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Willamette Greenway path north of Steel Bridge closed “until further notice” – UPDATED

Posted by on January 26th, 2016 at 11:53 am

Willamette Greenway path closed

Property manager says nearby camp makes path access unsafe for residents
(Photos: J. Maus/BikePortland)

About one-third of a mile of the Willamette Greenway Trail between the Steel and Broadway Bridges is now closed and locked behind a gate with posted signs that read, “Greenway Closed: Detour to Naito Parkway.” This is not an official closure and it’s unclear whether the people who closed it have the legal right to do so.

I confirmed the closure this morning after receiving two tips yesterday from people who were concerned about it. The company that manages the McCormick Pier Condominiums, Community Management Inc., says the McCormick Pier Board of Directors decided at their meeting on January 18th to close the path because of what they refer to as “unsafe homeless activity under the Steel Bridge.” They say the path will be closed, “until further notice.”

Here’s the flyer they’ve posted in common area near the condo’s parking lot:

Willamette Greenway path closed

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Here’s the salient part of the notice:

“There has been an increased problem this past year with persons camping under the Steel Bridge and causing security, maintenance, health, and safety issues to McCormick Pier property and residents. The pictures [in the notice] show just a fraction of the damage at McCormick Pier. The police cannot respond the way the should be able to with the Mayors new “stand down” order for anything to do with the homeless or their dogs.

There is no one left to call and it is simply not safe.”

In a separate notice also posted by CMI, they say the closure was needed, “due to unsafe homeless activity under the Steel Bridge.” “We apologize for any inconvenience this may cause,” continues the notice, “however the Assocation is working hard to keep McCormick Pier as safe as possible during this unfortunate situation.”

In addition to urging people to contact Portland Mayor Charlie Hales’ office, CMI wants residents to send them documented incidents they’ve experienced or witnessed, “in order to present a united front to the appropriate authorities and ask that they take immediate action to remove the campsites and clean up the park.”

People have slept along the path just south of the McCormick Pier Condominiums at the western end of the Steel Bridge for many years. But in the past few months, a full-fledged camp has sprouted up. There are currently many people living on both sides of the path as it approaches the McCormick property.

Willamette Greenway path closed

The camp just south of McCormick Pier Condominiums looking east from NW Naito Parkway.
Willamette Greenway path closed

Looking south from the southern end of the McCormick property.
Willamette Greenway path closed

View from behind the locked gate toward the path with the camp and Naito Parkway in the background.

Michael Morrison rides this section of the path regularly. He contacted us via email yesterday and said he understands the concerns about the encampment but that decision to close it, “is not a very civil response.” “A more nuanced response is needed,” he added.

As we reported with a similar situation on the Springwater, Mayor Hales is no longer enforcing camping bans in Portland until there are enough places for everyone to live.

While the City of Portland maintains an easement in front of the McCormick Pier condos, the homeowners association took over official maintenance responsibilities in 2002. In 2010 they used that authority to close the trail to fix damage caused by erosion; but it’s unclear whether they have the right to close the path for something as vague as “unsafe homeless activity.”

What is clear from this closure is that CMI wants to use the closure to pressure the Mayor’s Office to do more to address the camp that’s sprung up just a few dozen feet from their property line. But their move might have crossed a line if they continue to prohibit access to a path the public has a legal right to use.

Many people ride this section of the path because the option is riding next to auto traffic on Naito. This path is also popular for walking and running.

Parks bureau spokesman Mark Ross confirmed for us this morning that the existing trail easement requires CMI to maintain public access from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm. He says Parks is currently inquiring with the Portland Police Bureau to find out if they advised CMI to close the path out of a concern for public safety. If that’s not the case, Parks will likely ask CMI to re-open the path immediately. Ross also said he’s not aware of any specific citizen complaints that have been made around this area.

We’ve contacted CMI for comment but have yet to hear back. We’ll update this post when we do.

UPDATE, 12:24 pm: Lisa Campbell with Community Management Inc. has gotten back to me. She said the McCormick Pier Board of Directors plans to keep the path closed, “Until the mayor pays attention and figures out what to do down there.” Campbell says she’s received about 20 complaints from condo owners in the past week. She said people have had cars broken into and one owner was “assaulted” when he confronted a man stealing a package off his porch.

I asked Campbell if she or any of the board members had tried to talk with the people who live in the camps. She said there has been some interactions, but most people are likely afraid because of how aggressive she says many of the campers have become. Campbell said the Oregon Department of Transportation was monitoring the area and cleaning it up from time-to-time but has recently stopped doing that because the area has become unsafe. “There are some aggressive people over there,” Campbell said, “You’re not going to just hang out with them.”

Campbell said they’d love to open the path, but until “the Board sees some action to clean this up and get some enforcement” they’ll keep it closed. So you’re holding the path hostage? I asked. “Yeah. Kind of,” she replied.

UPDATE, 1:25 pm: Just off the phone with Mayor Hales. He said he’s going to demand that McCormick Pier Condiminiums re-open the path immediately. “I want you to know that I’m not going to permit people to take public right-of-way hostage for political purposes… They just unilaterally occupied this public right-of-way.” Hales went on to share his recent actions to deal with the homeless and housing problems plaguing Portland which include 275 new shelter beds in the past three months and $67 million invested in affordable housing. “We’ve moved quickly to make a difference,” he said.

When I asked him specifically about the issue of homeless camps that are adjacent to transportation corridors like the Willamette Greenway and Springwater paths, he said his office is trying to get all city bureaus on the same page. “We understand that unmanaged homeless camps, unpoliced homeless camps can cause livability problems. That’s why we’re authorizing sweeps and clean-ups when necessary. No one should get the impression that they can just do whatever they want. However, in the short-run, while we’re moving to radically increase shelter space, there are going to be people camping outside. That’s a fact of life. We’re going to make sure that it’s done in a responsible way and where peoples’ safety is assured… both the safety of people in the neighborhood, people who pass through these transportation corridors, and the people in the camps.”

