Gravel - Cycle Oregon

Nonprofit puts youth bike camps on hold due to Springwater safety concerns – UPDATED

Posted by on April 18th, 2016 at 11:47 am

Kurmaskie (in rear with cowboy hat) and
campers last summer).
(Photo courtesy Joe Kurmaskie)

Portland author Joe Kurmaskie says he feels conditions on the Springwater Corridor path have gotten so bad that he might be forced to cancel his popular teen summer bike camp program.

Kurmaskie, who turned 50 this year, is known for his “Metal Cowboy” books that describe his many adventures while bike touring through the United States and around the world (including two cross-country journeys with his wife and five children). He moved to north Portland in 1998 and now lives in Sellwood. For the past four years he’s run the “Camp Creative: No Child Left Inside” summer camp for 9-13 year olds in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation. The camp is completely bike-based and the main route used to access activities is the Springwater Corridor. This year Kurmaskie says he’s decided to put the camp on hold because of an increase in unruly and unsafe behavior from people he’s encountered along the path.

“It’s at the point where I’m not being a responsible camp director if I put kids out there.”
— Joe Kurmaskie

The amount of people living and spending time along the Springwater — a 21-mile linear park that runs from downtown Portland through Gresham — has been growing for years since people were forced off the streets near the central city. In the past several months the camps have swelled as Portland Mayor Charlie Hales has allowed outdoor living as part of his efforts to tackle the homeless crisis. We reported on safety concerns along the path near SE 82nd back in January.

“I’m not trying to be alarmist. I don’t scare easily. I’m a guy who’s taken his family across the continent twice,” Kurmaskie said in a phone interview this morning.

“It’s a very difficult and unique problem to address because of the size of the population and some of the pockets and people who may be bad actors.”
— Joshua Alpert, Chief of Staff for Portland Mayor Charlie Hales.

Kurmaskie added that his concerns about safety on the path have grown since a woman was sexually assaulted last month. Kurmaskie says he’s also experienced several “troubling” incidents in the past few months including: when someone jumped out of the bushes and caused him and his two boys to have to swerve; when someone threw a glass bottle over his head; and when a man rode up behind him with sharpened sticks in his hand.

“When someone rides up behind me and has ‘Wolverine-style’ sticks duct-taped to their hands swings out towards me, like, ‘Move out of my way I’ve got Wolverine hands!’,” Kurmaskie said. “It’s at the point where I’m not being a responsible camp director if I put kids out there. I can’t wait, with good conscience, for something bad to happen this summer. I can’t do the activities we want to do with the kids if I’m always looking over my shoulder and on security detail.”

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Springwater path near Cartlandia 82nd and Harney-2.jpg

Springwater path near SE 82nd Ave.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

About three months ago, as Kurmaskie began preparing curriculum for this summer’s camps (which are supposed to start in June), he emailed Mayor Charlie Hales’ office to share his concerns. Kurmaskie said he never got a response. “Since I didn’t hear anything back, I’m in desparate mode.”

Mayor Hales’ Chief of Staff Josh Alpert, who said they receive about 300 to 400 phone calls and emails a day about the Springwater and related issues, told us this morning that, “Our goal is to have nobody sleeping on the Springwater corridor.” But Alpert said the problem won’t be solved by Portland alone. “It’s bigger than we have the capacity to address.”

CRC Rally-107

Kurmaskie at a rally in 2009.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Alpert said the city has initiated a process with Oregon Consensus to convene all cities and agencies that share jurisdictional responbilities for the Springwater. After meeting with them Friday, Alpert said, “They’re putting a plan together to move forward fast with early summer as an end date for this process.”

For the Mayor’s office, the Springwater is being treated as a separate concern than the issue of people camping outside in other parts of the city. “From our standards, the Springwater is a completely different situation so we’ve put it into a separate process. It’s a 21-mile trail in the middle of wooded areas… It’s a very difficult and unique problem to address because of the size of the population and some of the pockets and people who may be bad actors.”

In February there was a deadly shooting in a Seattle-area homeless camp known as “the Jungle.” Alpert said they’ve taken lessons from that incident. “We decided not to go in and start moving people,” he said. “Particularly when we know that there are a variety of people with a lot of challenges in that area.”

Despite the public’s concerns with conditions on the Springwater, Alpert says he feels the Mayor’s approach is working. “It just takes time to have a visible change.” He said they are continuing to enforce against criminal behavior while working towards a plan to move people out of the Springwater Corridor area.

Asked to respond to people who say they are too afraid to use the path, Alpert said, “People should use their judgment. We’re working as fast as we can to restore it to public access and to make it as safe as it can be.”

Kurmaskie, who’s known by neighbors as “the bleeding-heart liberal who helps the homeless” because he gathers supplies for people he’s met along the Springwater and has become what he calls “an informal case-worker” for two homeless men, said he knows the solutions to these problems aren’t easy. He chalks much of it up to “escalating rents and the ridiculous playground for the rich we’re turning Portland into.” “I don’t want to see us just sweep everyone out… We have to address housing and mental health for everyone in our community.”

“I don’t have any quick answers,” he added. “But we’ve got to address this head-on rather than just moving people around and making the entire city an open camp.”

UPDATE, 4:18 pm: The Parks bureau initially deferred to Alpert when I asked them for a comment this morning. But I’ve now heard from them again. Here’s an update from Parks spokesman Mark Ross:

“Our staff will be calling Joe, if they have not already, to see if he’s interested in talking about potential alternatives. As I understand it, the camps are not held until August; so there should be ample time to look at options, if that is something that he is interested in.

The conversation would be a welcome starting point; and potentially include holding camps at other sites, or holding them as planned. Our staff at Sellwood [Community Center] says they had never heard about his concerns until today when he posted on social media.”

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

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201 Comments
  • Jonathan Radmacher April 18, 2016 at 11:58 am

    Homeless people aren’t violent people. Or at least, being homeless does not cause people to be aggressive and/or violent. It’s one reason (in my view) that R2D2 is doing a good job of being a safe community. Instead of blaming violence on campers, perhaps what we need is a more robust police presence on the Springwater?

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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 18, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      Exactly Jonathan! There are people who use the springwater. Some of them live there, others might be just hanging out around the path, and others use the path by bike or on foot.

      I tried to be careful in this story to reflect that we don’t know whether or not a person is homeless until we talk to them and ask and/or investigate further. That being said, there is a connection to these concerns and to the broader homelessness issue because as the camps have grown so too have the reports of crimes and concerns from people who use the path.

      As always, we must be wary of lazy labels like “homeless.”

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      • dwk April 18, 2016 at 12:22 pm

        I don’t care what label you use, there should be no people camping or living on the corridor.

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        • Lester Burnham April 18, 2016 at 2:06 pm

          Okay I’m a broken record, but here goes…We’re losing this path.

          Now if we’re okay with that, why even bother thinking about a Sullivan’s Gulch path or anything like it because the current political establishment in this city seems to think allowing these paths the become trash strewn battlefields is just fine.

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          • Dan A April 18, 2016 at 7:29 pm

            If they were mountain bikers, Fritz would get them kicked out…

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    • Bjorn April 18, 2016 at 12:56 pm

      Maybe not all homeless people are violent but from my experience having squatters take over a house next to mine and having people live in the neighboring park and 2 vacant commercial buildings a lot of them are very violent. We’ve seen many fights some of which include weapons like baseball bats and threatening behavior from these homeless people, especially when they are drunk or high on something. Just Saturday I was calling the cops because the guy that set up a tent on a neighbors property and won’t leave even though he has tried to evict them multiple times was beating down his girlfriend. I am not even sure the cops bothered to show up. Portland’s homeless are a large group of often violent people with nothing left to lose and I am tired of Hales deciding to just do nothing about it and leave it to the next mayor.

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      • David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 18, 2016 at 7:46 pm

        I moved out of Portland 4 months ago, mostly because I could no longer afford to live there. It is a privilege to be able to move, rather than be too poor to do so. I now live in Greensboro, a community of 280,000 with two public universities, some interesting history, and terrible bike infrastructure. It also has too many police, who have a national reputation for harassing the local homeless and the 40% of residents who happen to be black. That said, I have never lived in a community so personally friendly, be it black, white, yellow, or green, nor is there any tagging or graffiti, nor is my bike ever molested.

