyone bother me, not the teenagers or the people camping out.

    It is really sad and concerning that this incident happened and I definatly understand how one can feel vulnerable biking on the trail because it is remote and often quiet. But that is no reason to jump to conclusions and judge people by how they look or to avoid the trail all together. I agree that what will make people more comfortable on the trail is more bike traffic and I am certainly not going to stop biking on it!

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  • Matt Picio August 27, 2007 at 1:54 pm


    the length of the trail is irrelevant. The whole trail isn\’t the issue, only some parts of it. The Springwater could be 2 miles long, and if it was centered on 45th Avenue, it would still encompass 3 disparate jurisdictions. Length is not the issue, it\’s merely tenuously related.

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  • Matt Picio August 27, 2007 at 1:56 pm

    Pardon one part of the last post – the length *is* relevant, it\’s just of lesser importance.

    Also, the Springwater at SE 32nd Avenue has always been a focus of crime since it was first opened – it\’s frequently mentioned at Ardenwald/JC Neighborhood Assn meetings.

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  • DK August 27, 2007 at 2:03 pm

    It\’s just another place for all the outer s.e. Pdx losers to hang-out at where the cops won\’t bug them. Then they do there junk and show-off for each other by f\’in with bicyclists, peeing in the bushes or on the trails, and getting each other all fired up. Watch out, and turn around when you get a bad vibe.

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  • woogie August 27, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    CS # 49

    I think the word thug has been used correctly when applied to the \”thugs\” that jumped the cyclist, beat him and robbed him. The word thugs can also apply to those who gather and block the path and purposely intimidate the users of the path.

    As for the homeless, no they don\’t deserve to be called thugs. They do however, make many riders uneasy. It\’s very hard to determine if, the half naked man, standing in the rain swinging a stick and spouting expletives at all who pass, is a danger to you or not.

    It\’s also disconcerting to ride along and have to dodge a drug addled person, weaving across the path or laying adjacent to or on the path.

    The nature of the trail, an easily traveled pathway that connects wooded areas with urban areas is going to attract, the homeless, the mentally unstable, gangs and thugs. All of whom are not the intended users of the path and all of whom at sometime are a nuisance or hazard to the intended users of the path.

    If the path is overrun and becomes a homeless haven fewer and fewer people will want to use the path. We already have needles and broken glass on the path from these non-users. Public urination and nudity from these non-users. Path, facilities vandalized, or burnt down by these non-users. Verbal abuse and physical threats from these non-users.

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  • Lee hoffman August 27, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    The times I have been spoken to by the dreggs that roam the SWC,I have thought I was lucky to have been my size and my speed,Aslower ,smaller rider would have cause to worry,we must be vigilant,and larger groups are better I feel sorry for the guy that was attacked,but the whole cop never when you need one totally applies here, be careful out there.

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  • Crash N. Burns August 27, 2007 at 3:10 pm

    I\’ve encountered a few unsavory groups between Bell station and 205. I\’ve always put it in the big ring and pounded the pedals. 170 lbs on top of 30 lbs of steel bearing down on them at 25 miles an hour has always yielded a little extra space. I always make eye contact with at least one of them and don\’t say a word, except maybe \”BIKE!\”. That section certainly requires extra attentiveness. I wouldn\’t ride any part at night though. If I feel vulnerable then I probably am.

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  • Deb August 27, 2007 at 4:19 pm

    I believe Federal funds were used in part for SWT, if so, I think there\’s a mandate that the trail be open 24/7.

    Jonathan, ONI will only be helpful up to the Portland border, do the other jurisdictions have something similiar to ONI? Will ONI help organize an overlap between the areas?

    Since part of the trail is Portland Parks if you\’re interested in being on a Park Watch Team contact Steve Pixley @ Portland Parks – 503-823-PLAY. Steve over sees volunteers and would be the one to help with coordination and set up training along with ONI.

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  • Seth Alford August 27, 2007 at 7:45 pm

    This incident, and the comments above, are more reasons for me to oppose spending limited transportation dollars on grade separated paths such as SWC, or the proposed Red Electric Trail. I\’d rather see the money spent fixing gaps in the on-street bike lane system, such as on the bridges on Barbur between Capitol and Multnomah Blvd., or the intersection of Beaverton-Hillsdale/Oleson/Scholls.

