Parks bureau must address homeless campers before trails can be built at Gateway Green

Posted by on September 22nd, 2016 at 12:43 pm

BAC Bike Ride East Portland-19

Get used to more of this at Gateway Green.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

In the past nine days, over 200 people have chipped in nearly $60,000 toward to the construction of the “Dirt Lab” at Gateway Green. But as excitement builds for the first new singletrack trails in Portland in what seems like forever, advocates and partners behind the project have come face-to-face with one of Portland’s most vexing issues: homelessness.

Dozens of people who were just moved from the massive homeless camping villages on the Springwater Corridor path have found solace at Gateway Green, the 40-acre parcel of vacant land that sits at the intersection of two freeways in east Portland. That means before any shovels can hit the ground to build the new trails and riding areas, the city must address the land’s current residents.

Camp in Gateway Green

Portland Parks and Recreation is the owner of the land and they’re spearheading the plan to help the campers. That effort started on Monday when Portland Park Rangers and social service providers from the area began visiting the site to conduct outreach. Below is part of the statement PP&R has issued:

It is heartbreaking, but there are people who are living on the property, as Portland is faced with a crisis around housing and people experiencing homelessness. Camping in parks and on park properties has always been, and continues to be, prohibited. Our parks and natural areas are simply not designed for people to live in them. But Rangers recognize that it is not a crime to simply be homeless. Parks Commissioner Amanda Fritz has been clear – and police agree – that enforcement alone does not solve this complex societal issue. So as part of their jobs, Rangers who identify people camping in parks try hard to assist these individuals by forming relationships with them, and connecting them with resources and agencies such as JOIN. If people do not wish to accept such services, Rangers’ options are limited. Also note that we have more than 11,000 acres of parks and natural areas in the Portland Parks & Recreation system.

Advertisement

Other than trying to connect people living there with social services and to get them assistance, the other goal of the outreach is to inform people that Monday, 10/3 is the start of cleanup of any debris or structures at the Gateway Green site. Site cleanup will be done by the City’s contractor and is expected to take one or two weeks. 

After cleanup, long-planned construction for the park site will soon be underway and a fence is going up shortly.

Camp (and commons area?) in Gateway Green

Parks says they’ll begin staging construction materials and equipment on October 10-12 and a fence will be erected around the project site by October 14th.

While some off-road cycling advocates have their issues with how Portland Parks has managed the singletrack issue in places like Forest Park and River View Natural Area, the agency is in full support of trails at Gateway Green. “Portland Parks & Recreation feels that Gateway Green will be an outstanding site for off-road cycling,” said a statement issued by their spokesperson Mark Ross. “The site’s topography, it’s existing tree coverage and convenient location are sure to make it a coveted destination… Our Commissioner-in-Charge of Parks, Amanda Fritz, has said that Gateway Green could be a key connection point for cycling within the city. It lies not only at the confluence of two major freeways, but at the intersection of the I-205 regional trail and the future Sullivan’s Gulch Trail. So there are a wide range of possibilities, and many reasons to be excited about Gateway Green right now.”

Once construction of the Dirt Lab begins on October 19th it’s expected to be completed and ready to ride by this coming spring (not six weeks like we previously reported).

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

BikePortland is supported by the community (that means you!). Please become a subscriber or make a donation today.

Edit- September 24: added some photos of the larger camps at Gateway Green. There are 2-3 camps with about a dozen tents each; there are many more camps with 1-3 tents/living units scattered around this large space. (Ted)

Please support BikePortland.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. 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

104 Comments
  • Avatar
    Scott Mizee September 22, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    wow.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Mossby Pomegranate September 22, 2016 at 1:28 pm

    Good. Those folks in Gateway need something (anything!) that shows that the city still give a crap about them. The city has already done a good enough job destroying Lents.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty September 22, 2016 at 3:24 pm

      Sounds like the folks may be treated to the city’s first (legal) singletrack area. If that doesn’t show the city cares, what does?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    CycleDadPDX September 22, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    Eh clean up the Parkrose neighborhood in general. Most residents just want the homeless and campers off their streets.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Todd Hudson September 22, 2016 at 2:08 pm

    >residents

    And that’s a big part of the problem: enabling. They’re itinerants at most.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty September 22, 2016 at 3:25 pm

      That’s unclear. Has there been any sort of census that tells us where these folks are coming from? Are they mostly local, or coming from afar?

