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

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

kurmaskielead

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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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. BikePortland is an inclusive company with no tolerance for discrimination or harassment including expressions of racism, sexism, homophobia, or xenophobia. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

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Jonathan Radmacher
Guest
Jonathan Radmacher

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?

Adam
Subscriber

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.

Todd Hudson
Guest
Todd Hudson

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.”

The Bike Concierge
Guest

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.

CaptainKarma
Guest
CaptainKarma

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.

Granpa
Guest
Granpa

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.

Fred
Guest
Fred

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.

Mike C
Guest

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

donal Lents
Guest
donal Lents

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.”

Chris I
Guest
Chris I

“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.

JKoz
Guest
JKoz

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.

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

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?

Jeff
Guest
Jeff

FLUSH THE BUMS OUT!

Minneapolis Electrician
Guest

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.

longgone
Guest
longgone

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.

J_R
Guest
J_R

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.

Skid
Guest
Skid

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.

rachel b
Guest
rachel b

“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.

Carrie
Guest
Carrie

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…..

Beth H
Guest

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.

Kat
Guest
Kat

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.

daisy
Guest
daisy

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.

wileysiren
Guest
wileysiren

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.

Chuck
Guest
Chuck

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?

lop
Guest
lop

“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?

SE
Guest
SE

>>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.

SE
Guest
SE

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.

Dan A
Subscriber
Dan A

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

SSWX
Guest
SSWX

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.

SSWX
Guest
SSWX

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.
Recommended 0

I thought David made an excellent point. However, he does have a sensitive understanding of gentrification in Portland.

SSWX
Guest
SSWX

Jeff
FLUSH THE BUMS OUT!
Recommended 11

You mean the stinky lycra clad ones right? Phew….

SSWX
Guest
SSWX

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…?

Eric Leifsdad
Guest
Eric Leifsdad

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

Lester Burnham
Guest
Lester Burnham

Can Hales be impeached?

SSWX
Guest
SSWX

Chris I
Maybe you should do it. Oh, right, you would prefer to lecture people instead. Keep fighting the good fight.
Recommended 0

Kind of why I work with the homeless. And have done for 15 years. As well as being a whiny white cyclist.

Terry D-M
Guest
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.

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.

Mike
Guest
Mike

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.

dan
Guest
dan

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….

Recommended 3

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.

Mark smith
Guest
Mark smith

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

GlowBoy
Guest
GlowBoy

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.

Cora Potter
Guest
Cora Potter

“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.

Andy
Guest
Andy

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.

John
Guest
John

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.

Chris
Guest
Chris

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.

Mark Smith
Guest
Mark Smith

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.

soren
Guest

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

Mike Sanders
Guest
Mike Sanders

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.

joe kurmaskie
Guest

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.

SE
Guest
SE

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 ….