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  • marc August 27, 2007 at 9:36 pm

    there are a number of spots that could be made much safer with a few extra days of grounds crews mowing and clearing brush.

    another thought would be to install some eye-in-the-sky cameras. you could probably line the whole path for the cost of a couple of those red light/intersection setups.

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  • Gil Johnson August 27, 2007 at 9:45 pm

    I\’m wondering, are all Portland area bicyclists also pacifists? Aren\’t there any bikers with a concealed weapon permit? Doesn\’t any company make a bike bag with a holster?

    I\’m not advocating gun violence. Maybe a warning shot. I personally don\’t carry a gun because I might just shoot the fourth jerk who nearly sideswipes me in downtown traffic.

    Better yet, how about a small truth squad armed with video cameras? That might get some attention from the media and ultimately, the people who make decisions about security on the Springwater.

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  • Ichabod Crane August 27, 2007 at 10:34 pm

    When I first started ridding again last year, I was on the trail at dusk coming back in from Gresham. I noticed that there was major over growth along both sides and felt very uncomfortable. As the light grew dimmer I came upon a \”camp\” of around seven to ten people just off the path. Not sure if they noticed me because they were in a heated discussion amongst themselves. I hightailed it the rest of the way home keeping an eye open both in front and behind me. Never again have I ridden the trail in the dark. I\’ll take my chances on the street with the four wheelers.

    Ichabod Crane

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  • wyatt August 28, 2007 at 8:05 am

    \”Doesn\’t any company make a bike bag with a holster?\”

    Yeah, Timbuk2 makes a bag with a holster and slots for spare clips. It\’s called the L.A. Special.

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  • Michael August 28, 2007 at 8:20 am

    A large can of bear repellent in a shoulder holster could be helpful. It is much more powerful than most pocket pepper sprays does not cost much. It is easy to find online or in hunting/fishing type sporting goods stores.

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  • Matt Picio August 28, 2007 at 9:12 am

    Gil (#59)

    Firing a warning shot is illegal (discharging a weapon within the city limits is against code). Your life has to be in danger before you can fire. In Oregon, that means that the would-be assailant must have a weapon (or something that looks like a weapon) in hand, and must be facing you, and within 21\’ of you.

    The above should not be construed as legal advice – consult an attorney, and better yet, if you\’re considering carrying, take a class – not only is it the law, it\’s a good idea.

    That said, I don\’t think that increaing the number of people carrying weapons on the trail is going to be as effective as lighting would be. Most assailants are looking for easy targets – they want the advantage. Clear the undergrowth away from the trail, light the path, take away the hiding spaces – that all does a lot to solve the problem. So does riding in groups, taking a different route, being aware of your surroundings (looking around, not wearing headphones), and being able to defend yourself. Physical size helps, but is hard to fake. Appearing confident also helps. Michael\’s suggestion works, too – and it\’s usually non-lethal.

    If you decide to carry pepper spray or bear repellant, and decide not to verbally alert a potential assailant that if they come closer, you will defend yourself – then you potentially open yourself up to legal liability. (ask around, learn the law – lawyers on the list, feel free to jump in here)

    Be alert, be safe. Whatever that requires.

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  • Ralph August 28, 2007 at 10:01 am

    Why is everyone espousing lighting as the solution here?

    Lighting does not reduce the remoteness of vast sections of the trail. It does not reduce the response time of police. The trail is a magnet for this type of thing.

    The homeless live there because there is no visible police presence. The gangs hang there because there is no visible police presence. The druggies hang there because there is no visible police presence. The crime will be committed there because there is no visible police presence.

    No one gets hassled and it takes forever for a police response on the trail.

    Lighting the trail without enforcing vagrancy and loitering laws is not going to resolve the solution.

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  • Michael August 28, 2007 at 10:13 am

    Nordstrom and Pioneer Square use a completely non-toxic means of discouraging loitering. Muzak. A series of hidden speakers piping in gentle, but noxious pseudo-music could work the same wonders.

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  • Michael August 28, 2007 at 10:26 am

    Another natural method to evict malicious scoundrels is skunk scent. Skunk scent paste is used in abandoned structures to keep away squatters.

    Cyclists encountering a cloud of skunk aroma would be alerted to the area as potentially hazardous and not linger.