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

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Adam
Subscriber

The city should not allow a private developer to close the only safe bike route through downtown. This is absolutely unacceptable. Naito is a high-stress route and is not a suitable replacement for the riverfront path.

We need to address the homeless issue on all fronts, but we should not allow campers to shut down public spaces. That is not how an equitable city should operate. The city’s response to the homeless issue by “doing nothing” is completely unacceptable.

daisy
Guest
daisy

Adam H.
We need to address the homeless issue on all fronts, but we should not allow campers to shut down public spaces. That is not how an equitable city should operate.

This winter I’ve noticed a cluster of tents on the sidewalk on NW Irving at Broadway. I’ve seen one or two people bundled up in sleeping bags but not with tents on the NW Broadway sidewalk where it rises to the bridge. In these cases, it looks like the tents and sleeping bags are pushed against the railing to leave some room for people walking and on bikes to get through.

I also imagine you get hassled a lot less if you’re not actually blocking the path.

Is this not happening elsewhere? I understand that trash and enforcement issues can make it seem like the sidewalk or path is off-limits or not somewhere you want to be, but the private property owner closing and blocking a public easement is physically blocking the path, which brings this to a whole different level.

Adam
Subscriber

I agree. If the camping is not impacting the ROW or access then it is less of an issue. However, there have been reports of attacks and harassment in parks and trails, and that is still effectively “shutting down” public space. If people don’t feel safe, they won’t use the parks that are supposedly “for everyone”. As is creating a situation that forces the closure of a public space. McCormick Pier is not blameless here, either. Did they talk to the people living outside to explain their problems and find a solution? Or was the path just closed as a knee-jerk response? My bet’s on the latter.

That being said, I am sure the vast majority of people living outside are not causing a problem. There has to be a compromise that addresses the few problem individuals while allowing the rest of the people that are not causing problems to stay. The hands off, “do nothing” approach isn’t working. If PPB is allowing people to camp, then there should be no issue with them patrolling the areas and address problems when they arise. After all, homeless people deserve police protection too.

Mike
Guest
Mike

“.. the only safe bike route through downtown.”

Do you know where this path is?! There is no way you could consider it a route through downtown – let alone the only one.

Adam
Subscriber

Yes, I used to ride it from the Steel Bridge to the Pearl every day. And yes, it is the only bike route though downtown that does not constantly have cars encroaching upon it.

Mike
Guest
Mike

OK, so you are aware that the path does not go through downtown, but is a longer alternative route to get from the steel bridge to the old PPB stables.

Adam
Subscriber

If your goal is to get to the Pearl from the east side, then this path is effectively going through downtown.

longgone
Guest
longgone

No.

bernie wick
Guest
bernie wick

It is only 1/3 of a mile long…hardly a major route through downtown. Though bikers are considerate of the walkers, it is really not a bike path.

was carless
Guest
was carless

I used to live in Northwest, and rode Naito. This path is, quite frankly, terrible for bicycling. It is full of 90-degree turns, is very narrow, and probably twice as long as riding along Naito. And you can’t really go over 10 mph without either crashing, falling into the river, or running over a pedestrian.

JeffS
Guest
JeffS

Have you considered a trip to the doctor? What you’re describing sounds like a serious coordination problem.

Glen
Guest
Glen

Adam, that land is privateproperty according to http://www.portlandmaps.com The only leverage the public would have would be a result of a public easement on the private property, but the tax maps don’t appear to show one.

jeff
Guest
jeff

is it “safe” anymore?

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

This is the homeowner’s association that has taken this action. In other words, the people that own the property. The easement was granted to allow people to travel through and have access to the river. It wasn’t meant for homeless to dump their trash, shoot up, harass others, relieve themselves, etc. I’d say the city is violating the terms of the easement, if not the spirit of it. And if anyone is taking the ROW hostage, it’s the homeless.

Randall S.
Guest
Randall S.

So the campers were the ones who closed the gate and locked it? I guess I missed that in the article.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

the existing trail easement requires CMI to maintain public access from 6:00 am to 10:00 pm

Well, that says it all. The hobo encampment is getting big and the mess extends out onto Naito, but that doesn’t change who owns the property. (or easement, at least)

Erinne
Guest
Erinne

Can we at least agree to not use to word “hobo”? These are people who don’t have a place inside to sleep at night. Let’s not dehumanize them any more.

Spiffy
Subscriber

it’s a proper word to use when referring to homeless people… I don’t see it being any worse than saying homeless…

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

I’ve always thought of hobos as more itinerant, riding trains and playing harmonica and stuff, writing in secret codes, and playing hide-and-seek with railroad bulls. I don’t see the word as derogatory, but I don’t think it applies to most of Portland’s campers.

Nick Skaggs
Guest
Nick Skaggs

I thought that there was a definied difference between the terms, “hobo,” “tramp,” and “bum.”

IIRC, hobos were traveling/migratory homeless workers, tramps would work so they could travel, and bums would refuse to work at all.

At least, I think I heard that from Woody Guthrie somewhere.

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

I took a new job early last year; since then I’ve ridden through this area every day. I’ve seen a notable rise, even in that time, in the number of people camped in that area.

These people aren’t living inside. They don’t have a regular place to bathe, to cook, or to stay warm when it’s cold out. This spot they’ve found is covered by bridges so it stays dry in the rain, though, and that’s huge for them.

In the year-ish I’ve ridden that way I’ve seen messy behavior, littering, and people occasionally crowding the path. I have not yet, in that time, seen a single incident I’d call dangerous or any people who have in any way made me feel unsafe.

