BuddyRider from The eBike Store

Where some see historic trail connection, others fear a home for urban campers

Posted by on January 5th, 2017 at 11:36 am

Metro map with location of proposed trail and a concept drawing of how it might look near Kelly Creek in Gresham.

Filling a six-mile gap between Troutdale and Gresham would put a serious dent in the “40-mile Loop” — a trail concept that’s been in regional planning dreams for well over a century. And Metro is creating a plan to do just that.

But where some see an historic opportunity for a new, low-stress place to walk and roll, others see a perfect place for people who live outside to pitch tents and build encampments.

“By far the most frequently expressed concerns had to do with crime and homeless campers along sections of the Springwater Trail.”
— Metro

Last summer Metro launched a master planning process for a new trail that would connect from Troutdale and the Sandy River down to Johnson Creek and the existing Springwater Corridor path in Gresham. While public response to the project has been mostly positive, concerns about urban camping and associated impacts have already surfaced and there’s a new website that encourages people to oppose the project.

The person/people behind NoSpringwaterExtension.com offer up a myriad of concerns about the trail — from a loss of privacy and property rights to fears of what they consider an inevitable crime wave that would follow. The site is peppered with images and news stories from last year when a large encampment on the Springwater Corridor became a major controversy as adjacent businesses, trail users and residents began to speak out about its impacts. That camp grew in size in large part because former Mayor Charlie Hales made the unprecedented decision to allow outdoor camping in the wooded areas adjacent to the path. Hales ultimately reversed course and ordered an eviction.

There are no names or organizations associated with NoSpringwaterExtension.com and it’s not clear how many people it represents. (We’ve reached out via email but have not heard back.)

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Metro has heard these concerns and has already begun responding to them. Hundreds of people have already shared feedback about the project through public meetings and an online survey. 159 people responded to an open-ended question about the project. Of those, Metro says 47 percent were in favor of the trail, 31 percent were “generally supportive but had concerns” and 21 percent were opposed. In a document that analyzed the feedback, Metro wrote, “By far the most frequently expressed concerns had to do with crime and homeless campers along sections of the Springwater Trail.”

Reached by phone this morning, Metro’s Natural Areas Program Director Dan Moeller said public safety agencies have been at the planning table since the beginning, “To make sure the community’s concerns about safety along the trail are adequately addresssed.” Moeller also said Metro believes research proves trails do not generate crime or safety issues. “If there are issues along the trail they generally reflect the patterns around the surrounding neighborhood,” he said.

Moeller also said that letting people camp in a natural area along a path was “a horribly failed experiment” and he doubts any other agency in the region would dare repeat it. He points to the benefits the project would bring, including safer places to walk and bike and more eyes and ears in the community as people get out and use the trail.

While illegal camping is on Metro’s radar, the goal of the master plan effort is to identify the best alignment for the future trail so that they can begin to negotiate easements, potential land acquisitions and funding sources. So far they’ve shared three potential alignments. Here’s the latest as of December 19th:

Click image for larger version to see the Troutdale and Gresham routes in detail. Or click here for original PDF.

As for the facility itself, Metro plans to utilize a wide variety of path and trail designs. The default will be a 10-12 foot paved path and they are also considering other options when that isn’t feasible. Some sections could have a dirt hiking trail along the path and in places where space is limited they are considered standard buffered bike lanes on the adjacent roadway.

The next project meeting is scheduled for January 19th in Gresham (details here). Metro hopes to have a draft master plan completed and ready for public review this spring. “Information and considerations around safety, homelessness and crime,” they say, “will be taken into strong consideration as Metro staff proposes a recommended trail alignment.”

Learn more about the project on Metro’s website and/or contact project manager Robert Spurlock at robert.spurlock [at] oregonmetro.gov.

UPDATE, 3:52 pm: I originally had outdated route maps. They have been deleted and a new map is now shown. Sorry for any confusion.

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

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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. Thank you — Jonathan

241 Comments
  • Adam H.
    Adam H. January 5, 2017 at 11:55 am

    Stop making being homeless illegal then. Either build sanctioned homeless camps or allow people to camp in wilderness areas. People have to sleep somewhere.

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    • BB January 5, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      This is not and never has been an issue of people just bedding down for the night.