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  • SKiDmark August 28, 2007 at 10:30 am

    Woogie, you are conjuring up bogeymen. There are more needles under the Burnside bridge near Skidmore fountain. I ride that section of the Springwater corridor almost everyday and I am frequently on it late at night, and I don\’t see any shirtless men swinging sticks. I do see people camped out because they have no place to live, and Clean and Safe has swept them out of downtown and the waterfront to set the tourists\’ minds at ease. What\’s wrong with people who are trying to just survive being able to do it hassle free? Not everyone who is poor and homeless is a criminal.

    This incident happened out towards Gresham, and according to the victim, was perpetrated by gang members.

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  • Michael August 28, 2007 at 11:02 am

    Skid, you are too right. As our society continues to fracture, more and more of us citizens are moving towards poverty and having to make do with far less. The poor folks are not necessarily the bad folks. Thank you for the reminder.

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  • Matt Picio August 28, 2007 at 12:04 pm

    Ralph (#64)

    Because an ambush is less likely if the cyclist can see the group of people in time to turn around and ride away – hence lighting and cutting back intruding brush. Look at the trail between 3 bridges and the Tacoma overpass for the most glaring example of where that would be a good thing.

    SKiD (#67)

    The incident did not happen towards Gresham – it was in Clackamas County, which means it was inside of 82nd Avenue.

    The two portions of the trail that are vulnerable in Clackamas County are SE Sherrett to SE 42nd Avenue (from 3 bridges to 42nd Ave/JCB) and SE Bell to SE Harney. (SE Harney on out to Gresham is pretty vulnerable too, but that\’s Multnomah County)

    The other part of the Springwater in Clackamas County is at Telford Rd, way out past Gresham, and that section from there to Boring is unpaved and generally unpopulated as well.

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  • Donald August 28, 2007 at 1:43 pm

    @ Wyatt #61

    Hmmmmmm…Timbuk bag with a holster? I call \”Doubt It.\”

    In fact, an interview with the founder stated: \”Of course, not every suggestion sees the light of day. Just ask Reiss about the requests for a sand-washed silk bag, a burrito pouch, and a concealed pistol holster.\”

    I got a quarter that says I\’m right. Besides, I\’ll have to retire my sweet orange/black Pro Messenger if I find out it\’s just another spinoff from the military industrial complex.

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  • Jerrod August 28, 2007 at 1:57 pm


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  • MaTa August 28, 2007 at 3:27 pm

    How many of you defending the homeless street people actually interact with them? Sure, there are a good portion that are down on their luck and just need help getting back into society. There are also many with severe mental illnesses that go untreated due to our barbaric society not furnishing health care to all, regardless of ability to pay.

    However, plenty of them are also flat out bums that do absolutely nothing to help themselves. Instead, they focus all their energies on panhandling and stealing anything that isn\’t nailed down (especially bikes and scrap metal) just so that they can get drunk and/or high.

    This kind of of sh!t is epidemic here in Parkrose. .. .there are roaming homeless all over the place – especially by where I live, near the railroad tracks. I am a night owl by nature and usually ride my bike alone. I have encountered endless catcalls, vomiting/defecating in the open, blatant drug use/public drinking, fighting amongst themselves, and blatant thefts in progress.

    I\’m not saying lock \’em all up – they need to be treated for their mental illness, various addictions, and given a chance to reintegrate into society. But until we as a society decide to do the humane thing, don\’t sugar coat it as all homeless just want a hug and a round of singing Kumbaya. Plenty of them are severely mentally ill aggravated by harsh living conditions and intense substance abuse. Many of them are also on the lam for various past crimes, outstanding warrants, etc.

    Treat them like the humans they are when possible but ALSO be wary and carry strong pepper spray. I say this as a fit, but petite female that encounters these folks EVERY day and someone who had to defend herself against an attempted assault by a meth addled felon many moons ago with pepper spray. It dropped that 250#+ creep, just as he started to swing at me, like a truck hit him, coating him with blaze orange dye. Had I not had it on my person, I shudder to think what would have happened. The police told me he had multiple warrants out for his arrest in two states for meth production and domestic violence.

    Life is beautiful and people are generally good but there are also some REALLY bad folks out there too, be kind but careful. . . .