Do you suppose Lisa Campbell is interested in hearing my experience? She’s solicited a call for problems, not for exonerations.

eli bishop
Guest
eli bishop

I have. They blocked the path and yelled at me. I even called the police, who came remarkably quickly.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

I don’t ride through there on a daily basis- thankfully I haven’t had anyone block and yell, but that would scare me.

I ride NB on Naito about once a week, and there’s garbage drifting onto the street even. Not to mention the 53ft storage container for the homeless/hobos/whatevers that couldn’t be placed because they couldn’t get them to move.

Mike
Guest
Mike

I bet in the past year you’ve been riding your bicycle through that area, none of these people have broken into your car or tried to steal your mail either.

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

Obviously not. Neither my car nor my house is there.

But that does illustrate one point: this may not be about whether the *path* is safe. If your comment were the nature of the complaint (and perhaps it is), they have an on-site security problem and they’re holding the path hostage to get a fix.

Terry D-M
Guest
Terry D-M

Unlike what is going on at the Springwater, this situation though dire and visually traumatizing has never felt unsafe to me.

It does show that this is a citywide problem. Some in the neighborhood coalition system have been working on a concept whereby there would be a public permit process for tent encampments citywide: An open process of zoning. We have zoning for street trees, parking automobiles and bike corrals but not for tent camps. It is time we make some so we can quickly create short term communities citywide. Hanzelnut Grove is a good model.

Then, once we bring the problem out of the darkness we will visually see its magnitude while we create a community wide long term solution to the housing crises.

MaxD
Guest
MaxD

Hazelnut Grove is a horrible model! Permitting shanty towns is a way of creating a new, lower class of citizen to whom the laws and protections do not apply equally. The City needs to create temporary housing options, offer addiction and mental health services, and enforce the no camping, littering and drug rules. Permitting camps is effectively giving up on these people. Their are the “homeless by choice” and addicts not ready to treatment that will continue to resist help, but they should not be encouraged to set up and run permanent shanty towns.

dwk
Guest
dwk

Hazelnut grove is a good model for a third world country…
What are you talking about?
The “homeless” discussion, problem and no solution in this city is a complete embarrassment.

BeavertonRider
Guest
BeavertonRider

Im sorry if I misunderstand you here, but are you suggesting that the City not just tolerate tent camps for the homless, but to formalize this arrangement via a permitting process? In other words, you’d approve of having homeless tent camps sited across the City?

If so, how do you propose to deal with the obvious sanitation issues? How do you propose to effectively manage crime (not only committed against the general public, but, more importantly, among the homeless themselves (think of the Occupy crime sprees)?

I am appalled that someone is suggesting that we not just tolerate the camps, but make them official. The tolerant attitude is what has facilitated the current expansion of these camps and the higher incidence of these camps, hence, formalizing the arrangement will merely result in more camps and campers.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

From what I hear, the neighbors of Hazelnut Grove do not share your opinion that it is a good model. It probably looks better from a distance.

resopmok
Guest
resopmok

At the risk of being harangued myself, I have to say that these responses generally lack the recognition that these camps will continue to exist in one form or another whether the city takes a more hardline stance or not. Homelessness won’t be solved by telling people they’re not allowed to be homeless, and pushing the problem farther underground will actually facilitate more and worse crime. The other things the responses lack is a viable counter-solution. At least Terry D-M, whether you agree with him or not, is attempting to address the issues rationally and compassionately instead of just pointing fingers and hurling insults. Please, we can do better.

daisy
Guest
daisy

Hey Jon and Michael: I appreciated the time you all took last week to talk to people living along the Springwater. I wonder if you might interview someone locally who is an advocate for homeless folks, to help us get the big picture of the problem and possible solutions. Oh, wouldn’t it be great if you could find someone who works on this issue locally and also bike commutes?

I know we’re getting a bit farther afield from cycling, but it does seem like the issue of homelessness is touching on everything else in Portland these days, and, in the big picture, this is related to development, infrastructure, cost of housing, and so on.

RH
Guest
RH

The issue I have is that other cities are busing their homeless to Portland. They offer the folks a free one way ticket and a “chance to start over” in a “compassionate” city. San Fran, San Diego, Florida, etc.. are all busing folks up here. I estimate there will be twice the number of homeless folks here this summer compared to last summer. And the city will continue to ‘stand down’ for at least 5 years since it will take them that long to get places for everyone to live.

Adam
Subscriber

That is a bold accusation. Do you have any evidence to support this?

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

And in some communities this action would be illegal too. So please document it, so the authorities can be notified…as best as you can or state that it is second, third or fourth hand info…

Oliver
Guest
B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

Shouldn’t we all be putting our homeless folks onto buses bound for Utah? Utah has an extensive “housing first” model and all the homeless advocates I talk to always tell me how Utah has gotten all of its homeless people housed through this. Wouldn’t those bus tickets be the compassionate thing to do, since Utah apparently has the resources to house the homeless and we don’t?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

If every city sends their homeless to another distant city, the buses themselves might have sufficient capacity to hold everyone. The problem might just solve itself.

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

Buses? We have lots of parking!

Cory P
Guest
Cory P

Have you been to Utah? I don’t think most of our homeless community would leave portland for Salt Lake even if there were a free apartment waiting. We need to accept that many homeless live in Portland for the same reasons we do. They like it here.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

I can see a similar argument on “bikeutah.org”: “have you ever been to Portland? I don’t think most of our homeless..”

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

The skiing is waaay better in Utah, but the beer is waaay worse. It’s important to have priorities.

Zimmerman
Guest
Zimmerman

You’ve obviously never had any of Squatter’s beer.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Tell me more… Is it around here? What styles do they brew?