        I do miss Portland: certain foods, Powell’s bookstore, the MAX, to name three, also the neighborhood association system. But there are other things I do not miss at all, which I am reminded by in this particular story and the response so far from readers: A massive lack of sympathy for those who are less well off (blacks displaced from north central Portland or the homeless), unbridled possessiveness of public resources by a supposedly “liberal” group (bicyclists of streets and paths), and uninhibited vitriol from most BP readers, especially by the overwhelming “likes” of certain remarks:

        “I don’t care what label you use, there should be no people camping or living on the corridor.” (66 likes)

        “A few dump trucks and a few city workers and police assigned as a sweeping crew. Any items stored along the Springwater get moved to the dumpsters, and anyone that puts up a fight gets arrested for illegal camping.” (30 likes)

        “Doesn’t really matter if the problem is the homeless camped along the corridor or others who simply take advantage of the lack of policing along the Springwater, we are allowing a community resource to be taken from us.” (37 likes)

        “Portland’s homeless are a large group of often violent people with nothing left to lose and I am tired of Hales deciding to just do nothing about it and leave it to the next mayor.” (43 likes)

        It reminded me of another story a week or two ago, of a young (white) woman cyclist yelling abuse at a (black) single mom driving her three lids while texting. Most readers sympathized with the cyclist, even though she was displaying classic bullying behavior, complete with cowardly behavior when the driver ran after her; but not with the poor black mom, who was humiliated in front of her kids, in her old neighborhood she can no longer afford to live in, because she was driving and texting at the same time, something I have seen many cyclists also do, regularly.

        We are all hypocrites to some extent or another, myself included. However, I have rarely seen such a concentration as in the readers of this blog and the homophobic racist legislators here in the state of North Carolina. Y’all ought to get together sometime, to talk shop.

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        • Chris I April 18, 2016 at 8:02 pm

          Your comment about the victim in North Portland is outrageous. You managed to call her a bully and a coward in nearly the same breath, after she fled a violent woman who was breaking state law and endangering those around her by driving while distracted.

          I’m glad you no longer live in Portland.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty April 18, 2016 at 8:09 pm

            In my experience, most bullies are cowards.

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          • 37Dennis April 18, 2016 at 11:17 pm

            Bully’s are brave? Tell me more about that Chris. I’m curious….

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        • dwk April 18, 2016 at 8:22 pm

          Hey David, thanks for your opinion. I personally do not think that people living in squalor outdoors is compassionate, but hey, you are free to your opinion from elsewhere.
          You stated that people in Greensboro were really nice, etc.
          Do you have a lot of people living outdoors in squalor there?
          Are the people nice to them?

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        • Middle of the Road guy April 18, 2016 at 11:08 pm

          Just because one may be a liberal does not mean one also has to be a pansy.

          Part of compassion means having compassion for oneself…and defining boundaries of what kinds of things you will tolerate. At a certain point, one has to say “I’ve had enough of this”.

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        • CaptainKarma April 20, 2016 at 12:16 pm

          Thank you, David.

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    • canuck April 18, 2016 at 12:59 pm

      It comes down to causality. Mental health issues can cause homelessness. Drug and alcohol abuse can cause homelessness. These same things can cause violent behavior. So you get violent homeless people, as a subset of the homeless. Not all homeless are violent but they do exist, and because of their violent tendencies they are the ones that are bringing attention to the homeless issue on the Springwater. Those who camp peacefully and out of sight have been doing so for years without drawing attention.

      This also shows that you cannot resolve the issue with a single solution. There are plenty of programs out there to help families with children stay off the street and keep them housed. Most families in these situations work hard to find these programs and keep a roof over their heads. I rarely see a homeless family in tent cities.

      But it is extremely difficult to take those same programs and apply them to the mentally ill or the addicted. You cannot commit someone until they are a threat to themselves or others, and that means waiting until the man with the sharpened sticks threatens or actually causes harm before you can act.

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    • q`Tzal April 18, 2016 at 5:01 pm

      I’m sorry….
      “R2D2”?
      you gunna need to splain yo sef cuz I don’t think a little blue droid has anything to do with this conversation.

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  • Adam H.
    Adam H. April 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    The Springwater Corridor needs to be addressed. There are real crimes being committed and harbored there. People are being assaulted, pets are being kidnapped and tortured, etc. Just because the people living there happen to be homeless is no reason to allow this activity to continue. Bright lighting needs to be installed throughout the corridor. PPB, and Gresham PD need to assign beat cops to patrol the area. Just have a few officers ride up and down the bike path at all times until the problems go away.

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    • Cora Potter April 18, 2016 at 2:28 pm

      They should have the mounted police out there 24/7.

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      • Cory P April 19, 2016 at 10:42 am

        Bike cops are much cheaper to staff then mounted patrol.

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        • nrevrac April 19, 2016 at 11:18 am

          they are, but they also have an already established beat, whereas no one really knows what horse cops do other then create a dangerous situation during protests or parades.

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        • Cora Potter April 19, 2016 at 1:10 pm

          Yes, but mounted are much more visible and the horses are a calming element. Plus, it makes good use of the horse-back infrastructure in the area and promotes more use.

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          • John Liu
            John Liu April 19, 2016 at 11:10 pm

            PPD cannot have officers present throughout the miles of Springwater 24/7. Not feasible. Other areas of the city need police services as well. And the moment the police ride past, the behavior will resume.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. April 20, 2016 at 9:22 am

              Other areas of the city need police services as well.

              You can say that about literally any area in the city. Ultimately it comes down to prioritizing problem areas and the Springwater certainly qualifies as a problem.

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        • Skid April 24, 2016 at 10:49 pm

          Gresham has a UTV (Utility Task Vehicle, basically a tiny truck) that they use to patrol the Springwater Corridor. I’m sure PPB has one in their toy collection, it’s not all Dodge Chargers and SUVs.

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          • Farther East April 29, 2016 at 8:08 am

            Gresham has much more of a handle on this than Portland does, and their section of trail is far cleaner and safer. Unlike Portland, they have more respect for the taxpayers more than for the lawless transients.

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  • Todd Hudson April 18, 2016 at 12:14 pm

    Is it just me, or is Josh Alpert a level 23 bravo-sierra artist? His responses can be boiled down to “we’ve tried nothing, and we’re all out of ideas.”

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    • Spiffy April 18, 2016 at 3:52 pm

      my interpretation was “I keep giving them supplies but they won’t go away”…

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  • The Bike Concierge April 18, 2016 at 12:17 pm

    I had the opportunity to help Joe with one of his camps last year, and it pains me to know that he will not be able to offer this to the community this year. Doesn’t really matter if the problem is the homeless camped along the corridor or others who simply take advantage of the lack of policing along the Springwater, we are allowing a community resource to be taken from us. Sounds like we are past time for some action on this.

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  • CaptainKarma April 18, 2016 at 12:22 pm

    Springwater conditions are a reflection of our managing our own society. At some point it no longer works to shovel people out of your eyesight, burn their belongings, and pretend we’re civilized.

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    • JeffS April 18, 2016 at 12:34 pm

      At what point did civilization become paying other people’s bills for them?

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      • Alan 1.0 April 18, 2016 at 12:56 pm

        Lichens figured out that symbiosis thing about a half billion years ago. More recently, Edgefield was built in 1911.

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      • Spiffy April 18, 2016 at 3:55 pm

        “At what point did civilization become paying other people’s bills for them?”

        the place between where we just had a bunch of different groups living apart from each other and the place where we became a civilization…

        it’s been going on for a long time and will continue as such…

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  • Granpa April 18, 2016 at 12:38 pm

    I am SO underwhelmed with Mayor Hales. His spokesperson is clearly not acquainted with the Springwater trail. Other than a couple of parks how can this be characterized as 21 miles through the woods? I know it gets shady past Hogan Rd., but neither the rail-and-trail section from Omsi to Sellwood, or the suburban pitch along Johnson Creek to Gresham is what I would call woodland. So to get the issue of campers appropriating the linear park resolved, the Mayor takes the bold and decisive action of forming a committee of stakeholders. Rather than actually do something, the Mayor dilutes leadership and evades responsibility by spreading ownership wide and thin. I am sure the summary memo will use the proper form.

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    • dwk April 18, 2016 at 12:45 pm

      He and his staff are so useless and clueless. I spent the winter commuting through the homeless camps on both sides of the river. It is pretty obvious that the “camping” problem is more of a young person/heroin problem than the old “homeless” person stereotype in the downtown area and they have no idea how to handle it…..

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    • Alex Reedin April 18, 2016 at 12:57 pm

      I agree with this sentiment. I strongly suspect that this “Oregon Consensus” process will result in nothing useful. There is some talk among Lents residents on NextDoor of gathering some people (open to housed and unhoused folks) to protest-camp on the sidewalk in front of Mayor Hales’ house and in the large, City-owned, centrally-located, right-by-the-MAX, perfect-for-a-large-homeless-camp-or-affordable-housing-development golf course his house faces. https://www.google.com/maps/place/7136+SE+27th+Ave,+Portland,+OR+97202/@45.4730912,-122.6358466,3a,60y,242.5h,82.2t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sLBnKuv6yEbD02ZCTgdG2ow!2e0!7i13312!8i6656!4m2!3m1!1s0x54950abec96b434d:0xaf3aa26fb4b0573!6m1!1e1

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      • Cora Potter April 18, 2016 at 2:30 pm

        Occupy Reed College Place.