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  • wyatt August 28, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    \”@ Wyatt #61

    Hmmmmmm…Timbuk bag with a holster? I call \”Doubt It.\”\”

    Sarcasm. Quick, duck! *WOOSH*

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  • Deb August 28, 2007 at 4:46 pm


    chicken manure will work too – cheap and very effective

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  • Michael August 28, 2007 at 6:15 pm

    Ma Ta, you, also, are too right. We just should not paint them all with one brush. We also can\’t afford to take the time and chance to figure them out as individuals. Sucks. I have a sometimes homeless relative, who finds himself in that position by the choice of his poor decisions. He is also a very nice guy whose theadbare clothing is patched by hand and usually clean. He is also 100% harmless and would give you his last dollar if you asked for it.

    Regarding natural stinks, I first mentioned it in jest, but now think it really could work and could be done by us civilians with little effort and expense.

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  • Jasun Wurster August 28, 2007 at 9:37 pm

    ***This sentence has been deleted. Jasun, please make your points without unduly disrespecting other people and without using language that others might find offensive. Thanks. — Jonathan Maus.***

    Oh snap, he dropped the \’N-Bomb\’… while we are at it let\’s just call Gang-Bangers \’Spicks\’ and Tweakers \’Honkeys\’.

    From reading most of the comments in this thread you are no better than the liberals back in the 50\’s that allowed those social atrocities to happen. Hell, Portland just got it\’s own version of Jim Crow laws (sit and lie ordinance) based not on race but lack of home… because businesses want to have this pristine image of Downtown.

    Yes, it sucks that someone got jumped on the trail. But really, how many more people get jumped when the Fleet is in town by drunken sailors for Rose Festival. Furthermore, the story never said that it was homeless people that did this. Yet your assumptions are that it is \’them\’.

    I suspect that the visceral reaction to the people being forced to live on public land near a public trails is a coping mechanism for the real fact that fellow humans (the homeless) are being treated horribly by you to raise your property values… not to mention lack of affordable housing, mental treatment programs and poverty because we already pay too much taxes.

    Portland is very progressive when it comes to bicycles… but when it comes to dealing with social issues the majority of these comments display that the residents of this region is just as red as the rest of \’merica.

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  • lovevelo » Don’t Fear the Springwater August 28, 2007 at 9:50 pm

    […] wrote about a guy getting jumped on the Springwater Corridor. Which has really upset Mrs. Thom. She now refuses to ride the stretch from Sellwood to Johnson […]

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  • wsbob August 29, 2007 at 2:19 am

    **The first paragraph of this comment has been deleted due to inappropriate personal insults. See my comment below — Jonathan Maus.**

    Most of what Jasun Wurster alleges is just flat wrong rhetorical nonsense. I read all the comments above too. Nobody, I repeat, nobody that I noticed, ever suggested that homeless people beat up the guy. Comments from the victim related to a phrase called out suggested the possibility association of the attackers with some kind of gang issue, but skin color was never mentioned.

    The Springwater Corridor trail is a very unique and important public resource. If responsible people, considerate of others are to be expected to use it regularly, those people need to know what to expect when they go there; whether it represents a good experience and whether it\’s safe. Discussion here, of various groups symptomatic of problems in our society, seems important given that people from some of those groups apparently are somewhat common along the Springwater Corridor Trail.

    Nobody here is saying that homeless people on the Springwater are inherently bad, but it stands to reason that some people are going be afraid by the uncertainty that the unknown represents in isolated sections of resource like Springwater.

    Many social problems in this country effecting people without what they need to lead decent lives need to be addressed. If anything, maybe the opportunity the Springwater offers people to see some of that first hand is one of its virtues in terms of affecting some positive solutions, but there\’s no magic wand for that, and certainly, sophmoric, juvenile ranting is not going to magically become one.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 29, 2007 at 8:16 am

    wsbob (#78),

    First, Jasun Wurster is far from a troll… he\’s a hard-working advocate who has been around a long time.

    Second, would you PLEASE TRY to refrain from such insulting comments?

    I was tempted to delete your entire comment.

    The basic rule around here is to be civil and pretend we are having this discussion together in my living room … I doubt you\’d tell Jasun to \”put a sock in it\” if you were standing near him face-to-face.

    Thank you for understanding and I look forward to reading your future comments.