      Everyone has an opinion, but is there any real data?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        rachel b September 22, 2016 at 3:44 pm

        HK–squatting on public land doesn’t = residency. I agree w/ Todd–it hasn’t helped the situation and, in fact, has made things worse to continually equate camping/seizing public land (and more often than not trashing it) with legitimate residency. Are folks who break into foreclosed houses and turn them into squats/drug dens ‘residents’, then?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          jered September 22, 2016 at 4:57 pm

          …Squatting/seizing public lands works for the US Government, I mean that’s how we got the whole country… zing.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Mike 2 September 23, 2016 at 10:30 am

            US Government came after the French and English immigrants started doing that.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty September 23, 2016 at 11:05 am

              And before them, the Spanish, though that was more a government organized process.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            homeless advocate September 23, 2016 at 2:09 pm

            Possession is 9/10s of the law.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              nuovorecord September 23, 2016 at 4:25 pm

              No, that’s a myth.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty September 23, 2016 at 4:35 pm

                It’s really only about three quarters.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty September 22, 2016 at 5:40 pm

          Well, sure, but you know what I mean. Are they Portland people who found themselves on the street, or are the Iowa people who found themselves on a bus?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            rachel b September 22, 2016 at 8:28 pm

            Yeah, I’m with you. I’d be interested in an independent survey of Portland’s homeless and their origins. Of course, anyone could tell you anything they like. In the end, though, camping/squatting is illegal, as is all the attendant wretched antisocial behavior, general crime and devastation. Doesn’t matter where whomever is engaging in that is from.

            jered– 🙂 Touche! Ahh, Manifest Destiny! Cringe.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              KTaylor September 24, 2016 at 12:23 am

              In 2015, homelessness in the US overall declined 2%. It increased 8.7% in Oregon, 13% in Seattle and a whopping 20% in LA (HUD statistics, Nov 2015). With the exception of NY, which also experienced a steep increase, the statistics show a trend of escalating homelessness rates in western states with mild summers and winters and a decline everywhere else (Michigan and NJ are both down a whopping 14%). So, though we can’t actually poll tent campers in Oregon, the statistics seem to indicate a redistribution of the US homeless population to the most year-round livable locations (probably driven, like the massive influx of newcomers at other demographic levels, by the ease of sharing and gathering information online).

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                rachel b September 24, 2016 at 3:27 pm

                Wow–very interesting. Thanks, KTaylor!

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          Is the O Live September 22, 2016 at 6:23 pm

          We must use different dictionaries, Webster’s has residency as “the state or fact of living in a place” and residents as “a person who resides in a place.” Since we are talking about a place, and since people are living there, we can appropriately use the word resident. As for your other comments, the courts make it pretty clear that if an individual does not have a place to live, and a government does not have a place for them to live, then it is not illegal to be residing outside. Existing is not illegal. Denying someone’s exist can be cruel though.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        soren September 23, 2016 at 8:56 am

        71% of the houseless population lived in Portland for over 2 years, and of those who moved to PDX more recently, the vast majority were not initially houseless. (Eviction is the primary cause of houselessnes and a major contributor to chronic poverty.)

        https://multco.us/file/42320/download

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          SE Rider September 23, 2016 at 9:22 am

          I’m weary of almost all self-reporting surveys (especially ones that take place in the winter like this one). Although I recognize there just isn’t a better way to do them. It seem very likely that these reports are undercounting in many capacities (I would bet that drug use is largely underreported).
          The recent Springwater report they did was similar.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Is the O Live September 22, 2016 at 6:15 pm

      Wow, what comment section am I in? Is this OregonLive? I mean this comment is seriously unfounded and just perpetuates stereotypes. Why are we enabling this type of speech.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Andy September 25, 2016 at 2:48 pm

      Ok, I get it. You’re grossed out by people that don’t have homes. But what *exactly* are you suggesting? I mean people gotta sleep somewhere…

      I am sorry this recreational mountain bike trail might have humans who are looking for a place to live on/in it…And some of them don’t behave as you wish they would….And that it doesn’t jive with the “PDX” aesthetic or whatever…

      But maybe your disgust is matched by a commitment to support housing-first programs (http://www.endhomelessness.org/pages/housing_first), mental health and addiction services, or other antipoverty initiatives?

      Or maybe you just like to complain on the internet about people who aren’t as well off as you?

      To say we are “enabling” humans to be homeless is fair insofar as social services in Oregon, and the nation more generally, are inadequate and our collective priorities, crooked. Hopefully you’ll help be a leading voice for positive, compassionate change… Not just for mountain bike trails…

      “Itinerants at most”? That’s the “most” these people are? Really?… Yeesh man, hopefully your elitist sensibilities don’t get rattled anytime soon…

      …Psych!