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        • Todd Hudson April 18, 2016 at 2:48 pm

          Is this really happening? It would make a fantastic organized camp. The median is nearly a mile long! So much potential.

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          • Cora Potter April 18, 2016 at 4:41 pm

            There are folks from the local neighborhood FB page encouraging a gathering this weekend. I think it would have to be a lot bigger than we can muster up to have an effect. And, honestly – a bunch of working class, nice people having an evening picnic/camp-out is hardly as concerning as the behaviors we’re dealing with on the Springwater.

            Now, start relocating the Springwater and downtown bridge camps to Reed College Place and a point might actually be made.

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      • Middle of the Road guy April 18, 2016 at 11:10 pm

        Sometimes consensus is the last thing that is needed. You can’t please everyone.

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    • Steve Scarich April 18, 2016 at 12:58 pm

      Au contraire; they are very acquainted with the trail, just too gutless to take meaningful measures.

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  • Fred April 18, 2016 at 12:59 pm

    It’s time that our Mayor and Commissioners take this issue head on. It’s not fair to anyone in society to have people sleeping on the streets and wrestling with mental illness and drug issues. Those on the streets that don;t have either of these issues should be brought into something similar to the CCC or WPA. They can gain a skill or trade while they work for it. We have a shortage of these jobs in our country now.

    Those that need help with drug addiction or mental illness need help from the government, and it needs to come from the Federal level with local communities and states making the need known to those in Washington.

    It sickens me to see people living on the streets without shelter, their safety, and the environmental and infrastructure damage that comes with it.

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    • Rob Chapman April 18, 2016 at 7:26 pm

      A CCC/WPA type program is a great idea Fred. I’m still surprised that we didn’t start something like that up during the recession. We could shore up our decaying infrastructure and provide skills training to people who need it. Minimum wage jobs aren’t cutting it for adults anymore.

      As an aside, my grandpa was intensely proud of his CCC service.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty April 18, 2016 at 8:05 pm

        No commie makework programs for horse stabbers!

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        • Rob Chapman April 19, 2016 at 3:16 pm

          Come on now Kitty, you know the P in Portland stands for “pinko”.

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    • dan April 18, 2016 at 9:02 pm

      Shortage of skill trade jobs? What economy are you in? Portland is currently in the midst of a construction boom, anyone with a pulse and work ethic can get a job in construction.

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      • Mao April 19, 2016 at 5:26 pm

        If anything, Trade jobs are scrambling to get people. I have a friend who’s dropping out of college and his computer science degree to get a trade job. More stability, better benefits, better pay.

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        • Rob Chapman April 19, 2016 at 9:03 pm

          I wish I’d been as smart as your friend. Turns out TIG welding is far more enjoyable than making Sallie Mae payments.

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  • Mike C April 18, 2016 at 1:00 pm

    Oh come on… I only witnessed one guy walking down the path with a machete today. The kids will be fine.

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    • Todd Hudson April 18, 2016 at 1:05 pm

      A few weeks ago at the SW entrance near the cement plant, I saw a man on the SW, pants down to his knees, showing his junk to passers-by. An hour later, I saw one of those bandanna-over-face folks, carrying a large homemade shiv on their belt.

      No police report was necessary; this is the norm now.

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      • Brian April 18, 2016 at 1:30 pm

        What I fear is going to happen is that those who are affected the most (neighbors and those fed up with this issue) will assemble and solve the problem on their own. Our local government will to be blame when things get out of hand.

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  • donal Lents April 18, 2016 at 1:02 pm

    Most laughable quote of the week “Despite the public’s concerns with conditions on the Springwater, Alpert says he feels the Mayor’s approach is working.”

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    • rachel b April 18, 2016 at 2:58 pm

      That’s the one that grabbed me too, donal. Sheesh. What on earth gives them the idea it’s working?!? Flat out delusional.

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    • Toby April 19, 2016 at 8:37 am

      I rode from Gresham to the 205 bike path and counted 39 individual campsites. I wonder how many campsites it would take for there to be a problem.

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  • Chris I April 18, 2016 at 1:10 pm

    “From our standards, the Springwater is a completely different situation so we’ve put it into a separate process. It’s a 21-mile trail in the middle of wooded areas… It’s a very difficult and unique problem to address because of the size of the population and some of the pockets and people who may be bad actors.”

    Actually, it’s pretty easy. A few dump trucks and a few city workers and police assigned as a sweeping crew. Any items stored along the Springwater get moved to the dumpsters, and anyone that puts up a fight gets arrested for illegal camping. A few days of sweeping and the word will spread.

    This is a transportation corridor, and this is completely unacceptable. The fact that this Hales’ spokesman categorizes it as a “linear park” just shows you how clueless this administration is.

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    • Granpa April 18, 2016 at 1:18 pm

      It can be both a linear park and a transportation corridor. It can not be those things and a squatters camp.

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    • lop April 18, 2016 at 4:01 pm

      >This is a transportation corridor, and this is completely unacceptable.

      Are sidewalks? Should giving up non transportation corridor public spaces as campgrounds be preferred? Why?

      I biked to Oregon city the other day. Didn’t see many people living along the trolley trail, the Clackamas river, the Milwaukie riverfront park, or the Oregon City bluff park etc…

      Where are the homeless people in those jurisdictions living? Multnomah county?

      A solution to the problems along the springwater corridor that don’t just shove the problem elsewhere will likely cost a bit of money and require metrowide cooperation.

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      • Jo Ostgarden April 18, 2016 at 4:58 pm

        As someone who lives out this way, let me just say this…they scope out foreclosed homes and occupy them. The county puts up with it until someone gets murdered or the neighbors blow up about it, at which point they head back down to the eastbank or out the Springwater. The stay out of the woods in this area because of the thickets of poison oak…planted by frustrated landowners unwilling to pay development costs and then decide to leave the land to the march of invasive plant species—tree choking ivy, wild clematis and now rampantly spreading poison oak.

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    • B. Carfree April 18, 2016 at 6:44 pm

      I wish the dumpster approach could be done. It’s nice and simple. Unfortunately, the good judges of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, none of whom ride bikes anywhere, have ruled that when the government goes to clean up the public space it has to store the squatters’ belongings for thirty days and allow them to come claim them. After thirty days, they can be dumped.

      It makes clean-up very labor intensive and local jurisdictions are still figuring out how to proceed. Meanwhile, most of the riverfront/creekside bike paths in the state are being privatized by aggressive drug addicts and are being effectively removed from our infrastructure toolbox.

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    • soren April 20, 2016 at 8:07 pm

      “Any items stored along the Springwater get moved to the dumpsters,”

      your empathy for your fellow portlanders truly touches my heart.

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  • JKoz April 18, 2016 at 1:16 pm

    This is how cities decay. Leaders refuse to handle the small problems so they eventually lead to bigger ones. That’s what Broken Windows policing was all about and the reason we turned around urban life in the 80s making cities livable once again. I’m a 6’2″ adult male and can easily rattle off a dozen areas of Portland I avoid due to perceived lack of safety. Springwater Corridor is becoming one of those.

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  • Jeff April 18, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    Weren’t federal funds involved in the construction and maintenance of this transportation corridor? I wonder if any federal rule can be applied here to flush out the problem?

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  • Jeff April 18, 2016 at 1:50 pm

    FLUSH THE BUMS OUT!

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    • Beth H April 18, 2016 at 3:13 pm

      To where? And how? And how would you keep more PEOPLE (NOT “bums”!) from coming in? PLEASE tell me you’re not serious.

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      • Alan 1.0 April 18, 2016 at 4:21 pm

        or did jeff mean the pols?

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        • Jeff April 19, 2016 at 8:29 am

          Both

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  • Minneapolis Electrician April 18, 2016 at 2:12 pm

    Very sad that we aren’t able to get anything done for this path. I agree that we should be careful of labels, but it doesn’t seem like we should be allowing the problem of loitering in the area to continue. We should be looking at more long-term solutions for the area and helping those people get out of there.

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  • longgone April 18, 2016 at 2:24 pm

    My child and I would pedal 15 to 30 miles around town when he was 6. He did it on a 18 in bmx bike. The Spring water was rarely our focus, but downtown was his favorite. The bussel of downtown really excited his imagination, and I never swayed his wheel to turn away from going there. Things are much different now, and to be honest, now that he is 12 we rarely roll there. I must say I would be totally on my guard taking him down the trail. I like many others dream that something positive can happen in regards to this issue. I have little hope of it ever changing. Teaching my child empathy, while empowering him to açknowledge real threats is the best I can do. We will seek different routes, as there are many.

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  • J_R April 18, 2016 at 2:27 pm

    Alpert says he feels the Mayor’s approach is working.

    Great! Alpert better get his butt on a bike and ride the corridor then he can tell us “it’s working.”