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  • wyatt August 29, 2007 at 8:53 am


    When you ask people to refrain from insulting comments could you also include people who insult the entire Portland cycling community?


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  • Axel August 29, 2007 at 9:10 am

    As we Portlanders get out of our cars we are throwing ourselves into humanity in ways some may have forgotten or never known.

    Leaving the house out of a garage with an electric car opener you may not have to face anything scarier than a pan handler at a slow onramp to a freeway.

    On a bike or walking you are forced to engage and encounter people, beautiful or ugly, scary or peaceful, smart or stupid. This is what most humans do; on their way to get water on the outskirts of Abuja, buying fish at a market in Marseilles, riding to work in Amsterdam, walking to get their shoes fixed in the souk or visiting grandma in Kathmandu.

    Talk to strangers and remember we are so prosperous and so lucky.

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  • Matt Picio August 29, 2007 at 9:19 am

    wyatt (#80) Agreed. Jasun\’s comment is equally as inflamatory, and for similar reasons.

    Jonathan (#79)

    I\’m glad you didn\’t remove wsbob\’s comment, and actually Jonathan, I\’m a little disturbed that you\’d consider deleting it in its entirety. The first paragraph is unmitigated insult and personal attack, and I agree that it\’s inappropriate on this forum. In other instances, however, you merely remove the offending section of the post. In this specific instance, wsbob\’s first paragraph could be excised without changing the context, content or meaning of the post – one which makes valid points, even if many of us disagree with them.

    Bikeportland\’s policy of removing personal attacks yet leaving the \”meat\” of the comment is one of the main reasons I contribute and participate in comments – this is one of the better behaved sites I frequent, and generally everyone is very respectful of each other and their contributions to the community. I think you, in particular Jonathan, have made a tremendous effort to keep it that way without censorship and with minimal editing to people\’s posts when they cross the line. In the interest of free exchange of ideas, I hope that policy continues.

    Apologies for using public space to state this, but I felt that given the context of this particular instance that a public response was warranted.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 29, 2007 at 9:33 am

    Thanks for that feedback Matt.

    I have gone back and edited wsbob\’s comment to just remove the first paragraph.

    I agree with what you say. I was tempted to delete the entire comment out of frustration and was trying to relay that feeling.

    I will continue with my effort to do as little editing/moderating/censorship of comments as possible. .. but I do reserve the right to do so at my sole discretion and without having a stated policy….

    …now, back to the discussion….

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  • wyatt August 29, 2007 at 9:46 am


    Who are these liberals back in the 50s who created the homeless?

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  • Matt Picio August 29, 2007 at 10:30 am

    wyatt, unless I\’m misunderstanding here, Jasun is saying that liberals in the 50\’s allowed racial laws to continue rather than fighting against them – and he\’s saying that \”we\” (whoever \”we\” are) are just as bad for allowing similar laws against the homeless to be passed.

    Assuming I understand you correctly, Jasun, then the root of the problem isn\’t just the \”sit-and-lie\” ordinance, it\’s the whole current concept of \”private property\”

    If city parks were truly regarded as \”public property\”, then the city wouldn\’t be permitted to enforce \”visiting hours\” for the parks. Public isn\’t.

    Private property is even worse, because eventually someone owns ALL the land and every new person has to go somewhere. I like the native american concept of private property by use, not by \”right\” or \”ownership\”.

    Then again, I\’m not currently a property owner.

    Regardless, wsbob is right – although people have commented on the homeless, the \”gang\” youth and the mentally ill who frequent the trail, no one has ascribed the moniker of \”homeless\” to the attackers.

    Crime on the inner Springwater focuses on 2 areas – SE Sherrett to SE 45th and SE Bell to SE 82nd. Both are for the same reasons: both areas are isolated from nearby roads, unlit at night, adjacent to industrial areas or low-income residential, unpatrolled, unmonitored, and with limited escape routes and no public phones.

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  • wsbob August 29, 2007 at 10:50 am

    Jonathan, my feelings about your having excised the first paragraph of my comment #78 are fairly close to those expressed by Wyatt, comment #80.

    Jasun Wurster may be a hard working advocate in some respects, but the unjustified and un-needed, inappropriately inflammatory technique he was allowed to use on this weblog to achieve an indirectly related agenda is not consistent with that of an advocate truly seeking constructive, positive change for everyone.