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty September 25, 2016 at 3:18 pm

        Behaving well is not just an anesthetic – bad behavior impacts fellow campers more than anyone. It’s bad enough to walk through an area that has been trashed, but having to live in one because your neighbors don’t want to respect the basics of a civilized society is far worse. It must be extra frustrating to be blamed for such behavior if you’re trying to do the right thing but are stuck with “unaesthetic” neighbors.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        rachel b September 26, 2016 at 8:24 pm

        “And some of them don’t behave as you wish they would….And that it doesn’t jive with the “PDX” aesthetic or whatever…”

        It (the illegal behavior) doesn’t jibe with the law. That wacky law! Silly we, who expect people to live in civility and peace. What do we think we are? A society?!?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Mike 2 September 22, 2016 at 2:20 pm

    There have been several large camps on this property for a long time. This is not a recent development since the Springwater action.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      TAJ September 22, 2016 at 4:04 pm

      True, though numbers there have increased even in the last week. Also, Springwater is not clear. Camps remain out to 136th, including a huge one just past 128th or 136th. And the path from U of P to Marine is beginning to look like Springwater.

      Only clear parts of the path I know are some stretches of I-205, on the Columbia, and the last 5-10 miles before Boring.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Spiffy September 22, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    it’s not illegal to be homeless, and it’s illegal to camp in the park, ergo kick them out… there are plenty of public spaces in Portland that are not parks or sidewalks and have plenty of visibility so that we’re not just hiding the problem…

    we can still legally and morally require campers to tear down their camps during the day as well…

    it’s not homeless camping that the city is allowing, it’s homeless cities…

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      dwk September 22, 2016 at 5:43 pm

      There is currently “campers” who camp in the lawn at the Steel bridge crossing who take their tents down a lot of days and just leave piles of trash…. A lot of the new “campers” are the trashiest bunch I have seen in this city. I am losing all sympathy….
      Just buy or build shelters already, stop proposing silly wastes of money like the $350,000 for an MUP lane on Naito and fix and clean up the homeless problem in this town. What is it going to take?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        rachel b September 22, 2016 at 8:35 pm

        Build shelters…and triage and kick the bad element out–no more making it easy to just set up and shoot up down the road. Prosecute/incarcerate those engaging in criminal behavior. Don’t enable what’s happening now–lawless, festering, elaborate (i.e., lots and lots o’ stuff, including big furniture) permacamps in sensitive public areas. Echoing Spiffy, “…it’s not homeless camping that the city is allowing, it’s homeless cities…”

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          dan September 22, 2016 at 9:33 pm

          Shelters to house permanent residents, designated campsites with garbage and toilets _outside of town_ for itinerant homeless with shuttle buses for access to services in the central city. No camping allowed outside of those designated campsites. Is this unreasonable / impossible?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            dan September 23, 2016 at 7:26 am

            just foist Portland’s problems on the surrounding area? Seems reasonable.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty September 23, 2016 at 11:40 am

              Works for me!

              Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              Lester Burnham September 23, 2016 at 12:27 pm

              Everybody has been more than willing to foist the problem on east Portland for quite some time now.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Mike 2 September 23, 2016 at 10:47 am

            If only we had a new, never used $58 million dollar facility that we spend another $300k plus annually maintaining, designed for housing people, sitting dormant within a few miles of Portland….

            Oh wait, we do.

            But that would take work, a little money and changing a zoning law. Better to let the problem continue than to try to alleviate. And let that $58 MILLION facility continue to sit unused.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Adam H.
      Adam H. September 23, 2016 at 11:45 am

      it’s not illegal to be homeless

      Except that it basically is. If it’s illegal to sleep in a park, illegal to camp on a sidewalk, and illegal to trespass on private property, then you’ve effectively outlawed sleeping outside. The question I beg of the city is, then, where do they expect these people to go? We can’t keep up these inhumane sweeps ad infinitum.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        dwk September 23, 2016 at 11:56 am

        You left something out. It is legal to camp on private property with the owners permission. I assume from your numerous posts on the issue, that your front or back yard is available?

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        rachel b September 23, 2016 at 2:43 pm

        It is illegal to destroy public property and protected habitat, to attack people, to threaten and harass people, to rape, to steal. I don’t know why it’s necessary to keep pointing this out, but there is a distinction to be made between people who are doing this and those who aren’t. Those who aren’t should be helped. Those who are should suffer the consequences for their choices, their actions. Then they can decide how to choose next (i.e. rehab) and avail themselves—or not—of the help offered. And I don’t care where the utterly careless go. Just as I don’t feel responsible for picking up after or making excuses for anyone—housed or not—who’s demonstrated a callous disregard for the law, the community, the greater good, and the public lands we all share–many of them sensitive ares supporting numerous creatures. We do a real disservice to all the law abiding folks living peacefully on the streets when we imply or flat out assert the homeless are simply incapable of civil behavior.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Spiffy September 27, 2016 at 9:28 am

        you left out the public areas that aren’t parks or sidewalks… lots of those spaces in Portland…

        also, these aren’t homeless people, they’re campers… the problem isn’t that they’re camping, it’s that they’re setting up permanent residency where that’s not allowed…

        were they to set up camp only to sleep and then break camp in the morning we wouldn’t have such a problem…

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        eva September 27, 2016 at 11:59 am

        Mike 2 just above your comment supplied the answer.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    stephen salter September 22, 2016 at 9:40 pm

    i only hope that if any of you previous commentors ever find yourselves in a situation where you are struggling to merely survive another day that humanity shows you more compassion and understanding than you are showing now towards your fellow human beings who don’t have access to housing for whatever reason.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty September 22, 2016 at 10:04 pm

      Speaking only for myself, I feel a great deal of compassion for them. The real question is how do I respond? I no longer give panhandlers my change, as I used to do, because I now feel that if that money is used to feed an addiction, my act of kindness is doing harm.

