Updated — Citizen bike patrol coming for I-5 Delta Park area

Detail of map showing one of the
paths through Delta Park near I-5.

The City of Portland plans to start up a citizen bike patrol to work the paths around Delta Park and Interstate 5 in North Portland.

According to an announcement for the upcoming training event that happens Tuesday (5/11), members of the new patrol would, “gather periodically and ride this area and report any illegal or suspicious activity to the Portland Police Bureau.”

City Crime Prevention Coordinator Mark Wells is behind the new bike patrol. The program will be based on the City’s existing foot patrol program, the most successful of which is the Mt. Tabor Park Foot Patrol that has 27 active volunteer members who patrols the park, educates parks users, picks up litter and reports illegal activity.

The Office of Neighborhood Involvement will host the new group. To my knowledge, this will be Portland’s first ever bike patrol.

I was particularly interested to hear about this news given that I advocated strongly for the creation of citizen bike patrols three years ago. Calling them “bike beats” I went so far as gauging public interest — a step ONI asked me to take before they moved forward.

Glad to see this become a reality. Bike patrols make so much sense.

I’ve asked Wells whether or not specific safety concerns spurred him to create a patrol in this area. I’ll update the story once I hear back.

UPDATE: In response to the previous question, Mr. Wells writes the following:

“A group of bike commuters contacted me several months ago with safety concerns for this bike path and in particular, the underground tunnel just north of Delta Park on the east side of I-5. There were chronic transients sleeping there, blocking the pathway with shopping carts, and occasionally yelling and intimidating bikers. Some of the users were fearful for their safety and stopped using the path to commute.”

“We had a meeting at the location and met with ODOT folks and a group of riders. ODOT had already posted rules on the walls and is still working with the City to put in place a trespass order to allow police to more easily order unauthorized users to leave the area, discourage loitering, and address the chronic sleeping and drug and alcohol use.”

“Although Portland Police are very diligent at checking this area, we are working in concert with the district Officers on this project, a request was made to put together a bike patrol similar to our foot patrols.”

If you’re interested in joining this bike patrol, here are the details of the initial training session.

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