    I’ve all but abandoned the Springwater corridor unless I’m with a group. I’m glad I don’t live near the corridor.

    I’m as anti-NRA as they come, but I’m beginning to think that maybe there’s a point to their madness. No response from the mayor when they get 300 to 400 emails a day and no visible police presence.

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    • Alex Reedin April 18, 2016 at 2:57 pm

      Well, there has been a police response. The folks camping between 82nd & I-205 were made to move last week. Unfortunately, police can’t solve this issue for any significant length of time until other City staff choose approved camping locations to direct the campers to. (I seriously think that sections of some of the SIX(!) golf courses that the City owns are very appropriate locations). As of this morning, there are again many people camping between 82nd & I-205.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty April 18, 2016 at 3:23 pm

        That will work great until the golfers say “Hey, there’s a city-owned forested linear park these guys could camp in…”

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        • Alex Reedin April 19, 2016 at 11:50 am

          That’s certainly an accurate political assessment, given the political power of the wealthy in our city, but an equity/moral assessment would find that the Springwater serves many more people, with a much wider range of socioeconomic status, than any City-owned golf course. The layout of the Springwater linear park (being so narrow, with a path right in the middle) also makes any camping along it to be a serious imposition on non-camping users. (Because people camping naturally use the Springwater as their living room, given that it is ten feet from the door of their tent). Converting one hole of a golf course to camping would have much less impact on the non-camping golf course users than camping on the Springwater has on non-camping Springwater users.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty April 19, 2016 at 12:08 pm

            I’m not a golfer, but I did cut through a golf course as a shortcut to work for a few months. That experience convinced me that humans and golf balls do not mix. I think the practicalities of keeping people camping on the 4th hole from wandering over to the 5th and getting nailed by an errant ball would make this idea a non-starter.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. April 18, 2016 at 3:36 pm

        There’s a golf course across the street from Mayor Hales’ house that would be perfect for a homeless camp! 😉

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        • 37Dennis April 18, 2016 at 11:21 pm

          Hold on now, I always maintained the idea that a golf course is a perfect waste of land,more suited for a GP Motocross course. Just my personal wish. Golf..ugh.

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    • Redhippie April 18, 2016 at 4:22 pm

      As a CCW I am very sympathetic with this point of view but I would first recommend avoidance of the area. If you live adjacent to the path or HAVE to be on the path, it is a different story.

      What is being created is a no-mans land without the rule of law. Unfortunately, the city is forcing its citizens to ride along the insufficient and dangerous facilities on the main streets because it is unwilling to address the danger posed by the squatters on the bike/pedestrian specific infrastructure. Every accident that could of been prevented by the use of the spring water corridor is the city’s responsibility.

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  • Skid April 18, 2016 at 2:44 pm

    I had some dude mad-dogging me and talking shit on the Springwater Corridor this past Saturday. It is getting dangerous.

    I don’t think moving the camps is ever going to work without more shelters or a designated place to camp. It is just going to move the problem around from one section of the city to another and make campers more pissed off and desperate. The violent homeless people are just as dangerous and predatory of other homeless people as they are to the general public.

    What I do think would help is for law enforcement to sweep the camps running ID’s and arresting people for outstanding warrants for violent crimes and theft. FTA’s and other infractions should be ignored, the focus should be on removing the dangerous element. I don’t necessarily object to searches for drugs like heroin, meth, and crack, or running serial numbers on the bikes they collect. Sorry, not sorry.

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  • rachel b April 18, 2016 at 3:03 pm

    “I’ve got Wolverine hands!” Forgive mixing movie references, but this is all getting very Mad Max. And as an adult, let me say that I too want to be protected from Wolverine hands.

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  • Carrie April 18, 2016 at 3:09 pm

    Two years ago one of our fun family things to do was to ride our bikes from Sellwood to Cartlandia for a “snack”. Just yesterday I specifically did NOT do this with my now 12 year old, because it just does not feel comfortable any more. And sometimes it feels really, really scary. I feel like this amazing park and resource has been taken from us due to lack of enforcement and everyone throwing up their hands and pointing at others to solve some greater social issue. It’s really pretty awful.

    I”m also wonder about Sunday Parkways scheduled for next month on that exact stretch of the Springwater…..

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    • Spiffy April 18, 2016 at 4:17 pm

      the Sunday Parkways route is from 91st to 128th… nowhere near your route…

      I wish it was on the entire stretch from Sellwood to I-205 because that would bring a lot of attention to it…

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      • Alex Reedin April 18, 2016 at 4:23 pm

        There are plenty of people camping along that stretch, although it doesn’t get anywhere near the density of the 82nd to 92nd stretch.

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      • Skid April 24, 2016 at 5:22 pm

        There are camps from I-205 to the Foster crossing, and there are camps along the junkyard all the way to 111th, including 2 likely bike chop shops. From there it’s mostly wetlands to 122nd, and then after 128th it starts up again. There’s camps all the way to the end of the Springwater Corridor, except where is is fenced off, but chances are there are even more camps past the fence. Most of the campers mind their own business but some are belligerent and threatening. It seems like if you are the least bit wary of your surroundings (like any intelligent person would be) they are more likely to say something, or advance toward you, or even follow you.

        I have compassion for the homeless and I am on the verge of it myself. I would not want to be sleeping outside anywhere near some of these camps because I am pretty sure they would not think twice about assaulting another homeless person and stealing their stuff. Considering the shelters are full beyond capacity the idea of becoming homeless soon is very scary.

        I don’t know what the answer is but it is getting a little old with the Springwater Corridor and the I-205 bike path feeling like crossing the wasteland in Mad Max. The idea behind bike paths is to get away from the danger (of inattentive motorists) not to be thrust into another kind of danger.

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  • Beth H April 18, 2016 at 3:11 pm

    Despite the public’s concerns with conditions on the Springwater, Alpert says he feels the Mayor’s approach is working. “It just takes time to have a visible change.”

    Meanwhile, for another stellar example of how it’s “working” I refer you to the long shaded strip under the freeway where it intersects with the Hawthorne Bridge, and again over near the Tillkum Crossing. If I could attach photos here I would. Yards and yards of dilapidated tents, tarps, and wood pallets being used as shelters. Mounds of trash pile up, making habitation a real health hazard. And on and on.

    Hey! I’ve got an idea. Let’s raise taxes. Especially on corporations and the wealthy.
    Hear me out.
    Were not gonna shrink the military — sorry, nope, not gonna happen anytime soon.
    And we’re not gonna raise the gas tax, because, well.. yeah.
    But what would happen if we told every corporation and everyone earning in the top five per cent of Portland’s median salary scale that they would have to pay a bit more for the “privilege” of being here, perhaps some real change might be possible.
    The only other option I see is for sweeps to include giving homeless people one-way bus tickets out of Portland. And I’m pretty sure I’m not alone in saying that herding people is NOT a solution.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. April 18, 2016 at 3:15 pm

      Or maybe instead of using public funds to build a parking structure, the PDC could build a homeless shelter instead.

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      • dan April 18, 2016 at 5:40 pm

        Or maybe we could use frickin’ Wapato as a homeless shelter instead of letting it sit empty

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    • Brian E April 18, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      Sometimes, giving someone some Bus money will save their life. Sometimes, not always.

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      • q`Tzal April 18, 2016 at 5:06 pm

        Unfortunately lots of other big cities are buying bus tickets for their homeless populations and Portland Oregon is a destination preferred by the administrators and the homeless.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty April 18, 2016 at 5:14 pm

          Is there any evidence that is actually true?

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          • Alan 1.0 April 18, 2016 at 6:52 pm

            http://www.oregonlive.com/politics/index.ssf/2016/03/bus_fare_city_approves_30000_t.html
            “Portland approves $30,000 to help homeless people bus out of town”

            Other towns have done it for years, some less ethically than others *cough*LA*. Portland’s requirement of verified housing & employment at the destination is on the more ethical end.

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          • SSWX April 18, 2016 at 8:52 pm

            Yes. I have worked with several homeless people who were sent from other cities, or released from ICE detention, who were instructed to get off the bus and walk over to TPI. Lots of homeless come here from other cities willingly as they think they will be better served here. This has been slowing down in recent months (from what I’ve seen) but yes, it is an issue. Not sure, if anyone is tracking the actual numbers though….

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    • R April 19, 2016 at 10:34 am

      Sigh…

      How much more do you want the wealthy to pay? I’m in the 5% you mention above and my marginal rate is now almost 42% including federal, state and SS taxes. That doesn’t include the nearly 10% additional that I voluntarily give to charities each year, gas taxes, property taxes, etc. I don’t consider myself wealthy, but I do tire of hearing people say that the “wealthy” should just pay more taxes. I often question whether they have a good sense of what higher earners really do pay.