      Like most people, I am very conflicted about this issue. Some people need my help, while others may be harmed by it. And further, as the numbers have grown, I am at risk of having my compassion overwhelmed by anger at those who do not respect the public areas where they sleep. I am further concerned that by showing compassion to those who are here, I will attract more people to come to Portland, making it harder for those already here.

      I think what you are hearing here is people whose compassion has become overwhelmed by the scope of the problem, a phenomenon we can see playing out in other contexts, such as the refugee crisis in Europe.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        stephen salter September 22, 2016 at 10:55 pm

        i think we have different conceptions of compassion. if someone asks me for help i do not ask why. i do not judge them. i do not take them to task, nor blame them for their mistakes, or their simply bad luck. a lot of us are one major medical catastrophe away from living in one of those camps. “Some people need my help, while others may be harmed by it”. no one is harmed by help. “I am at risk of having my compassion overwhelmed by anger at those who do not respect the public areas where they sleep” personally i don’t care if a public area is trashed so that 500 people have a safe place to sleep. I care more about the safety of those individuals because they are human beings just trying to survive, just like you and me. In comparison, You could most likely be taken to task for all the ways in which you live your life that negatively impact the environment, (the entirety of humanity’s Gateway Green). Those people’s carbon footprint is undoubtedly smaller than yours. I do agree that it is similar to the psychology that is driving a lot of the conflict in Europe as concerns the refugee situation. So much help is needed that the situation seems insurmountable, ie in order to affect real change you might actually have to give up your rad single track mountain bike park, or have to give more than some useless spare pocket change as an “act of kindness”. In my humble opinion the solution to the problem is for us all to stand up collectively as a city and say that it is not tolerable for thousands of our fellow community members to not have a safe, warm, dry place to sleep every night, and to do whatever it takes to make it happen.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty September 22, 2016 at 11:14 pm

          I used to feel the same way — that, for example, if someone asked me for money, I should help them out. And why not? But if that money is used to further an addiction, that money is not the “help” it would appear to be, and I am not willing to contribute to something so damaging.

          So I look for ways to help people that do not run the risk of hurting, and there are people around who I am still willing to give money to because I know a bit about their situation and know it will really help them.

          So here’s a question for you: if we, as a city, were able to muster “whatever it takes” to provide shelter for everyone who needs it, is there any obligation on behalf of those who are offered assistance to stop camping on public land, to treat their addictions (and I fully acknowledge that there are many on the streets who are not addicts, and many really are just victims of bad luck), and to offer something back to the people who are helping them?

          I do firmly believe it is a society’s obligation to care for those in need; to feed the hungry, provide shelter and medical care for those require it, and I mostly believe that that obligation is unconditional. But turning that into practice at the policy level, or even at the level of providing services, seems to be really hard, even for people who understand the problem far better than I do.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          resopmok September 23, 2016 at 7:54 am

          You stopped short of saying you would actually provide help, though. Also, as a person who has had the misfortune of being robbed by someone I was trying to help, I find this view of compassion to be rather naive. I believe that most of the commenters whose statements you object to would like to see homeless people get the help they need. All of it must be framed in a context, though, which is this city at this time. There are no “just” solutions (just do this, just do that), nor are there solutions which will be fair to everyone. When public land is being damaged and when there is substantial risk to the security of nearby (longer term) residents, the government should be compelled to act.

          The causes of homelessness are as numerous and varied as the stars in the sky, which is why no one-size-fits-all solution will work here. It will take outreach, work, discussion, work, and more work to make inroads on the rising tide of homelessness in our city. What are you doing to help?

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      rachel b September 22, 2016 at 10:35 pm

      stephen: I’m repeatedly flummoxed by this take when anyone suggests tackling illegal, antisocial, criminal behavior amongst the homeless. Why presume a lack of compassion? Or that those commenting haven’t found themselves in a situation where they are struggling merely to survive?

      An expectation of personal responsibility (except in the case of extreme mental illness) and consequences is not uncompassionate. In fact, I’d argue that–in the long run–it’s far more compassionate than the alternative (enabling, which any reformed addict will tell you is not the way). It also keeps society from disintegrating into chaos.