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    • Doug January 5, 2017 at 12:19 pm

      It’s that attitude, excuse and accept, as long as it’s somebody else paying the price, that makes these proposals so unappealing to adjacent land owners and other stake holders.

      What squatters do is illegal; littering, drug use all are illegal still, right?

      Why shouldn’t we criminalize criminal behavior?

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. January 5, 2017 at 12:46 pm

        Drug abuse should not be a crime, it should be treated as a medical condition. As for littering, perhaps that occurs pecause they have no where to throw away their trash? Why not place garbage cans around the campsites, with regular trash service? And free nearby storage lockers, so they don’t need to pile up their stuff at the campsite.

        Sending the police should never be the solution to these problems.

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        • Kyle Banerjee January 5, 2017 at 2:05 pm

          Don’t forget free restaurants, internet access, and cable TV. They still need to eat, be able to pursue opportunities, and be informed.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. January 5, 2017 at 2:20 pm

            I’m fairly certain you’re being sarcastic, but those are actually good ideas that I would fully support if proposed. I mean, you’re just describing a homeless service center, which we could certainly use more of.

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            • Kyle Banerjee January 5, 2017 at 3:32 pm

              Not sure I understand why people would work, bother with hotels when visiting town, or frequenting a lot of businesses if that were provided. I know I wouldn’t.

              That dang work thing (especially when commuting, prep time, and some weekend/evening action is factored in) really gets in the way of my free time.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. January 5, 2017 at 3:48 pm

                I really have no idea what point you’re trying to make. Surely you understand that providing basic needs to people who can’t afford it does not mean that everyone in Portland will quit their jobs to line up for free food and internet, right?

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              • Kyle Banerjee January 5, 2017 at 4:26 pm

                Some people work very long hours to barely meet basic needs. They borrow crazy amounts of money which they work years to pay off while treated poorly for while to just scrape by.

                The working poor get treated abysmally in this country. They get the hardest work, the worst hours, the most unstable jobs, and they often get much less than they would on assistance. They do not live well.

                People need to be provided for, but if not working gets you a better situation than working, it’s not insane for people to choose not to.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. January 5, 2017 at 4:35 pm

                So the preferred alternative for you is to let people suffer? Surely there is some middle ground. Besides, abuse of social services is not as big of an issue as its opponents make it out to be.

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              • Kyle Banerjee January 5, 2017 at 5:17 pm

                Some people cannot be productive for a variety of reasons and they still need to be taken care of.

                It’s complicated. If someone does something stupid, goes to prison, and comes out with no skills or money, people aren’t going to want to hire him even if he’s genuinely reformed and wants to do the right thing. There are many situations where people need the right kind of help to find their feet.

                But there needs to be real incentives for people to try. Help needs to come with strings that encourage people to act in a way that it won’t be necessary in perpetuity except in unusual cases. And there need to be strong disincentives for self destructive and dangerous behavior.

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              • eddie January 5, 2017 at 8:03 pm

                Kyle Banerjee, you and other people so don’t get what’s going on with these people. Most of them are traumatized. They get attacked, raped, robbed, killed even and aren’t enjoying their lives in the least. They know they have little or no agency and have given up, that’s why they live on the streets. It bewilders and frustrates me that people like you think they’re happy go lucky freeloaders. They aren’t. Have some compassion. Please.

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              • Kyle Banerjee January 5, 2017 at 10:12 pm

                Are you claiming you do know what’s going on with them?

                I may have more experience with this topic than you realize. I’ll give you a hint. There are all kinds of homeless people as well reasons people are homeless. If someone is honest about real challenges, it does not mean they lack compassion — or even that they have any less compassion than those who would criticize them.

                If it bewilders you why people like me think they’re like happy go lucky freeloaders, it’s because no one said anything of the sort. If you try to follow what’s going on before painting people you don’t understand (whether they be homeless or commenters on an internet forum) with a broad brush, you’ll get confused less often.

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              • Kyle Banerjee January 5, 2017 at 10:23 pm

                @eddie: Out of curiosity, do you live near a significant camp or need to pass through them often, particularly by yourself at night?

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              • rachel b January 11, 2017 at 8:43 pm

                “But there need to be real incentives for people to try. Help needs to come with strings that encourage people to act in a way that it won’t be necessary in perpetuity except in unusual cases. And there need to be strong disincentives for self destructive and dangerous behavior.”