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      • Beth H April 19, 2016 at 7:49 pm

        I would like corporations to stop being given generous tax breaks by city and state governments just for locating here to hire a hundred or two hundred skilled workers while the rest of the riff-raff — thousands of people — stand in line to interview for a job mopping floors at TacoPotle.
        I’d like the millionaires and near-millionaires (and there are a fair number in our city) to stop hiding their money in offshore accounts and tax shelters and start buying into the social compact, while those of us killing ourselves to barely gross five figures struggle to pay the bills and stay one check ahead of the rent.
        If you’re going to make your fortune on the backs of the working poor then you should owe considerably more in taxes, and stop pretending you live outside the food chain.

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      • Alex Reedin April 20, 2016 at 1:02 pm

        If you’re in the top 5% and don’t consider yourself wealthy, I hope you at least realize how different your life is from most people. You have a high income. My family does too (I think top 10%, not top 5% but whatever). No, my family’s not super-rich like Trump or Ted Wheeler or something, but we have enough income to fund a comfortable lifestyle without ever worrying about it if we just manage our money reasonably OK.

        People who are truly in the middle class have serious worries about paying for basics sometimes. My family doesn’t. That’s the distinguishing factor that makes us rich rather than middle class.

        Asking people who actually worry about meeting real needs to pay more when there are people like us (and you, and Wheeler, and Trump) who really don’t have a financial care in the world in comparison seems kind of crazy to me.

        *Note: I’m assuming that you’re not supporting like 10 people in your household or two seriously disabled people and don’t have crushing million-dollar medical debt or whatever.

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    • El Biciclero April 19, 2016 at 5:55 pm

      “But what would happen if we told every corporation and everyone earning in the top five per cent of Portland’s median salary scale that they would have to pay a bit more for the “privilege” of being here…”

      Supposedly, all the businesses would move to Utah or somewhere else, leaving us all unemployed and homeless…

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty April 19, 2016 at 5:58 pm

        Why should this be a problem fixed by the top five percent? This is a broad societal problem, and it’s not unreasonable to ask everyone to contribute to the cure.

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        • CaptainKarma April 20, 2016 at 12:38 pm

          My share is already going to the regressive arts tax. excuse me, i need to run down to the food bank now before they run out.

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  • Kat April 18, 2016 at 3:26 pm

    This used to be a good place to ride bikes and horses a few years ago, I had friends who had horses near there and would go up it all the time. Now I wouldn’t dare to take a horse there. Someone might stab it. Let alone ride a bike through there.. that’s scary. These people need help.

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    • lop April 18, 2016 at 5:45 pm

      I don’t think stabbing a horse would end very well for the person with the knife.

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  • daisy April 18, 2016 at 3:45 pm

    Are folks having problems during daylight hours on the stretch along the Willamette from OMSI to Sellwood? I had been thinking most of the problems were east of Sellwood, and out towards 82nd.

    When I’m on the Springwater along the Willamette, it’s usually during morning commute time or on weekends, so it’s busier.

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    • joe kurmaskie April 18, 2016 at 3:50 pm

      The wolverine incident happened between sellwood and omsi
      Best, Joe

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) April 18, 2016 at 4:22 pm

    UPDATE, 4:18 pm: The Parks bureau initially deferred to Alpert when I asked them for a comment this morning. But I’ve now heard from them again. Here’s an update from Parks spokesman Mark Ross:

    “Our staff will be calling Joe, if they have not already, to see if he’s interested in talking about potential alternatives. As I understand it, the camps are not held until August; so there should be ample time to look at options, if that is something that he is interested in.

    The conversation would be a welcome starting point; and potentially include holding camps at other sites, or holding them as planned. Our staff at Sellwood [Community Center] says they had never heard about his concerns until today when he posted on social media.”

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    • J_R April 18, 2016 at 4:39 pm

      Hey, Parks staff: Joe’s decision to abandon the camps is a symptom of a huge problem you have with the Springwater corridor. Yes, you might come up with a solution to shift the bike camps to another location, but that does not solve the underlying problem. You, your commissioner, and the mayor have effectively turned over the corridor to people who scare the sh*t out of enough law-abiding, tax payer citizens, that we are beginning to fear to go there.

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty April 18, 2016 at 4:49 pm

        I hear they stab horses down there.

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        • q`Tzal April 21, 2016 at 12:36 am

          I heard that they grind down unicorn horn for toothpaste.

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    • joe kurmaskie April 18, 2016 at 8:01 pm

      First off, the mayor’s office must not understand how to read their own city’s registration because we have camp programs – with registered campers – taking place in June, July AND August. but I’m guessing they read this schedule with the care and thoroughness that they read our emails sent this winter and spring which voiced my concerns – also, I voiced our concerns about the corridor to our park and rec contacts but the main one retired in April so the cc’d emails went until read. Also, the reason the parks and community center just got word is because we just decided this morning. We contacted them before we posted. If this was all a surprise to the powers that be then they should go down on the corridor for a day for more surprises.

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  • wileysiren April 18, 2016 at 4:48 pm

    Sprinkling sugar on a pile of poo does not make it a brownie. Giving something a nicer, PC name is not going to fix a problem. Ever. Action is required. And if the City fails in that aspect, it will come down to citizens [vigilantes?} that get sick of this sort of takeover and inaction by the government.

    Sweep the corridor: Run IDs on everyone found camping. Got a warrant, off to the clink you go. Then you get a one way bus ticket out of town. No warrant, one time warning. Your stuff gets impounded and you serve 100 hours of community service cleaning up the mess you were part of making. Serve your hours, get your stuff back. Period. Get caught again, 1000 hours picking up trash eating bologna sandwiches on gluten filled bread with GMO meat.

    Make life difficult and they’ll move on. And the City gets taken back by its citizens. Keep insisting we need to make life soft for these people and they’ll multiply and will become a lawless haven.

    Unless you’re willing to put your foot down, this sort of collapse will continue. I’m sick of it. By the looks of the comments, I’m not alone.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty April 18, 2016 at 4:50 pm

      I think you’ve ruined brownies for me. Thanks.

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    • Doug April 19, 2016 at 1:54 am

      Remember that Aussie bum Ian. The panhandler liar out on the Oregon Coast. Just ask him about getting arrested in Hood River. Apparently they arrest his ilk there in Hood River and he never went back.

      I agree make these heroin addicts life more difficult and they will move on. As for you people that ask where; ELSEWHERE. I DON’T CARE WHERE! Anywhere. Home. Back to where ever you came from.

      Why is my job to house somebody that has chosen to destroy their life. Not my problem. I don’t know how I could possibly care any less.

      Put their crap in a dumpster and offer them drug court or a trip to jail, they will move on fast. Everything else is just enabling their dysfunction.

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  • Chuck April 18, 2016 at 4:49 pm

    Is Hales is trying to punish citizens for refusing to re-elect him? How many times can the city say “We never saw the email!” before questioning if there’s a motive behind the incompetence?

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  • lop April 18, 2016 at 5:49 pm

    “Mayor Hales’ Chief of Staff Josh Alpert, who said they receive about 300 to 400 phone calls and emails a day about the Springwater and related issues”

    What are related issues? Homeless camps? Cyclist safety? Contamination of environmentally sensitive areas? Misuse of parkland?

    Can bikeportland ask them how many comments/complaints they receive about the conditions along the springwater corridor specifically?

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  • SE April 18, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    >>Mayor Hales’ Chief of Staff Josh Alpert, who said they receive about 300 to 400 phone calls and emails a day about the Springwater and related issues, told us this morning that, “Our goal is to have nobody sleeping on the Springwater corridor.” But Alpert said the problem won’t be solved by Portland alone. “It’s bigger than we have the capacity to address.”

    so essentially it’s “Well, we tried a little and it didn’t work. We’ve let the problem get bigger than we can handle, so we need to call in somebody smarter than us to do the hard parts” ????

    Charlie never fails to fail.

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  • SE April 18, 2016 at 6:59 pm

    I rode through there twice today. I’m a 6’1″ male and they don’t mess much with me (other than clogging up the path or walking in front of you w/o looking).
    IF I were female or less capable, YES .. concern when riding through there would be justified.
    Today is the first time that I did see a syringe discarded on the MUP.

    Have taken loads to the city dump in the past and it looked cleaner and better organized than some of the camps. That whole 82nd to 96th area needs to be cleaned out. It’s a disaster.

    I did see Police there about 3 weeks ago. Two of them were buzzing along on quads, looking straight ahead … trying to ignore what was before their own eyes.