      And I’ll say it again–we are all capable of distinguishing between those exhibiting criminal behavior and those simply in need of aid. Calling out the former does not = “no compassion.” The folks you’re frowning on are not actually lumping the homeless all together, but you certainly seem to be.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        stephen salter September 22, 2016 at 11:24 pm

        “there is no compassion in tolerating lawless conduct”. kind of sounds like what your saying. might want to give that quote a google.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          rachel b September 23, 2016 at 12:49 am

          🙂 Hmm. While I loathe Trump, what’s wrong with that particular quote? It looks like he was trying rather blatantly (again) to curry the favor of blacks and low income folks–correct? I didn’t read the whole spiel… Thanks for comparing me to a petty despot/demagogue, tho. That is so like me.

          We do have different ideas of compassion, stephen. Though: “if someone asks me for help i do not ask why. i do not judge them. i do not take them to task, nor blame them for their mistakes….”—I am much the same! We could be twins. Do you really suppose that when I’m asked for help, I trot out a lecture, or that I consider someone else’s ‘bad luck’ a great occasion to give a bronx cheer and kick them in the gonads? Why such a one-dimensional read?

          There’s help and then there’s help, is the thing. And sometimes, “help” absolutely harms. That’s why we have judgment, which I know is a dirty word to many nowadays but one I wish more people would embrace, as there’s not a person on the face of the earth who’s “nonjudgmental,” no matter how vociferously they may insist they are.

          In Portland, we’ve been incredibly, disastrously prone as a community (in my opinion) toward the kind of “help” that hurts, that enables really truly wretched behavior–behavior that is correctable, not inevitable. “Help” that expects nothing. And that’s brought us to the unhappy place we are now. We’re not simply talking about large groups of campers engaged in trashing up the landscape: we’re talking about attacks, rape, threatening behavior, territoriality, destruction and theft of property, and facilitating rampant heroin/meth use. These things present a danger not only to the surrounding community but to the homeless. I also happen to think it’s a reasonable, time-honored expectation to require people to NOT trash public property–esp. when we’re considering the lives and habitats of creatures other than the Almighty Human. Also–bad public health gambit.

          There is such a thing as personal responsibility. And unless you are one of those poor souls who are severely mentally ill, it’s a reasonable expectation you have it, homeless or not. The feeling I get overwhelmingly from the campers who are literally trashing and threatening Portland now is that they’ve gotten the message, loud and clear, that no personal responsibility of any kind is expected of them here. And that there will always, always be another person around the corner who will excuse away their duty to act like responsible people who live in community with other creatures.

          You do know R2D2 and Dignity Village have strict rules–right? Rules = good, in my book! And apparently in theirs, too. Also–since 2015, the taxpayers of this city have compassionately cared to the tune of $850 million, dedicated to the homeless. I think it’s reasonable to have expectations in return. They’re not even onerous.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            soren September 23, 2016 at 8:30 am

            Also–since 2015, the taxpayers of this city have compassionately cared to the tune of $850 million, dedicated to the homeless.

            Please stop lying.

            http://www.oregonlive.com/portland/index.ssf/2015/09/will_30_million_pledge_cut_por.html
            https://www.portlandoregon.gov/phb/article/532833

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              dwk September 23, 2016 at 9:12 am

              You enjoy calling people liars here, how about you give us your solution.
              Some of your info is out of date, the study you linked on one of your posts ended in 2015 and laughably stated that the homeless population is stable in Portland. (I guess all those tents that popped up last winter did not make the study).
              Instead of calling people out for their lack of compassion or whatever, please give us your policy on the issue.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                soren September 23, 2016 at 1:14 pm

                A survey published in June 2015 is out of date?
                Good grief.

                I sincerely doubt that the the next report will be any more to your liking.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Avatar
              rachel b September 23, 2016 at 10:50 am

              Not lying, soren–an honest mistake. I meant to say since 2005 (in the past 10 or so years). I’ve mentioned this stat several times on this site, and linked to this:
              http://www.portlandmercury.com/news/2016/03/09/17741494/hall-monitor-the-next-850-million

              Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      dwk September 23, 2016 at 6:14 am

      You sound like you might work for Charlie Hales. You apparently have not bothered to find out who a lot of the “homeless” are. These are not your Dads WWII or Vietnam style vets with disorders that we need to deal with. A lot are young aggressive drug addicts and just plain criminals.
      If we had a shelter system we could sort these out. Find out who really needs help and who is doing fine on their own stealing their way through life.
      I have plenty of compassion and help those who need it. I have lost patience riding my bike through trash that 25 year old “men’ cannot seem to bother to pick up. I am tired of double locking up my bike everywhere I go and worrying if the seat will still be on it when I return 5 minutes later.
      I have no problem using tax money (I pay a lot) to fund and build decent shelters for this who need it.
      The rest can get out and go pay fees to camp in the national forests….

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        soren September 23, 2016 at 1:16 pm

        The rest can get out and go pay fees to camp in the national forests….