B. Carfree
Guest
B. Carfree

As a matter of fact, that’s where several branches of my family came west from, including cousin Philo. I’ve been there plenty. I’ve also been to Bel Air. Should I be allowed to just take over its public spaces because I like it there? By your reasoning, even if we build adequate shelter space and other inexpensive/free housing, people should still be allowed to take over our public space (and, apparently, any private space) if they prefer our bike paths and parks to what we offer.

daisy
Guest
daisy

So is this a real thing? Or apocryphal? I’d be really interested to see documentation that this happens on a large scale.

daisy
Guest
daisy

I went and looked for some information on this myself.

Here’s what I found:
Maybe, maybe not says this article.
http://www.ktvb.com/story/news/2015/01/16/boise-chief-mike-masterson-address-homelessness/21848411/

Boise Police come up with a plan to crack down on the homeless people camping, the folks who stay here say more are coming into town all the time. They say other nearby cities will buy bus tickets to get certain homeless people out of their city.

“It would be Seattle, Portland, Salt Lake City. But, it’s just from the nearest cities,” said Jake Redding, a transient we met under the overpass.

We asked the Police Departments of Seattle, Portland, and Salt Lake City if this is true. They all said no. However, Seattle Police say they have heard of this happening before.

This one person says it happened to her, but an official says they’ll give people a bus ticket to a new place when someone is waiting on the other end.
http://legacy.kgw.com/story/news/2014/07/26/12578644/

Hawaii sends people home on planes to relatives.
http://newsfeed.time.com/2013/07/31/hawaii-offers-homeless-one-way-tickets-out-of-state/

Colorado Springs wanted to send people to relatives.
http://thinkprogress.org/economy/2014/06/27/3454029/colorado-bus-homeless/

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor
Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

All it would take to substantiate the claim would be to find one of the recipients of such largess. And what a story it would make!

rick
Guest
rick

Thank you Jonathan for speaking out for both the homeless and for active transportation.

meh
Guest
meh

He only speaks out on the homeless in terms of transportation. It this didn’t involve a MUP and inconvenience cyclists there would be no story.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Are you so sure? I read this blog often, most times daily. Certainly the primary focus is cycling related obviously…..

Adam
Guest
Adam

I live a block from this path, and have to say I’m not surprised at this closure.

I try to be empathic towards people who have no access to permanent shelter. It must be a really demoralising position to be in.

But the conditions at this camp that the general public have to navigate through are HORRIFIC. It is incredibly sad to see my neighborhood deteriorate so quickly.

The tents and shopping carts often spillover onto the multi-use path. There is trash EVERYWHERE. And I mean everywhere.

I found three hyperdermic needles discarded in the middle of the sidewalk last week. That’s just great when yr biking yr six year old to school.

The stench of urine is overpowering some days.

There are rats everywhere at night.

The homeless camp doesn’t appear to give a hoot about any of this. It feels so disrespectful. And it makes me so sad.

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

I grew up in Portland, and am now at the point where we’re deciding where we want to raise a family. If this trend continues, I’m not sure if we’re going to want to stay in the city. The two parks near our house now have semi-permanent campers and drug use. Are we expected to take our children to play at the park under those circumstances? Who wants to take a child for a bike ride on the Springwater?

Kittens
Guest
Kittens

Ah yes… Think of the children!

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

Yes, I am thinking of my children. You are correct.

Adam
Guest
Adam

When my child picks up one of three hyperdermic needles just lying in the middle of the multi-use path, I will think of them, thanks.

Adults know not to touch that stuff under any account. A child doesn’t.

longgone
Guest
longgone

Said the person with no child….. May you never bestowed one, even accidentally….. Oops, especially açcidently!! the forgotten dregs that everyone here is worried about, are someone’s wayward child.

Random
Guest
Random

And if someone gets assaulted on the trail, guess who is getting sued…

Matt
Guest
Matt

I was running down there Monday and I witnessed a guy shooting up. The needle was literally sticking out of this arm. I have empathy for individuals addicted to drugs and people without homes, but I don’t know how to solve the problem other than direct community engagement with kindness and compassion. It’s sad all around, just unfortunate that it’s happing on the waterfront, what is supposed to be a gem of the city…

Spiffy
Subscriber

it’s hilarious and sad that they think that fence will keep people out…

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

It seems reasonable to assume that it’s less about keeping people out, and more about sending a message to the Mayor.

q`Tzal
Guest
q`Tzal

Rescind ALL TAX BREAKS and incentives given to this land owner.

Retroactively bill them for those back taxes INCLUDING late fees and penalties for those taxes not paid yet.

Until they return this PUBLIC land back to the public charge them full market value for every square foot of prime real estate they’ve commandeered like those other criminals.

If upon returning the land to public use they still want to mitigate abusive camping I suggest that they invest in quality lighting, video cameras and a sound system that plays the Lambchop’s Sing-a-Long theme song on a continuous 24/7 loop. It can actually be very quietly broadcast and still be an effective deterrent to sanity.

maccoinnich
Subscriber

What tax breaks do you think they’re getting?

Pliny
Guest
Pliny

Technically, it’s not public land. It’s an easement. One they’ve been paying to maintain. They are in violation of their obligation to allow access, but have fun taking them to court over it.

Mike
Guest
Mike

What good would the security cameras be if city hall has mandated a hands off policy? Who would monitor the footage?
Why should the neighbors make this kind of investment on ODOT property when you’re also suggesting that they shouldn’t be able to manage the property directly adjacent to their building?! Your’re suggesting a rather expensive, aggressive and escalating solution to this problem.

jeff
Guest
jeff

yeah, taxes don’t really work that way, but good on ya for thinking big.