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  • Dan A April 18, 2016 at 7:28 pm

    A coworker told me today that they were thinking about bike commuting for the first time, on the Springwater. I think I’m going to advise her against that

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  • SSWX April 18, 2016 at 8:59 pm

    As you cruise on by on your bicycles imagine how scary it is to be actually living in those camps. Imagine how scary it is to be mentally ill and living in absolute squalor day to day. Consider who the real victims of violence are.
    This is not to excuse the violence or ignore our right to safely enjoy a bike path but yes, shit happens but its way more likely to happen to people living there than it is to Bike Portland Commentators.
    Let’s get things in perspective. You don’t feel comfortable riding on a stretch of bike path, while many of these people are living in shit.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty April 18, 2016 at 10:13 pm

      There is no question that the primary victims of the predatory element among the campers is the other campers themselves. You are absolutely right to be concerned about them, and is all the more reason to remove the violent element from that corridor (and elsewhere).

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. April 19, 2016 at 9:25 am

        This is precisely why I argue for more police presence but not for camp sweeps. Just having a few officers around should cut down on crime, help remove the bad ones from the camp, and protect the rest of the people living there.

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        • Brian April 19, 2016 at 9:46 am

          How much police presence is there now? How much more is needed? Where should the policing resources be shifted away from?

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. April 19, 2016 at 9:49 am

            That’s not really for me to decide. I have faith that the PPB will be able to make that determination given direction from the higher-ups.

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            • dan April 19, 2016 at 10:59 am

              They’ve made their determination from the direction given and you can see what their presence has done to help alleviate the situation.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. April 19, 2016 at 11:04 am

                I’m saying they need to be directed to increase presence until it’s been determined to be effective.

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    • Eric Leifsdad April 18, 2016 at 10:34 pm

      We have some nice golf courses that would be very comfortable.

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  • SSWX April 18, 2016 at 9:02 pm

    Chris I
    Your comment about the victim in North Portland is outrageous. You managed to call her a bully and a coward in nearly the same breath, after she fled a violent woman who was breaking state law and endangering those around her by driving while distracted.
    I’m glad you no longer live in Portland.
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    I thought David made an excellent point. However, he does have a sensitive understanding of gentrification in Portland.

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  • SSWX April 18, 2016 at 9:12 pm

    Jeff
    FLUSH THE BUMS OUT!
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    You mean the stinky lycra clad ones right? Phew….

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  • SSWX April 18, 2016 at 9:18 pm

    Just had a thought, while reading through all this. Yes, its incredibly unfortunate to see Joe’s camp be jeopardized by his safety concerns but maybe this is all the more reason to do it. Maybe, people should volunteer to help him, with safety in numbers, make sure the corridor is open to all by refusing to surrender it to your fears, maybe co-ordinate with homeless outreach workers and get educated on what they’re going through and so you know better how to safely interact with them…?

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    • rachel b April 18, 2016 at 11:52 pm

      Or, maybe we could make the path safe and clean again.

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    • Chris I April 19, 2016 at 6:55 am

      Maybe you should do it. Oh, right, you would prefer to lecture people instead. Keep fighting the good fight.

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      • rachel b April 19, 2016 at 11:12 am

        What I always wonder when I’m told to understand a little harder, to be tougher and ‘less fearful’, in short, to be more generous, to just do MORE (for complete strangers who happen to be crapping on my city), more apart from the $850 million spent in the past 10 years…what I wonder is, do you exercise even half that kind of compassion on your family and friends? Because I don’t. And I daresay I’m a good family member and friend! But if they came and started pooing on my porch, or harassing me with Wolverine hands, or dumping garbage in my backyard, or threatening me otherwise, I won’t tolerate it. I grew up around drug addicts, thieves and sociopaths. I’m not without compassion but I’m not a schmuck. If you separate bad, antisocial behavior from consequences, we’re all doomed. There’s a fine line between compassion and enabling. And in Portland, we’re reaping the crappy crop of a whole lot of enabling.

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        • rachel b April 19, 2016 at 4:15 pm

          (comment above awaiting moderation as I type this–just wanted to make clear the “crop” to which I refer means the circumstances–i.e., property destruction, loss of safety, public health issues, etc.)

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          • rachel b April 19, 2016 at 7:33 pm

            p.s…that comment was in response to SSWX–accidentally put it under Chris I (sorry, Chris!)

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  • Eric Leifsdad April 18, 2016 at 10:36 pm

    “Playground for the rich” — what playground allows cars?

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    • joe kurmaskie April 19, 2016 at 8:57 am

      That quote was regarding the direction Portland is going with rents and pushing people out in regarding cost of living here, not calling the fantastic amenity that is/was the springwater corridor/bike trail a playground for the rich. It’s wonderful transportation route that is no longer viable for me to run youth bike camps on until crime and violence is reduced on it.

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      • Eric Leifsdad April 19, 2016 at 9:08 am

        Yes, we were both talking about the rest of Portland. No spare homes, but plenty of empty parking spots.

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  • Lester Burnham April 19, 2016 at 7:49 am

    Can Hales be impeached?

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  • SSWX April 19, 2016 at 8:04 am

    Chris I
    Maybe you should do it. Oh, right, you would prefer to lecture people instead. Keep fighting the good fight.
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    Kind of why I work with the homeless. And have done for 15 years. As well as being a whiny white cyclist.

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    • wileysiren April 19, 2016 at 8:35 am

      Perhaps you should educate the homeless that they’re accountable to holding to laws too. The fact that where ever tent camps are set up, there are mounds of filth, trash, etc all over the place. They don’t give a rats patootee. And when you have people not caring about their surroundings, it’s very difficult to get them to change their behaviors. Period.

      Make it uncomfortable for them and they’ll move on.

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      • Lester Burnham April 19, 2016 at 9:08 am

        Exactly. We’re supposed to treat them as our fellow citizens yet we are supposed to exempt them from the same rules we all live under?!

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      • lop April 20, 2016 at 2:32 am

        It’s unreasonable to expect the same level and type of compliance as expected of housed people when those suffering from homelessness, addiction, and mental illness are not on equal footing from an infrastructural and cultural standpoint.

        of course we’ll improve compliance and behavior… but society simply cannot expect that because now a lot more people are living outside, and the city has put up couple dumpsters on the ground that, voila!!, everyone living outside should have everything they need to behave in an orderly, predictable manner.

        fact is, many people who live outside still face a system that leaves them scared, unsure of how to act, and yes…results in low compliance — whether intentional or done for reasons of survival/confusion.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. April 20, 2016 at 9:30 am

          The garbage, belongings, even petty theft to some extent, are annoying but understandable given their difficult circumstances. What should not be tolerated, however, is assault, menacing, and violence. We must draw the line somewhere. The people consistently exhibiting these violent behaviors need to be removed from the camp and given the help and treatment they need.

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        • rachel b April 20, 2016 at 3:55 pm

          Only a very small minority of Portland’s homeless population in the past either thumbed their noses at or found it too difficult to comply with social mores. If you talk to any recovering addict, they’ll tell you they had to hit bottom and hitting bottom means coming up against consequences for your behavior.

          At the moment, we’ve set the bar abysmally low, and sure enough–conduct is matching the level of the bar. One of the reasons I feel we’re where we are is the constant excusing of insupportable (and remediable!) behavior.

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  • Terry D-M April 19, 2016 at 9:17 am

    As someone who has been working on this issue since it fell on my desk like a ton of bricks last January I find most of these comments appalling.

    The global nature of this crisis is enormous. There are 100s of people living on the corridor that have nowhere to go because oif housing policies we created as a society.

    Now that downtown was swept, again, the trouble makers will move east like they did last summer…. Again……to the area of the city with the deepest, most endemic area of intergenerational poverty in the city…..again.

    But don’t all of you worry, the sweeps on the Springwater i hear are only a few weeks or less away so the city is getting ready to clean up the corridor….

    It is anyone’s guess as to where this will MOVE the problem as no one is actually willing to stand up and find a place for them to go. So those houseless residents who have been living amungst their housed neighbours for years without problems…. They all know each other….will be kicked out along with everyone else that have no where to go.

    But hey, the well off and stable in Portland will have our trail again……until they come back.

    Until housing is a basic human right like in northern Europe we will constantly be playing whack a mole.. And it is the poor and helpless who always get whacked.

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    • wileysiren April 19, 2016 at 11:08 am

      Again, homelessness does not exempt people from being held accountable to following the rule of law like everyone else in society. Homeless people are given a pass on this, and because of it IMO, are allowed to “get away” with all kinds of unacceptable behavior. “Oh, they’re homeless, poor homeless folk, we cannot criticize / police / hold them accountable because they have no place to exist”. The lack of accountability for those living in tents is appalling. And the fact that some folks with a roof over their head think that allowing this to happen is just fine is WRONG.

      Homeless folks are given a pass for bad behavior in this City because its not PC to hold them to the rule of law. Hold them accountable for their behavior and changes will happen.

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      • David Hampsten, now in Greensboro NC April 20, 2016 at 1:42 am

        “Again, homelessness does not exempt people from being held accountable to following the rule of law like everyone else in society.”

        But not cyclists running red lights and stop signs, obviously.