    Jasun Wurster, in addition to possibly being a hard working advocate, is what he is, and for that reason, at this point, I do not retract or apologize to him for him comment #76. Maybe at some point, he will come to understand that there are more considerate, effective ways of expressing his need to urge others towards constructive change,at which point I will be able to have more respect for him and those like him.

    For practical purposes, in future, I will acknowledge and respect the policy of not calling out individuals with insulting names that in this case, I think was sadly fitting. If this policy is to be respected, it should be applied across the board, even to and including those aspiring to be hard working advocates worthy of some respect to fair minded people.

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  • tonyt August 29, 2007 at 11:49 am

    I have to side with wsbob and wyatt here.

    Jasun may have a legitimate, larger point, but the manner in which he chose to convey is not constructive and frankly he\’s attempting to cram those who have a different perspective into a convenient box that he can then slam in a wholesale manner and then pat himself on the back for being so much more enlightened than people in the 50s. Easy to do sitting here in 2007.

    The fact is that Jasun is in no position to compare anyone to \”liberals back in the 50\’s.\” And frankly Jasun is fooling himself, as he sits in judgement, if he thinks that he knows what HE would do were he to be a product of the social dynamics that made the 50s what they were. Ad hominem attacks fail as arguments because they don\’t actually deal with the issue at hand.

    What I\’ve noticed here before is that someone posts in an overly provocative (I\’d say rude) manner that avoids violating the site standards by the thinnest of margins. This provokes an understandably strong, but sometimes overly emotional response. Unfortunately it seems that it\’s the response that most often gets called out. It\’s sort of like in a sporting event where the person who hits first gets away, while the person hitting back gets busted.

    Jasun may be a hard-working advocate, but what I see in his comment is more of desire to come out on top than to contribute to dialogue. He comes on here all guns blazing and forces people into a defensive posture. Not a productive technique for a \”hard-working advocate.\”

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  • a.O August 29, 2007 at 1:17 pm

    Shame on Jasun Wurster for using the n-word. It was a wholly inappropriate and unduly inflammatory method of argumentation and unwarranted by the context of the prior discussion. I highly doubt that Jasun would have used this word if we were \”face-to-face … having this discussion together in [Jon\’s] living room.\” And, if he had, either he or I would have left immediately. I am personally insulted by Jasun\’s use of this word here and I respectfully request that it be removed by the editor.

    In response to the content of the comment, such as it is: As a member of the Portland bicycling community I have done no such thing. The fact that I have not heretofore commented on this story demonstrates the inaccuracy of the statement. It is flat wrong. It is bad reasoning that ironically epitomizing the over-generalization that perpetuates racial and other stereotypes. It should be retracted by its author.

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  • SKiDmark August 29, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    It is the victim of the attack that alleges that it was gang members. He said one of them said \”Don\’t mess with 182nd…\” which may have been 82nd given the location, which I am still not clear on. I know it is nowhere near the waterfront, though.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) August 29, 2007 at 1:40 pm

    my reference to Jasun as a \”hard working advocate\” was not an attempt to dismiss his poorly-worded (and soon to be edited) comment.. I just wanted to let wsbob know that he is far from a troll.

    Thanks to all of you for feedback on this issue of comment moderation. I take it seriously but don\’t have the time to be as careful or even-handed as I would like.

    I think tonyt nails it about how I tend to edit the emotional response to a just as inflammatory comment. I will try and moderate more closely in the future.

    now, I will go an attempt to edit Jasun\’s comment out of respect for everyone.

    Please realize folks that my methods will never be fair or complete or completely fair. I simply don\’t have the time and at this point I don\’t trust anyone else with the task.

    thanks for continuing to comment and for understanding.

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  • tonyt August 29, 2007 at 1:49 pm

    Thanks Jonathan. Yours is not a simple task.

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  • a.O August 29, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    Thanks for this, Jon. I recognize that moderation will never be perfect and I agree tonyt got it exactly right about the first-shot, second-shot way this thing tends to work. For my part, I will always try to envision myself in your living room speaking with a group of people (dare I say friends? colleagues?) whenever I draft a comment.