Random
Guest
Random

“As we reported with a similar situation on the Springwater, Mayor Hales is no longer enforcing camping bans in Portland until there are enough places for everyone to live.”

Sounds like Hales and the City of Portland are to blame here.

The private owner agreed to an easement for a bike trail, not an easement for a homeless camp.

Spiffy
Subscriber

the private owner agreed to a public easement… homeless people are part of the public population…

ean
Guest
ean

You would have to read the language in the easement to determine that.

BeavertonRider
Guest
BeavertonRider

Talk about holding something hostage… This seems far more egregious than this management company’s actions. The Mayor is saying that the City will not enforce it’s own laws in addition to not preserving public safety until something else occurs. Conveniently, though, that something is wholly in the City’s control and the City will not do it’s job.

Therefore, we should become accustomed to permanent tent/shanty towns in Portland.

Psyfalcon
Guest
Psyfalcon

Well, if they’re there after the hours the easement prescribes, or off the path easement, shouldn’t they be removed?

I mean Portland isn’t really saying it wont apply trespassing laws to people on private property now, right? Or at what point does a person or business loose the ability to have people thrown off their property, surely I could get someone arrested for camping in my backyard.

Tomas La Palella
Guest
Tomas La Palella

We can’t have a clean or safe…let’s see: Springwater, Eastbank, Waterfront Park, North Park Blocks, 205 Path, Marine Drive, Forest Park, Washington Park, Powell Butte, Colonel Summers, etc etc etc.

What’s left? Not much.

Charlie Hales has openly invited people who choose a lifestyle of drugs, crime and squatting to take over our city. He’s practically begging them to come here and prey on our tolerance and progressive ideals.

I’m tired of it. I’m tired of picking up hypodermic needles cast into my yard, tired of being intimidated and chased out of public spaces that I support with my tax dollars and volunteer time. While Fritz pats herself in the back and Charlie desperately tries to pad out his do-nothing legacy, our quality of life is being severely affected.

I’m done feeling sorry for the people who are sucking us dry. It’s time for action. It’s time we made it clear that as Portlanders we deserve more than this. No more unregistered sex offenders living camps just a stone’s throw from our schools. No more shanty towns full of stolen bikes, stolen electronics and even stolen guns. No more open air meth, crack and heroin use on our greenways and commons!

It’s time we stand up and made our voices heard. Enough!

jeff
Guest
jeff

some of these folks are now arming themselves, according to today’s headlines. stolen guns, stolen cars, recidivism as its finest.

soren
Guest
soren

It’s time for the upper quintiles to stop complaining about a perennial problem and fund a minimal level of housing for the houseless.

“that I support with my tax dollars”

A civil society is not free. Time to pay up!

Adam
Subscriber

I want safe roads. I want housing for the homeless. I’m also willing to pay for it. Please tax me!

longgone
Guest
longgone

I’m taxed quite enough. Please be quiet, you are giving them ideas. Shhhh.

jeff
Guest
jeff

you must not be a home owner in PDX.

longgone
Guest
longgone

No… I live in a van.

37Dennis
Guest
37Dennis

@soren…. You either misread Tomas, or chose to cherry-pick his words for your own use. First, even of he is a homeowner, that does not mean he is some societal elitist. Second, he spoke directly to public spaces in regards to his tax money.

CR
Guest
CR

It’s worth considering how property owners will feel about requested easements for trails in the future.

Pat Lowell
Guest
Pat Lowell

This, exactly!!

Pat Lowell
Guest
Pat Lowell

Forgot to add, good luck getting the gaps in our MUPs filled in, if this will be the result..

Glenn
Guest
Glenn

I support the mayor in declaring a State of Emergency regarding homelessness in Portland, and feel that it was years overdue. Unfortunately, that State of Emergency has come without any sort of plan or communication. We’re seeing this play out over and over, whether on the Springwater Trail, Greeley, or now in this instance. Yes, we have an issue with housing and homelessness, Mayor Hales, and our homeless citizens deserve more. So do people who use parks and trails, and residents of neighborhoods who have seen crime rise as the result of a few bad apples in some of the camps. The complete lack of communication and involvement from the Mayor and City Council has only served to pit neighborhoods and groups like cyclists against the homeless. That isn’t fair to anyone, and quickly breaks down a community.

Apologies for the rant…..

John
Guest
John

This problem isn’t the management company’s fault and it’s not one they can solve on their own. I appreciate the gravity of the situation, but these people need to get off the streets. If the mayor wants to accommodate them in another way through some big action like converting a warehouse and providing adequate facilities and social help, that’s fine, but the rest of us shouldn’t have to put up with aggressive, territorial behavior and conditions akin to a developing nation. I want our public space back.

Spiffy
Subscriber

this problem, the path being closed, is the management company’s fault…

it’s not their fault there’s a homeless camp nearby…

Kyle
Guest
Kyle

The condo owners can be held liable for anything that happens on their property. I doubt they really want to block the trail because it affects their access too.

While the vast majority of homeless people do not cause trouble, these camps sometimes do present real safety and sanitation problems while preventing trails from being used as they should. Frankly, I find riding on the streets highly preferable to riding through certain camps (including this one) late at night.

daisy
Guest
daisy

If you all want to share your concerns with Lisa and other folks at CMI (in a nice way, people!), here’s their contact information:
http://www.communitymgt.com/index.cfm/company/staff-directory/

Racer X
Guest
Racer X

This may also be an opportunity too…I would recommend that the City of Portland’s Traffic Engineer immediately initiate an emergency bikeway diversion by upgrading the existing bike lane on Naito to a protected bike lane by closing the on-street parking and adding a few jersey barriers at each intersection plus appropriate signage.

Even if the trail is only closed at night this section of Naito must be made safer so that bike riders that only feel safe on off street paths will feel safe enough to ride on the parallel bikeway.