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        • dwk April 20, 2016 at 6:10 am

          What a lame response……

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    • CaptainKarma April 20, 2016 at 12:46 pm

      Thank you, Terry.

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  • Mike April 19, 2016 at 10:12 am

    I am shocked to learn that there a lot of horse stabbings on the trail. It’s ok to harass the cyclists but leave the damn horses alone. Goats are fair game though.

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    • Mike 2 April 19, 2016 at 11:09 am

      Don’t you dare declare open season on goats! I will sell your horse to Valley Meat Co!

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty April 19, 2016 at 12:00 pm

      I have to say I agree. There’s nothing better than a good ol’ goat stabbing.

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      • rachel b April 19, 2016 at 1:27 pm

        NoooooOOOOOOOoooooooooooooo!!!! 🙁

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty April 19, 2016 at 1:57 pm

          More of a horse fancier?

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  • dan April 19, 2016 at 11:03 am

    Terry D-M
    As someone who has been working on this issue since it fell on my desk like a ton of bricks last January I find most of these comments appalling.

    But don’t all of you worry, the sweeps on the Springwater i hear are only a few weeks or less away so the city is getting ready to clean up the corridor….

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    Terry,
    Thanks for the update. It’s good to hear that the corridor is soon to be re-opened for general use. Hopefully some thought has/will go into some long term solutions as well.

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  • Mark smith April 19, 2016 at 11:26 am

    Show.me your wolverine ha ds and I will show you my police grade pepper spray.

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  • GlowBoy April 19, 2016 at 12:03 pm

    I’m with Adam H. The problem isn’t homelessness, it’s lawlessness. Don’t sweep out the campers: get cops patrolling the area regularly.

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  • Cora Potter April 19, 2016 at 1:07 pm

    “Our staff will be calling Joe, if they have not already, to see if he’s interested in talking about potential alternatives. As I understand it, the camps are not held until August; so there should be ample time to look at options, if that is something that he is interested in.

    The conversation would be a welcome starting point; and potentially include holding camps at other sites, or holding them as planned. Our staff at Sellwood [Community Center] says they had never heard about his concerns until today when he posted on social media.”

    I’m sorry – but this is not okay or equitable. They should not be just removing kids/activities from our neighborhood and taking them somewhere “safe”. They should be making the neighborhood safe for kids again. This is bad for Lents/Brentwood/Gilbert. It is letting things slide back to the times when the problems were allowed to fester in our area but that was “okay” because if nobody saw it, it wasn’t really a problem. Then we lose economic activity etc. and it just institutes a cycle of decline.

    We are just crawling out of being unseen and unvisited. People were just starting to realize that our area is viable and a worthwhile place to live and visit – just like any other Portland neighborhood. Kids need to grow up knowing that outer SE is where normal people live and is not a dangerous place – instead of having the old attitudes about outer SE reinforced.

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  • Andy April 19, 2016 at 9:14 pm

    The view that the homeless should be removed from the Springwater Trail and sent to some other unspecified place won’t work. There is no other place at the current time. Not downtown, not on my trail and not in my backyard don’t solve a problem, they just move it around. The homeless have to be somewhere.

    Some homeless people are very bad, just as some people with homes are very bad. Go volunteer like I do and you will find that most of them are polite and appreciative. You’d be surprised. They are not the lowlife scum that some seem to think they are. They are homeless through economic misfortune, mental illness, disability, addiction … Yes, some of them are a threat to others. The same is true of most other groups of people, from priests to nurses to bicyclists to … We don’t paint all of the members of the latter groups with the same brush and we shouldn’t do the same with the homeless either.

    I agree that there shouldn’t be homeless camps along the Springwater Trail. Until and unless the Cities come up with a better solution, the right answer is to give them an adequate place where they can camp. “You can’t camp on the Springwater, but here is where you can camp.” Put in a fence, bring in some toilets, have some basic rules and ask the Police to come by periodically. Not perfect, but better.

    Maybe there’s a better idea. If we want to deal with the Springwater Trail issue, we need to get behind one.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty April 19, 2016 at 10:16 pm

      I think they should all be downtown where they would serve as a constant reminder of our unfinished business.

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      • lop April 19, 2016 at 11:09 pm

        There are still plenty of people living on the streets downtown.

        If you want there to be a ‘constant reminder of our unfinished business’ you shouldn’t corral them downtown or anywhere else where most of the region can continue to ignore them.

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  • John April 19, 2016 at 10:10 pm

    When was the last time anyone saw a park ranger or cop on the trail? Nine years and I’ve seen everything BUT a peace officer. I don’t think it’s unreasonable to ask for some patrols in the area. I’m not asking for sweeps, just the establishment of some nominal surveillance to take the edge off the lawlessness. Also, I think the city council should be required to bike the Springwater at least once a week, WITHOUT a police escort.

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  • Chris April 19, 2016 at 10:29 pm

    I was walking the 82nd Ave section this afternoon. So many tents and tons of trash- it’s a full-on encampment along there now versus biking through in January. Laundry on pylons and signs of prostitution. Filthy shirtless dudes swearing and shouting literally line the path.

    I have braved the corridor for years, but it’s just so risky now. It’s approaching asking for a bad encounter.

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  • Mark Smith April 19, 2016 at 11:09 pm

    Just imagine if every bike rider started to ride the wrong way on every lane. There would be pandemonium. Yet, hundreds can create an environment of anarchy…and nothing.

    Nothing.

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  • soren April 20, 2016 at 7:59 am

    I’m sick and tired of criminals camping and littering! This town is descending into anarchy because we allow vagrants to live without harassment! This is a violation of our constitutional rights! Enough is enough!

    We need to build a wall around Portland and deport these CRIMINALS to California! We can make California pay for the wall too.

    http://www.nytimes.com/politics/first-draft/2015/08/20/a-beating-in-boston-said-to-be-inspired-by-donald-trumps-immigrant-comments/?_r=0

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    • soren April 20, 2016 at 8:03 am

      /very angry sarcasm

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      • Alan 1.0 April 20, 2016 at 8:47 am

        No, you don’t say?! Davey Crockett is alleged to have said, “I can top any whopper you tell in just seven words: I believe every word you just said.”

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      • Pete April 22, 2016 at 3:21 pm

        It’s a good thing some of us ‘know’ you. 😉

        And about California… a small portion of the state will welcome them with driver’s licenses, the rest of the Californians will advocate shooting them… except in the ‘State of Jefferson’ where they’ll actually do it. They’ll also want the wall-building funds to come out of the high speed rail budget.

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  • Mike Sanders April 20, 2016 at 9:55 am

    It’s worth noting that the “Yield to Pedestrians” sign in the above photo was installed by Portland Parks, not Metro.

    One thing’s for sure: something has to be done about this. It can’t be allowed to fester thru the summer. The city’s argument that they can’t do anything about it because of court rulings elsewhere reeks of leaderlessness.

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  • joe kurmaskie April 20, 2016 at 10:29 am

    Where things stand:
    1. Via social and traditional media I made community aware that safety and lawlessness issues along Springwater Corridor have forced canceling Camp Creative summer bike program.
    2. Not one city official has contacted us in any way. (passed buck to parks and rec who have no control/say over springwater corridor.)
    3. Interim community center director called. Asked if we could still do camp but somewhere else. Wants to have meeting, but there’s really nothing else to discuss until trail situation changes.
    4. Gresham community leaders reached out, asked if we want to host a camp there – they have officer presence/patrols and have cleaned up trail east of 174th ave and partnered with civic groups.
    Next step? Suggestions. Bike action to mayor’s house, council members homes, put a 1000 riders rally and protest riding the trail in near future? Everyone blast city officals calling for a bike patrol team of community trained officers/mental health professional and homeless advocate on bikes creating regular presence on corridor?
    Surrendering this iconic asset of Portland to lawlessness, letting the community decay continue is unacceptable.

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    • krx April 21, 2016 at 7:38 am

      There’s about a mile of temporary fencing, between SW Pleasant View Dr and SW Towle Ave, on the Springwater trail, in Gresham. About every 300′ there are notes attached: “PLEASE STAY ON TRAIL, EMERGENCY CLOSURE, GRC 7.10.130, To protect the wildlife and watershed and prevent damage to the park”, followed by a list of various misdemeanors and fines applied to any trespassers.

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  • SE April 20, 2016 at 10:40 am

    The Portland media likes to characterize many campers as “homeless vets”. That MAY be, but on my 12 mph transits of the Springwater Jungle …what I see mostly are 20-somthings.
    many seem to have cell phones and are now building fences & gates around “their property”.
    There also seems a recent plague of white paint graffiti.
    The garbage piles continue to grow …… 🙁

    And Charlie fiddles while Springwater descends ….

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty April 20, 2016 at 10:58 am

      This might have been the conversation amongst native Americans in 1805, minus the cell phones.