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  • MaTa August 29, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    \”Congratulations Portland bicycling community for making \’The Homeless\’ the new \’N*****\’.\”

    I just KNEW that no matter how many times I tried to clarify in my post that I wasn\’t picking on the homeless but just warning others to be a bit wary when dealing with some of them, that there would be someone crying about it.

    Despite my mentioning of various causal factors such as \”our barbaric society not furnishing health care to all, regardless of ability to pay.\” ; \”I\’m not saying lock \’em all up – they need to be treated for their mental illness, various addictions, and given a chance to reintegrate into society. But until we as a society decide to do the humane thing . . .\” ; \”Treat them like the humans they are when possible\” ; and \”Life is beautiful and people are generally good\” you had to ignore ALL that and not only try to tie in with red state hyperbole but racism, too?!?

    Wow, great job at really REALLY reaching for that one.. ..

    There is a perfect storm on the streets for creating some really messed up humans – lack of mental health treatment, lack of affordable housing, underfunding/cutting of various addiction recovery programs, lack of compassion by the average person, etc etc. The streets are also awash with untreated mental illness, meth, alcohol, rampant petty/metal thefts, and a revolving door policy at the jails for anything short of really violent crimes.

    All I was suggesting is for those that bike in remote, unlit, areas is to be careful and consider carrying pepper spray. I suggested pepper spray because it DOESN\’T kill anyone, is easy to use by the untrained, and the typical person who doesn\’t want to hurt someone but also doesn\’t want to BE hurt, probably wouldn\’t hesitate to use it (unlike deadly force, like a gun)

    If YOU want to go out biking alone in the night time in remote areas armed only with a big smile for ALL those you encounter – including obviously drug addled mentally ill homeless or packs of aggressively acting young men in gang attire, that\’s YOUR business. I also suspect you are NOT a smaller stature female – a whole different game out there in regards to personal safety, guy. . ..

    Personally, from my own experiences, I will be a bit more wary than that. Bike softly but carry a big stick (pepper spray)

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  • annefi August 29, 2007 at 8:12 pm

    I ride the SWT from Sellwood to OMSI and often through to downtown 2 or 3 times a week. I had a conversation with a couple of men who camp there regularly, but always pack up all of their stuff and get out just after daybreak. They told me that the people who camp near the trail itself are safe and would come to your aid if you ever needed them. They said the people who camp far off the trail are generally the ones to be wary of. I think this section of the trail is much safer than the major portion (from the 3 bridges and beyond) but I still wouldn\’t ride through there in the dark.

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  • a.O August 29, 2007 at 9:10 pm

    \”I ride the SWT from Sellwood to OMSI and often through to downtown 2 or 3 times a week. I had a conversation with a couple of men who camp there regularly, but always pack up all of their stuff and get out just after daybreak.\”

    I see these folks every day but I\’ve only said hello to them. They have been camping there since the Spring. I wonder what they will do when the rains come? I think they would make an interesting story for Jon, because they apparently bike around and to and fro their camp site each day. They are the biking homeless. It would be particularly interesting given the discussion regarding false characterizations of the homeless on the Springwater.

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  • annefi August 29, 2007 at 10:02 pm

    a.O. is right, there are some very interesting stories among the campers. Both of the men I talked to (Dave & Jerry) have jobs. They don\’t earn much money but they are getting established. The older one is in line to get a subsidized apartment and the younger one was asked by his employer what he\’s going to do come winter and his buddy suspects that the employer may offer him a place to sleep. The older one will not be allowed to have a roommate in the subsidized studio apartment.

    They are very friendly and take care each morning to leave their campsite looking as if no one had been there. They are annoyed at campers who leave a mess.

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  • wsbob August 29, 2007 at 10:49 pm

    The word \”troll\”, used in these contemporary times, does not have an official definition, or at least not much of one as near as I can tell. The kind of person I understand it to describe, is not one that is necessarily arch conservative, or diametrically opposed the status quo\’s line of discussion, but rather, a person that antagonistically disrupts conversations, in no small part, for the base satisfaction of doing so.

    I don\’t feel that any person\’s work in responsible social advocacy should grant them the latitude to engage in such an indulgence amongst socially conscious, fair minded people dedicated to positive change and resolution of problems affecting everybody.

    Effective and constructive work on the resolution of conflicts naturally arising out of resources like the Springwater are more likely to occur, if people expend their energy coming up with good ways to address those conflicts.

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