The Portland PBAC can also weight in on this close and mitigation too. (Perhaps an emergency meeting needs to be called with the appropriate public notice?)

Tom
Guest
Tom

Does this mean we can randomly close roads to auto traffic just because a road is near a homeless camp? The closure is illegal. The solution is bolt cutters. Deal with the camp issue seperatly without putting commuters in danger. Cars are way more dangerous than the homeless.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

It is probably not legal, and the city probably won’t press the issue. Going to court would be pretty humiliating for Hales.

Bryan Hance (The Bike Index)
Guest
Bryan

Pretty sure they can borrow some functional bolt cutters from the nearby encampment.

Mike
Guest
Mike

There is a very clear bike lane for that entire length! It’s not as though the cyclists now have no where else to go and are being needlessly victimized.

If anyone should really be put out by this, I imagine it would be the residents who pay to live there and have lost a once beautiful and safe area to walk. Then again, walking your child or dog through an area strewn with used needles and human waste is not nearly as inconvenient as having to ride your bike in a bike lane.

Adam
Subscriber

That bike lane on Naito is substandard: it’s too narrow, forces people to ride in the door zone, and is too close to high-speed motor traffic. Not to mention the high truck volume on that stretch. It is NOT a safe alternative.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

Yup. Not an option. And when it goes past the Steel Bridge, the tracks are at an angle, so one must choose between taking the lane and getting caught in the tracks.

Mike
Guest
Mike

Except that the path is not in the road at that point – It goes through a homeless camp where the ground is littered in waste (bodily and otherwise) as well as used hypodermic needles. There is no need to ride in the street – ride on the MUP.

longgone
Guest
longgone

I’ve noticed that Adam H. constantly bemoaning infrastructure. Portland will never be the dreamscape of cushioned baby bumper bike lanes he dreams of…. Just ride your bike. Potholes on major N. Portland viaducts aren’t even being patched. Roads with massive car traffic….What miracles are you waiting on? Did I mention, just ride your friggin’ bike? Oops I think I did.

Spiffy
Subscriber

drivers injure and kill more people than the homeless do… where’s our state of emergency for driving? why aren’t they closing roads to prevent deaths? what ARE they doing?

Tom Hardy
Guest
Tom Hardy

The management company is worried about encampments like the one a few blocks away from them that was raided last night because the homeless brought out their guns in a dispute while blocking 19th under the Fremont bridge (Thurmond). This is also where bike chop shops come and go.
The management company merely wished to close off the path because there were major concerns of the homeless setting up shop on their pathway, since PPB would not respond on Public Park/Private land to homeless problems.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

I think you mean Thurman, and .. they had a stolen car and guns. I’m guessing it was less of a “raid” and more of a response to what was seen in plain sight.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

The condo complex managers did this to keep their residents safe, and their move is probably justified. There’s literally no one to call who won’t blow them off. Or should CMI wait until someone is stabbed on their property? A botched burglary? What are they supposed to do when the city mandates greenway easements but the same city refuses to do anything about criminal activity? Should they be like PBOT and wait for x deaths before acknowledging a problem?

Also, this morning, PPB seized several stolen guns from a homeless camp in NW. Were they also just trying to survive?

Spiffy
Subscriber

closing that gate does nothing to keep the residents safer…

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

If I were homeless, I would probably want a weapon to protect myself. In fact, they probably need one more than a homeowner does.

m
Guest
m

Does the easement require the city to maintain the property included in the easement?
Do the actions of the homeless constitute a public nuisance?
Can the property revoke and/or suspend the easement if the city fails to comply with the terms of the easement such as allowing a nuisance to persist?

estherc
Guest
estherc

My guess is that easement is for a pathway, not a trash dump or campsite. So if the citizens of Portland are misusing the easement I think they should allow it to be closed. Hopefully this will force the mayor’s hand and allow the police to do something about the illegal activity.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

If someone does something illegal on the sidewalk in front of your home, can you close the sidewalk?

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

We had squatters living next door to us. It took the city over a year to finally remove them. During that time it was impossible to use the sidewalk without being threatened by them and their loose pitbulls. I hope that the mayor will do something about the safety problems in this neighborhood, and it is unfortunate that it took this kind of action to get him to take notice.

Craig Gifen
Guest

Only a year? Wow, you must live in a pricey upscale neighborhood for it to be dealt with so quickly. 🙂

bjorn
Guest
bjorn

It was about 18 months total of problems but a little over a year of really bad times. I organized a half dozen other neighbors and we made a lot of noise until the city finally abated the property. It was not easy to get them to act. We are in cully.

longgone
Guest
longgone

That was my first thought.

m
Guest
m

If you had a written easement agreement with the city that said you could suspend the easement if the city failed to maintain the easement area such as not allowing a public nuisance in the area, then yes.

Alan 1.0
Guest
Alan 1.0

Perfect timing for “Gap Week,” and CMI can always cite Malheur as precedent. [/s]

Random
Guest
Random

“CMI can always cite Malheur as precedent.”

The difference, of course, being that it’s CMI’s property.

Jim
Guest
Jim

Those that use the path are screaming personal liberty. Those that live there scream personal safety. Guess whose rights trump whose?

Spiffy
Subscriber

“They that can give up essential liberty to obtain a little temporary safety deserve neither liberty nor safety”?

Adam
Guest
Adam

You might gave the personal liberty under the law to CAMP.

But that doesn’t give you the personal liberty to use drugs, dump trash, and steal private property. For many, these are the issues. They are illegal acts the Mayor’s office seems to be ignoring.

Jim
Guest
Jim

Missed point. I’m not referring to the homeless in either of my examples. I’m referring to the cyclist who want passage, and the area residents that fear for their safety.