        Now that is some fine evidence of your “compassion”.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          dwk September 25, 2016 at 3:48 pm

          “I have no problem using tax money (I pay a lot) to fund and build decent shelters for those who need it.”

          You left that part out. Again your reading comprehension is remarkably bad.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Middle of the Road guy September 23, 2016 at 9:44 am

      It’s possible to maintain compassion for them and yourself.

      Allowing things to go to hell out of kindness to others who have it worse off seldom leads to a positive outcome.

      And while those folks truly have it bad, they also truly have a negative impact on the area. Denying that is foolish and there comes a point where one has to stop the degradation from occurring or everybody is worse off.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Spiffy September 27, 2016 at 9:42 am

      as a previous houseless person I’m still well aware of how I needed to remain a normal citizen to continue staying alive and free… you never caught me leaving a mess or stealing… no, you saw me carrying my garbage and begging… more people give willingly when you’re obviously making an effort to continue to fit in even without a place to go at night…

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • John Liu
    John Liu September 22, 2016 at 10:42 pm

    No group of people, homeless or otherwise, should be able to take over public property for their own uses.

    Move them out and get on with the project.

    Whenever you let homeless camps become semi permanent without tight controls, you end up with the mess seen on the Springwater. The city should have learned that lesson by now.

    Homeless camps either need to be moving around all the time, so that they don’t have time to create and attract the problems we saw on the Springwater, or they need to be fenced and tightly supervised so that they can’t create and attract those problems.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Spiffy September 27, 2016 at 9:52 am

      if the militants at the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge had claimed they were homeless would we still have kicked them out? /s

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    mtbpdx September 23, 2016 at 8:16 am

    Portland is going to become the pump track capital of the world with the new Off-Road Cycling Masterplan putting pump tracks in every park possible( maybe not a bad thing) . However, Gateway Green is hardly single track or mountain biking in my opinion. We need at least 25 miles of real single track in Portland and Forest Park is the only place that is viable. I’m all for Gateway Green but lets not lose focus on the freeing Forest Park.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      dan September 23, 2016 at 9:21 am

      Why do we *need* any (let alone 25 miles) of single track in Portland?

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Steve Scarich September 23, 2016 at 9:44 am

        Ride 10 minutes of singletrack and the grin on your face will answer your question.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          dan September 23, 2016 at 10:54 am

          I do ride, hundreds of miles of single track (in Oregon). And yes, that grin is there. I just don’t see how we *need* single track in Portland.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Brian September 23, 2016 at 11:46 am

            That’s nice that you have the means to get out of town to ride. Many do not, especially kids.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty September 23, 2016 at 12:06 pm

              Lack of a particular recreational opportunity in the city is not necessarily a tragedy.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Brian September 23, 2016 at 12:18 pm

                I don’t recall anyone using those word, and I don’t disagree. I also don’t see a problem with providing it, much like we have with skateparks around the city.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty September 24, 2016 at 11:49 pm

                Those are my words. I think Gateway Green would be a great place for some singletrack riding, but the argument that we need singletrack because we have no singletrack is not, in itself, persuasive to me.

                It also strikes me that it might be possible to move forward with construction despite the presence of the campers; i.e. I am not sure why construction can’t proceed while the campers continue to camp.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Spiffy September 27, 2016 at 9:55 am

                maybe they can hire the campers for some grunt work while they’re building…

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Alex September 26, 2016 at 1:25 pm

                It is when you have a resource like Forest Park in the City. I still have yet to hear a good reason to not expand the mountain bike access up there.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Spiffy September 27, 2016 at 9:54 am

                “Lack of a particular recreational opportunity in the city is not necessarily a tragedy.”

                tell that to the youth outreach people…

                Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Adam H.
          Adam H. September 23, 2016 at 12:08 pm

          Tried it, did not have a grin, but a horrified look. Never again.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Brian September 23, 2016 at 12:20 pm

            That’s a bummer. Where did you ride, Adam?

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Adam H.
              Adam H. September 23, 2016 at 12:20 pm

              Sedona, Arizona. I did enjoy the more open riding, though was still a bit terrifying. 🙂

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Brian September 23, 2016 at 12:30 pm

                From what I have heard, there is some really technical riding there. I can imagine starting out on that as being a quick way to turn someone off. Trail-building has changed quite a bit in the last ten years. If you were interested, something like lower Hide N Seek (flow trail) at Sandy Ridge is a great flow trail that basically anyone can ride and enjoy.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Adam H.
                Adam H. September 23, 2016 at 12:41 pm

                Thanks for the suggestion!

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Brian September 23, 2016 at 12:43 pm

                Laura’s Line is a beginner trail there, too. It is a road climb to get to the trailheads, so also very accessible for all fitness levels.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Middle of the Road guy September 23, 2016 at 9:51 am

        Why do we need bike paths?