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      • Dan A April 20, 2016 at 2:56 pm

        They were right to be worried.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty April 20, 2016 at 3:09 pm

          Indeed… look at what’s happened to housing prices since then. Insane!

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  • Alan 1.0 April 20, 2016 at 1:06 pm

    “Modern homelessness, [Israel Bayer] said, is largely borne from massive cuts to federal housing programs in the 1980s. Between 1978 and 1983, the federal budget for housing shrank from $83 billion to $18 billion, ‘and mass homelessness in America began.'”

    http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2016/04/when_homelessness_gets_persona.html

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    • soren April 20, 2016 at 5:46 pm

      I blame Charlie Hales and Obama!

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty April 20, 2016 at 5:55 pm

        Obama? Heck, he’s just a puppet of the One World Government, controlled by Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. Everything flows from the top.

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      • Mossby Pomegranate April 20, 2016 at 6:23 pm

        You’re probably joking, but hey…eight years of “Hope and Change” has done wonders. : (

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    • Pete April 22, 2016 at 3:14 pm

      There might have been other factors as well. One could be the growing wealth gap over that period, and others that come to mind are around the laws that favor homeowners, such as the $250K/$500K tax-free chunk of capital gains (and a boomer demographic that profited from the sales of many homes during the pre-bust run-up), property tax caps like the ones that quite frankly I’ve benefited from in Massachusetts and California, and other intentional or non-intentional incentives along the way (like low interest rates and first-time buyer programs). Oh, and maybe bank bailouts didn’t hurt either, including being able to sit on foreclosed stock (which shrank inventory) instead of taking losses.

      Not contradicting you, by the way, just thinking out loud for the sake of conversation.

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  • SE April 20, 2016 at 4:36 pm

    SE

    And Charlie fiddles while Springwater descends ….
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    Charlie is in Denmark , sharing his secrets to being a great mayor.

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  • Donaleen Kohn April 21, 2016 at 7:15 am

    I keep hearing that most homeless people are local. But all the ones I ask are not from Portland. Many are from other parts of Oregon. Is this another case of Portland having to address the problems of the rest of the state while the rest of the state holds us in contempt? What does local mean in terms of homelessness?

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty April 21, 2016 at 9:56 am

      Of course they hold us in contempt… we have a giant problem with homelessness that we haven’t addressed!

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  • Mike Sanders April 21, 2016 at 7:35 am

    The Oregonian is reporting today that a lawsuit has been filed against the city about the camps on the SWT. It accuses the city of failure to obey not only Federal law, but *its own regulations * on the subject. If true, then this is big. Very big.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty April 21, 2016 at 8:56 am

      It sounds like that lawsuit against Obama for not enforcing immigration laws.

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  • SE April 21, 2016 at 9:02 am

    Alex Reedin
    That would be a LONG ride (and an indirect route) regardless. I’m impressed.
    Here’s an OK detour route. Spits you out at 82nd at the end of the very dense camping section.
    https://www.google.com/maps/dir/45.4723655,-122.5660691/45.4640434,-122.5797469/@45.465325,-122.5778954,1901m/data=!3m1!1e3!4m14!4m13!1m10!3m4!1m2!1d-122.5677275!2d45.468599!3s0x54959ff294e13a07:0xff6e4805f19a7058!3m4!1m2!1d-122.5702945!2d45.4647439!3s0x54959fee5e9b8007:0xb28dcb6f4cb3c46a!1m0!3e1
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    I do a modified version of your detour.

    follow 205 path from the SW-MUP intersection south to 92nd and back onto 205 path (at Crystal Springs blvd.). It goes down to Johnson Creek Blvd. Stay on JCB (West) past Fred Meyer and it will reconnect to SpringWater at the Bell Station diag crossing.

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  • Ted Buehler April 21, 2016 at 8:55 pm

    Everyone has taken the time to read this far should take another minute and send a note to Charlie telling him you care about the Springwater Trail and want to see it a safe, beautiful place to ride a bike.

    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/
    503-823-4120
    mayorcharliehales@portlandoregon.gov

    Ted Buehler

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  • SSWX April 21, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    dwk
    What a lame response……
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    Once again, David is a voice of logic that some of you can’t handle. Shame…

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  • SSWX April 21, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    Donaleen Kohn
    I keep hearing that most homeless people are local. But all the ones I ask are not from Portland. Many are from other parts of Oregon. Is this another case of Portland having to address the problems of the rest of the state while the rest of the state holds us in contempt? What does local mean in terms of homelessness?
    Recommended 4

    Yes it often is. Many many homeless people come from afar because their own cities refuse to acknowledge there is a homeless problem. Take Vancouver WA- refuses to build a shelter for homeless youth, so they either come to Portland- unfamiliar and often terrified or live in feral camps isolated from services on the fringe of society with other vulnerable young people feeding off each other’s challenges… Its very unhealthy.

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    • rachel b April 22, 2016 at 3:57 pm

      I appreciate your affirming this, SSWX. Can you shed some light on why so many homeless advocates here insist our homeless population is overwhelmingly homegrown? The statistic that I see repeatedly cited seems to have come from Anna Griffin’s long Oregonian series on homelessness, and–as I recall–it was called into question. I still have no idea where the statistic originated, but it sure has been repeated.

      I guess I can understand the impulse, from the perspective of homeless advocates, to paint a picture more conducive to sympathy toward our homeless population. But it rings false, so I think it hurts more than helps the cause.

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  • SSWX April 21, 2016 at 9:47 pm

    Ted Buehler
    Everyone has taken the time to read this far should take another minute and send a note to Charlie telling him you care about the Springwater Trail and want to see it a safe, beautiful place to ride a bike.
    https://www.portlandoregon.gov/mayor/
    503-823-4120
    mayorcharliehales@portlandoregon.gov
    Ted Buehler
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    wileysiren
    Again, homelessness does not exempt people from being held accountable to following the rule of law like everyone else in society. Homeless people are given a pass on this, and because of it IMO, are allowed to “get away” with all kinds of unacceptable behavior. “Oh, they’re homeless, poor homeless folk, we cannot criticize / police / hold them accountable because they have no place to exist”. The lack of accountability for those living in tents is appalling. And the fact that some folks with a roof over their head think that allowing this to happen is just fine is WRONG.
    Homeless folks are given a pass for bad behavior in this City because its not PC to hold them to the rule of law. Hold them accountable for their behavior and changes will happen.
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    Once again, arguments such as these fail to account for the fact that the homeless are more likely to the victims of violent crime, more likely to be harassed by police and more likely to end up in jail. Its no walk in the park. This is horrible existence for most- not a free ride. My only hope is that now these camps are so in the face of precious privileged Portlandia, we have to address of the issues around homelessness, there is no more ignoring it.

    Unfortunately, its off to bad start with otherwise very open-minded liberal people exuding some incredible ignorance at this time.

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  • Ted Buehler April 22, 2016 at 10:06 am

    “otherwise very open-minded liberal people exuding some incredible ignorance at this time.”

    What’s ignorant about asking the mayor to make a public park a safe place for users? I thought that was pretty plain vanilla…

    Ted Buehler

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  • Mark smith April 22, 2016 at 3:47 pm

    If your chukdren can’t safely play in an an area, it’s not safe. Period. What’s it gonna take? A knifing?

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  • Skid April 23, 2016 at 11:41 pm

    Rode the Springwater Corridor all the way east to the very end. On the way back saw Gresham Police on patrol….just sayin’

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  • SE April 28, 2016 at 7:51 am

    Mayor Hales announced that the city is paying a firm up to $40,000 to study the trail and come up with possible solutions and ways to approach the people living there.

    http://www.kgw.com/news/investigations/6-reasons-why-portlands-homeless-crisis-is-at-a-breaking-point/156737977

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  • SE April 28, 2016 at 12:27 pm

    So Charlie has essentially given up on Springwater , so now turns his attention to a really important, pressing problem.

    Abolishing fast food Drive-Thrus. 🙁

    http://www.opb.org/news/article/portland-drive-thru-comprehensive-plan/

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  • buildwithjoe July 21, 2016 at 5:23 pm

    Update & Call to action. It’s Thursday July 21st.

    You and your bike fun friends are invited to help houseless people near the Spring Water Bike Path / Corridor.

    When: Sat July 23rd. 10am to 1pm

    Where: 8106 SE 82nd Ave, Portland, Oregon 97266

    (SpringWater Station)

    Who: People who care and the friends they invite.

    What: Haul trash and provide assistance

    RSVP or not. There’s more info here:
    Use the facebook “invite” button to invite friends
    https://www.facebook.com/events/1005654416215505/

    And later that day kick back with music and art at another
    camp for people struggling with housing.
    Hazelnut grove Noon to 8pm. N Greeley at Interstate off
    the Yellow Line Overlook MAX stop

    https://www.facebook.com/events/1005654416215505/

    reminder to click “attending” then use the Facebook button to invite friends.

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