Bjorn
Guest
Bjorn

This recommendation that people just go talk to the campers, who are often violent, or mentally ill is eventually going to get someone hurt. It is understandable why people are frankly scared of some of the people in the tents especially the ones who are aggressive: http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2016/01/portland_police_locate_stolen.html#incart_river_home

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

Thank you for saying this, Bjorn. I always wonder about folks that make that suggestion. It’s like DIY culture run amok. Quite apart from the potential danger you point out, no one should feel ashamed if they don’t feel inclined to go reason with anyone who’s evidencing (at the very least) seriously challenging, jerky behavior.

Adam
Guest
Adam

I wonder whether any agencies have considered approaching the homeless camp problem not from a political angle, but rather from a public health angle?

The large quantity of trash, fences, urine, drug-use paraphernalia etc could constitute fly-tipping perhaps? I’m not sure.

But it is a huge public health hazard for sure, liability wise.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

Anyone with a half decent bolt cutter would be able to reopen the path.

BeavertonRider
Guest
BeavertonRider

Oh, and notice Hales admonition of MPC for it’s political hostage taking… What a duplicitous position given that Hales refuses to enforce local ordinances prohibiting tent camps until “something can be done.”

Spiffy
Subscriber

it’s no longer a crime to camp in the public right of way…

Random
Guest
Random

“Just off the phone with Mayor Hales. He said he’s going to demand that McCormick Pier Condiminiums re-open the path immediately. “I want you to know that I’m not going to permit people to take public right-of-way hostage for political purposes… They just unilaterally occupied this public right-of-way.”

LOL. This is going to be fun to watch.

If I were the condo association, I’d send Hales a polite letter asking him to guarantee that the Portland Police will enforce the camping ban on condo association property when informed of illegal camping.

I’d also ask the City of Portland to indemnify the condo association against any liability caused by people camping on condo association property.

If the City of Portland won’t take action to stop camping on the condo association’s private property, I’d invite them to see them in court, where the City can explain why they’ve stopped enforcing the law.

Spiffy
Subscriber

it’s no longer a crime to camp in the public right of way…

Steve B.
Guest
Steve B.

Major kudos to Mayor Hales for standing up for folks living outside. I’m really impressed with his stride as of late.

soren
Guest
soren

I agree. I’m impressed with Hales now that he is free to not give a damn about corporate political contributions.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

I see it less as a bold stand and more as the easy way out. With the added plus of a halo. Message: I CARE. Cue applause. Exeunt.

RH
Guest
RH

Keep the path closed. This homeless issue needs to be fixed. Bring down the news cameras, the protests. The citizens of Portland are completely frustrated with their City Council.

Tomas La Palella
Guest
Tomas La Palella

Agreed. Kudos to McCormick Pier for standing up to the mayor, who’s seemingly eager to let our city turn to shit so that he can bolster his own reputation. If only the average citizen could weild the power they do with a simple swing of a gate! This could be the first step and a crucial turning point in opposition of Hales’ Homeless Hullabaloo. He needs to listen to his constituents, reelection bid or not. At this point I’m way more pissed at him about this than over anything Novick’s tried to foist upon us.

Spiffy
Subscriber

except that keeping the path closed defers the issue…

if you want something done, and it seems that you do, then leave the path open and let chaos ensue… THAT is what makes news…

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Au contraire… if they had left the gate open, no one would be talking about it.

Champs
Guest
Champs

Two nights ago, we were riding on the upper deck of the Steel Bridge. A TriMet cop approached from behind and barked at us that “there’s a bike path down there for a reason.”

Sadly that doesn’t seem to be what it’s used for. This cop knows why we were there. There is no traffic on Sunday night at 9:30. The patrol car had no flashing lights or sirens. There’s simply no evidence that an emergency was being responded to; not above, not below.

Buzz
Guest
Buzz

This is simply an instance of a sworn officer not actually knowing the law, no big surprise there; but how does it relate to the issue at hand.

longgone
Guest
longgone

@ Buzz… Perhaps Champs was not comfortable riding the lower deck. That is one very clear way it is related to this topic.

Spiffy
Subscriber

that’s when I’d get that person’s info and file a complaint with TriMet…

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

If I owned a condo in McCormick Pier, I’d be madder than hell about this. It’s one thing for homeless camps to be set up in public parks or under bridges; quite another for them to be on easements. The easement allows people to pass through, it’s not meant for the purposes the homeless are using it for. Being homeless doesn’t mean you get to be a criminal and inconsiderate of others.

Spiffy
Subscriber

there are NO homeless camps on the easement or the condo property…

nuovorecord
Guest
nuovorecord

Granted. Apparently the condo property/easement (same thing) is only the landfill for the homeless camp. So, no problem, right?

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

My proposal to fixing the situation on the Springwater is to build a gate across the path and lock it.

Carter Kennedy
Guest
Carter Kennedy

That route is narrow, twisty, and slow if you want to be the least bit courteous to pedestrians and residents. It does provide a nice view of the river. It is a scenic ride and walk. If you actually want to get somewhere, you use Naito.

SilkySlim
Guest
SilkySlim

When I jog to/from work it is my commute! I’ve used it 2/3 times a week for years.

longgone
Guest
longgone

True. Others here seem to preach that Naito is unsafe to ride. I’ve ridden it for 12 years with no issues. I have on the other hand, avoided the eslpanade, Spring water, and the Steel Bridge at night for months now. As one never to tollerate a street scuffle, my bike wheel has lead me away from this area, and it may be a long time before iI wish to deal with it daily again. My heart is filled with empathy for those on the skids, but all too many times anymore the elements around alot of street folks get sketch for me. I work, bike, bus and sometimes walk downtown. I’ve been attacked twice in the past year. The number of times I’ve been goaded by miscreants is beyond counting. Most times I try to find a funny way to deescalate the moment.
What is to be done? Ha!….. I see nothing on the horizon for anyone soon,…on either side of this.

scott
Guest
scott

This will certainly fix the homeless problem.