                Hear, hear, Kyle Banerjee.

                Recommended Thumb up 1

            • flightlessbird January 6, 2017 at 8:16 am

              I would much rather see investment in better mental health services, better public education, free/affordable higher education, incentives for low income housing and more incentive to pay a living wage. Those investments would help the working poor and the houseless with bettering their situation and avoiding being in those situations in the first place. As someone who works this this population daily, I can say with certainty that un-policed camps create even more vulnerability to an already vulnerable group of people. Just like any population, a certain precent are criminals with ill intent. Allowing unregulated, un-patrolled camps allow these bad apples to take advantage of the rest. Shelters would be great but don’t fix the underlining problem.

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              • Matt S. January 6, 2017 at 11:16 am

                Fighting homelessness starts before the first grade and should involve the previous generation.

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          • Matt S. January 5, 2017 at 2:21 pm

            Or how about soup kitchens and Internet cafes where you trade hours of service to said facilities for access to them.

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            • RH January 5, 2017 at 2:27 pm

              Bingo! A helping hand not a hand out.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 2:11 pm

          The littering doesn’t come from shortage of receptacles; some campers manage to keep their sites tidy. I think the condition of a campsite can tell you a lot about the mental state and sobriety of those living within.

          People living in tents deserve police protection as much as anyone else. They are often vulnerable to predatory elements in the homeless population. I very much do want to see the police address predatory, threatening, and violent behavior, wherever it comes from. It doesn’t matter if that behavior stems from an underlying mental condition or addiction — I want those people off the street (and in treatment) until they have themselves under control.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. January 5, 2017 at 2:25 pm

            I agree that the houseless population deserves all the same rights to safety and security as we do. However, I don’t believe police custody and jail time to be an effective treatment for drug abuse, nor do a believe police in general to be properly trained in de-escalating a mental health crisis (however PPB seems to be above average in this regard). Unfortunately, our Governor would rather build a new women’s prison than provide mental health resources.

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            • Kyle Banerjee January 5, 2017 at 3:49 pm

              It’s not effective from a treatment perspective, but if people attack others, it’s still better to move them where they won’t hurt others than to leave them there.

              Do you actually ride in these areas — particularly late at night when others are not around? There are certainly people who really need help, but there is a lot of criminal activity as well. Or do you think all those young and very strong looking males who wear masks are much more susceptible to respiratory illnesses than any other demographic among “campers?”

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 4:16 pm

                I don’t know… the air is pretty bad from burning tires and treated wood.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 4:14 pm

              Jail is absolutely no substitute for drug treatment, and the police are not mental health counselors. Doing it right takes money, and lots of it. I’m willing to pay, but society in general seems less so.

              That said, we cannot let the violent prey on others, regardless of the underlying cause. Sending in the police is better than the other options we currently have available.

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          • wsbob January 5, 2017 at 6:23 pm

            “The littering doesn’t come from shortage of receptacles; some campers manage to keep their sites tidy. …” h kitty

            Campers haul their stuff in…they should be as capable of hauling their trash out. Could be the folks camping, that aren’t hauling their trash and other un-needed stuff out, are the people doing the other things that has fed the great homeless camper trail side controversy

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          • rachel b January 11, 2017 at 8:54 pm

            Soooooo much more stuff in recent years. So much stuff. Don’t remember all that stuff, 15-20 years ago. It reflects a less mobile mindset and a new(er) sense of entitlement to camp semi-permanently on public (or rarely patrolled private) lands.

            I wish those good samaritans bringing all the stuff to campers would dedicate some of their laudable energy to cleaning up too, and to teaching cleaning/organizational skills. Much easier to start to deal w/ mental and drug addiction issues when your personal environment is orderly.

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        • Middle of the Road Guy January 5, 2017 at 3:06 pm

          Texting and driving shouldn’t be a crime unless you hit someone. I mean, who is harmed otherwise?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 4:31 pm

            Freedom of speech!

            Recommended Thumb up 3

          • Dan A January 6, 2017 at 8:54 am

            Hard to tell if you’re being serious or sarcastic.

            Recommended Thumb up 0

            • Middle of the Road guy January 6, 2017 at 12:35 pm

              Sometimes I use sarcasm to make serious points.