        So people can use them 🙂

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Brian September 23, 2016 at 10:18 am

        We don’t, much like we don’t need soccer fields, playgrounds, stoplights, city parks, allergy medicine, guacamole, etc. They just make life a lot nicer. *Need* is rarely used in social conversation as something necessary for survival, but rather a synonym for something that is really desired.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Dan A September 26, 2016 at 7:30 am

        Why do we *need* soccer fields in Portland? Let people drive an hour away to play soccer.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty September 26, 2016 at 9:44 am

          We don’t, but there FAR more people who play soccer than ride singletrack, and it is a far more multicultural sport. It’s kind of a silly comparison.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Brian September 26, 2016 at 10:15 am

            What about horseshoes? There are more miles of horseshoe pits than quality singletrack in PDX. Those sandpits aren’t cheap to rake every day and making sure the angle of the pin is spot-on takes plenty of resources, too.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Zimmerman September 26, 2016 at 10:53 am

            If being multicultural is the metric we’re using for facilities then why do we need bicycle infrastructure at all?

            Keep in mind that this “need” for singletrack is backed up with people willing to volunteer their time and expertise constructing it. I don’t see many soccer organizations rallying together to build the fields themselves.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty September 26, 2016 at 11:00 am

              Look harder. As an example, PCU (a soccer club in inner NE Portland), raised the funds to rebuild the fields behind Benson School a couple of years ago. All soccer clubs pay the city to use their fields for practice and games. Soccer is one of the most accessible sports — all you really need is a ball, a group of players, and an open area.

              I don’t at all oppose a single track park at Gateway Green — I was just poking at what I see as a really weak argument for it.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Zimmerman September 26, 2016 at 11:12 am

                That’s great for PCU! It’s also great that NWTA has been raising funds for Gateway Green…

                Poking fun at singletrack trail construction in Portland is like poking an angry zombie bear that hasn’t been fed for 20 years.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Dan A September 26, 2016 at 2:26 pm

            Would that be true if we only had 1 field suitable for soccer, and hundreds of miles of singletrack, with at least a mile of it on every school ground?

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty September 26, 2016 at 2:35 pm

              Are you asking if there would still be more demand for soccer, or if the comparison would still be silly? I’d say yes to both.

              We do have hundreds of miles of roadway, and road riding (apart from transportation) is still not widespread. Further, demand for soccer is not there just because there are fields.

              Swing by Benson HS some evening during the week, and check out how many people are crowded onto the fields behind the building.

              Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Dan A September 26, 2016 at 3:16 pm

                Soccer is an institution, for sure, which is made possible because there are lots of facilities around, and have been for quite some time. However, the ratio of singletrack to mountain bikers in Portland is abysmal.

                Would you argue that bike infrastructure isn’t needed because there are far less people who ride bikes?

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty September 26, 2016 at 3:19 pm

                No. As I stated elsewhere on this page, I’m not opposed to this facility. I just don’t think you will make much headway by comparing riding singletrack to soccer.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                wsbob September 26, 2016 at 5:40 pm

                “…I just don’t think you will make much headway by comparing riding singletrack to soccer.” h kitty

                Soccer needs only a comparatively small field on which to play. Mountain biking requires miles and miles of linear trail across broad expanses of land.

                As I think you’re saying, for the purpose of building support for the provision of mountain biking trail within Portland city limits, it’s not that useful, I don’t think, to directly compare on all points, the interest in, and practical realities of soccer to those of mountain biking.

                Something that definitely stands out about almost all ball sports requiring the provision of a field or court for play , compared to provision required for mountain biking, is the level of public interest. Public interest in soccer, baseball, softball, lacrosse, tennis,and more…is huge. It’s because of this huge public interest in ball sports that the public is willing to fork up big dollars to buy the land upon which to build and maintain facilities for those sports.

                When, if ever, level of public interest in mountain biking in Portland begins to rise to that of ball sports, I’d expect the public would gladly be willing to put out money to acquire additional natural land within city limits, specifically for the provision of trail for mountain biking.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Avatar
                Dan A September 26, 2016 at 5:56 pm

                Mkay, let’s hear your argument then. I could use some MTBsplainin’.

                Recommended Thumb up 0

              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty September 26, 2016 at 6:15 pm

                My argument?

                Recommended Thumb up 0

          • Avatar
            Kate September 26, 2016 at 5:08 pm

            As a soccer player and mountain biker I would say true, but… maybe having some accessible mountain bike trails in town would increase the number and diversify the folks out riding the trails. Currently it’s a fairly inaccessible sport if you live in Portland since it requires a lengthy drive and a way to carry a bike on your vehicle to access real single track.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    homeless advocate September 23, 2016 at 10:28 am

    Here’s a solution: Portland has 11,000 acres of parks. Portland has roughly 3,800 homeless people, according to the city of Portland

    If Portland were to allocate one acre to each homeless person and allowed them to build a homestead, we can solve homelessness and still have nearly 7,200 acres of parks left over!