BeavertonRider
Guest
BeavertonRider

No, of course it will not. But it will enhance the safety of tenants and that’s the association’s responsibility when the City has clearly calculated that it would rather permit illegal camps rather than to serve and protect.

redhippie
Guest
redhippie

Just yet another example of where our city’s famous livability has been hijacked by homeless advocates

scott
Guest
scott

It’s not a city yet.

Also “hijacked”? Come on.

John Liu
Guest
John Liu

This sucks, but I do have some sympathy for the condo association. Their property is being turned into a homeless camp, the city isn’t doing enough to control trash or aggressive behavior, and locking the gate is probably the most effective way for them to get the city to do the cleanup and sweeps and patrols that it isn’t doing.

Allowing homeless people to camp wherever they choose is simply not working.

Spiffy
Subscriber

there are NO homeless people living on the condo property…

longgone
Guest
longgone

That may be true. I am going to look see tomorrow. Ted posted video, but alas my service is too slow to view it. I do know the texture is thickening aaong the fence. I have two coworkers, ( both female, for what that’s worth) that live along the path to the north. Both describe daily they’re concern for personal safety. Just an FYI….

Alison Fulmer
Guest
Alison Fulmer

I would rather go ride on Naito in the traffic than try to ride through the filth of this encampment. I do not blame the condo owners at all for locking the gate, they are being vandalized. They are afraid and to be honest so am I. A train came as I apporached the tracks northbound at that gate recently and I was afraid to wait there, I turned around and backtracked. I happen to be female and women put up with enough grief cycling without having to be afraid. I came upon the stretch from 82nd to 92nd on the Springwater three weeks ago and was afraid. No matter what all the background stories are for the homeless some if not most involve drugs and violence. Women are afraid to ride the Springwater at night as well for this reason. Yes, I feel badly people are resorting to living outisde but if they are the city needs a set place them to camp now. The mayor needs to step up to the plate and start to do something.

Mike Sanders
Guest
Mike Sanders

The condo folks say that the trail stays closed until the Mayor & city council gets off their rear ends and do something about it. What can they do if they are being bussed in from as far away as Miami? If that indeed what’s going on, then one wonders why those other places are sending them here in the first place. Renenber, Hales isn’t running for another term. If he was, this situation might be blowing his chances for another term. Sending people from other places here just to “solve” a problem elsewhere just makes the situation worse at both ends. That’s something to check into, pronto.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

If people are being bused here from Miami, one also wonders why the Oregonian or WW haven’t put this on their front page. If it’s happening, it shouldn’t be to hard to find someone who’s been a “beneficiary” of the practice.

Mike Sanders
Guest
Mike Sanders

Good point, Kit. You’d think the TV stations would be all over this as well.

Hello, Kitty
Subscriber
Hello, Kitty

Yes. If it were happening.

Ted Timmons (Contributor)
Editor

I rolled through there this evening and saw the locked gate. It isn’t the gate I assumed it was. Anyhow, here’s what the camps look like. There are many more than six months ago, but they are relatively clean from this point of view.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9rfpWKaf81c

Spiffy
Subscriber

thanks for the video!

I was hoping somebody would roll through there with a camera to document it…

I see that you weren’t harassed by anybody… also, is that a film crew by the gates?

Charles McCarthy
Guest
Charles McCarthy

50 or 60 years ago, Chicago was giving one-way bus tickets to Minneapolis for anyone on the welfare rolls.
Dumping your problems on someone else has a long history.

Mossby Pomegranate
Guest
Mossby Pomegranate

Progressives run Portland. Therefore Progressives facilitate the homeless disaster we are seeing today in Portland. Man up and solve the problem. Yeah Maus you’ll delete this but who cares.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

“There is no one left to call and it is simply not safe.”

I think that sums it up neatly.

Brad
Guest
Brad

I walked the riverfront tonight and was irritated to find that section closed. The city needs to send someone down there with bolt cutters and reopen those gates.

Champs
Guest
Champs

How do bolt cutters shelter and police the city’s homeless? The gate is not the issue here.

Spiffy
Subscriber

the gate is the issue…

the reasoning is the nearby dangerous homeless residents…

JeffL
Guest
JeffL

It kind of blows when my travel path gets blocked up like this. Also trying to walk up and down the stairs on that bridge is blocked by people living on them.

Slightly relatedly, this kind of reminded me of the time I tried to walk the Morrison Bridge and found out that heroine addicts camp on the walkway underneath it and also defecate there.

rickrill
Guest
rickrill

Wow, those are some interesting photos of the scene.
Typically in the months past, this area has been overflowing with homeless randoms’ possessions, tarp forts, plastic tubs of sewage and plenty of trash strewn about. The sidewalk was packed full!
And the smell was pretty foul as well.
I was stopped a few times by these occupiers and surrounded while they tried to convince me that they’d be happy to take my bike off my hands.
Fun times.
I think they were just playin tho, since it was during rush hour with lots of witnesses.
I find it unfortunate that the city, and that includes you, Hales, are supportive of allowing these “unfortunates” to co-opt public right of way on Naito, Waterfront and Springwater away from us, the tax-paying citizens.
Summer along is gonna be something to witness, amirite???
A localized version of Burning Man, if we are lucky.

longgone
Guest
longgone

So, what is the status today? It is now Wednesday, are the gates still locked? I would be happy to change that on my way to work!

Paul Atkinson
Guest
Paul Atkinson

It was locked when I rode by this morning.

longgone
Guest
longgone

i just saw it…. still locked.