    I’m looking into creating a petition to convince city hall to take this bold step to step out houselessness. Who is with me?!

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      Spiffy September 27, 2016 at 9:58 am

      Park The Homeless!

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Beth H September 23, 2016 at 3:34 pm

    A lot of this arguing looks and feels a lot like bolting the barn door after the horse has fled.
    Our homelessness problems got a jump start over 30 years ago when access to mental health care in Oregon (and elsewhere) began to shrink. The almighty Bottom Line dictated that hospitals and medical personnel stop focusing so much expensive care on a population suffering from maladies that could not be cured, and when the mental hospitals closed, many of those people were simply turned out into the street with little or no follow-up care.
    Meanwhile, we continue to give tax breaks to large corporations seeking to relocate; we consolidate schools to save money and open up more real estate (because, quality education be damned, right?), and we make it harder and harder for those at the bottom to ever move up by locating affordable housing entire suburbs away from where the crappy hourly-wage service jobs are. And those of us safely snuggled into houses we bought — fifteen years ago or five weeks ago — are sighing with relief that “those” people are not us.
    This mess is so much bigger than any one organization or municipal government can fix. It will require FEDERAL action:
    –rebuild the mental systems. Re-open mental health hospitals and hire qualified staff; train new mental health professionals to deal with the shortage of trained personnel and subsidize their schooling to fast-track things along;
    –legislate taxes on the wealthiest to help spread the cost of implementing meaningful change in the form of affordable housing, job training, education and childcare subsidies and lower taxes for the working poor.
    –legislate and enforce laws preventing racial and other discrimination in education, housing and employment IN EVERY STATE, NO MATTER WHAT.
    –withhold Federal highway and other funds from states that refuse to enforce federal law.

    Some things are too big for one city, or one state, to handle alone.
    If we are to combat homelessness, we have to combat its causes, which include institutionalized racism, corporate greed and nepotism, and a shameful lack of resources for those struggling with mental illness. If the rich want to be rich, that’s fine; but they should pay their fair share and so should large corporations. Because you and I aren’t going to fix this problem enough to make a dent in it.
    This is one case where more government, not less, is needed.
    Compassion is great, but sometimes you have to force it into being by law. (For further reference, see: miscegenation; civil rights; same-sex marriage.)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty September 24, 2016 at 2:29 am

      I think you’re pretty much on target here; my one quibble is that taxing the rich probably won’t be enough; what you’re proposing is expensive (but worth it), and will probably require more taxes from everyone.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

      • Avatar
        Beth September 24, 2016 at 5:11 pm

        The other thing required here is time, A LOT of time. His mess took decades to create and it will take years to remedy — by demanding leaders with political courage, legislating parts of a new social compact, and filling in the missing pieces with education of the very young to change attitudes about race, class, and mental health. It won’t be solved in my lifetime, but we can at least start the hard work now.

        Recommended Thumb up 0

        • Avatar
          rachel b September 24, 2016 at 8:21 pm

          It takes only political will to hold the appropriate folks accountable for threatening and violent behavior, drug use, and destruction of public property. And to stop enabling them. All that can be done right now, and needs to be done.

          Recommended Thumb up 0

    • Avatar
      rachel b September 24, 2016 at 3:44 pm

      We are faced with a far different homeless population than 30 years ago, and the drug addiction factor (and ease of finding and doing said drugs in our city) can’t be minimized, though it always seems to be.

      In complete agreement about the inexcusable abandonment of the mentally ill, who made up a much larger proportion of the homeless population 30 years back. But now? The increase in mobility (road warriors/travelers) and easy heroin/meth/food (lifestylers) in Portland has impacted the homeless population here heavily. It’s far different than it was, even 15 years ago. It’s not heartless to factor these things in and pursue triage. And it’s crucial we do—while dedicating funds to and taking care of those incapacitated by mental illness, and helping those who are not tearing our city up.

      Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Ted Timmons (Contributor) September 24, 2016 at 9:06 pm

    I updated the article today:

    Edit- September 24: added some photos of the larger camps at Gateway Green. There are 2-3 camps with about a dozen tents each; there are many more camps with 1-3 tents/living units scattered around this large space. (Ted)

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    Aaron September 24, 2016 at 10:14 pm

    Does that include steeling Native American Land, using public ROW for on-street parking, drilling for oil, taking over Tom McCall Park for festivals?

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    suicidarida September 26, 2016 at 6:10 am

    I live in gateway, montavilla.
    I cant wait for A safe park. but not holding my breath.
    Going to be hard to move. then deal with the waste.
    Right now. Its A unsafe homeless park.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar
    ElPana September 26, 2016 at 1:27 pm

    Portland City Officials should be ashamed of themselves, useless city government at this maximum potential.

    Recommended Thumb up 0

  • Avatar