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        • Bjorn January 5, 2017 at 3:42 pm

          Last week I saw three people spend the day drinking in a bus shelter near my house. They were there all day making using the shelter impossible. There is a trash can 2 feet from the bus stop. When they finally left I threw several empty wine bottles and a bunch of garbage they left behind into that trash can. The issue isn’t a lack of access to garbage cans, there are garbage cans all over the place, it is people who just don’t care.

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          • Matt S. January 6, 2017 at 11:21 am

            Or alcoholism, which is a series mental illness.. .

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        • B. Carfree January 6, 2017 at 12:59 pm

          Come on down to Eugene. We do place garbage cans all along the bike paths. Our homeless drug addicts aren’t house-trained. The presence of garbage cans doesn’t cause them to not dump their garbage any old place. Sadly, the presence of bathrooms doesn’t have the desired effect either.

          Don’t confuse the majority of homeless people for normal people who simply don’t have houses. Many of these people exist far outside societal norms and want it that way.

          Recommended Thumb up 5

      • Todd Hudson January 5, 2017 at 12:52 pm

        Folks in Lents who had to endure a homeless camp of several hundred people in their neighborhood have a perspective/experience that is authentic. The person to whom you are replying does not.

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        • Matt S. January 5, 2017 at 1:42 pm

          Doug may be lamenting on the fact that there appears to be two types of homeless individuals. People actively trying to get back on their feet. And two, people suffering from a mental illness of some sort. The former tend to keep their camps nice and neat, whereas the latter tend to be more prone to trash thrown about and a general disorganization of their camp. Of course, this is anecdotal considering I’ve come to this conclusion only through observation. For example, right before the fall weather hit, there were camps along the east side of the Broadway bridge. These were clearly people struggling with their mental cognition. Trash and garbage piles everywhere, broken tents, beer cans and bottles. This camp didn’t appear to represent individuals trying to get back on their feet. It appeared to represent mental illness—drug and alcohol dependence. I know these are the people that need the help the most, but how do you reach them without forced lock up in order to sober up?

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          • Dan January 5, 2017 at 3:07 pm

            Ya spend a shitload of money, hire a shitload of LCSW’s, and issue a shitload of rent vouchers. At least, that’s what the VA does with the HUD-VASH program. Still not 100% effective, but they have had pretty good success in getting people off the streets. Not joking about the shitload of money though. HUD-VASH is ungodly expensive, and that’s with it only serving a small, specific fraction of the homeless population.

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    • rainbike January 5, 2017 at 12:35 pm

      Wilderness areas? What’s the nearest one, Salmon-Huckleberry?

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      • Chris I January 5, 2017 at 2:08 pm

        They’re going to have trouble complying with the no mountain biking policy…

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        • rainbike January 5, 2017 at 2:35 pm

          And Leave No Trace principles.

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  • Spiffy January 5, 2017 at 11:58 am

    the contact phone number on the front page is 503-912-8891…

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  • Matt S. January 5, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    Solutions needed to help mitigate camping along trail:

    +Neighborhood engagement
    +Increased Police enforcement and outreach
    +Physically build up the environment to restrict camping: large boulders, trees, bright light fixtures, gravel, public art, fences, playgrounds, picnic tables, etc.. Make it physically impossible to camp.

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    • Spiffy January 5, 2017 at 12:12 pm

      if they leave no place to camp then they also leave no place to picnic… I don’t just want a strip of pavement through town, I also want green space off the trail to take a break and take in the scenery…

      as to physical barriers: trees are good to camp under, picnic tables are good to sleep on, public art makes your camping more scenic, bright lights are blocked by tarps, gravel means your tent doesn’t get muddy…

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. January 5, 2017 at 12:13 pm

      Physically build up the environment to restrict camping: large boulders, trees, bright light fixtures, gravel, public art, fences, playgrounds, picnic tables, etc.. Make it physically impossible to camp.

      Those damn anti-camping boulders should be considered a humanitarian violation. People need to sleep somewhere; putting up barriers like this only hurts the most vulnerable people in our community. I agree outdoor camping isn’t the best solution to homelessness, but people are going to do it so long as we continue to fail to provide a roof over their heads – so you might as well accommodate it. Bathrooms and garbage facilities at a minimum.

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      • Matt S. January 5, 2017 at 12:30 pm

        I agree, the best solution is to have robust affordable housing and accessible social services. But you also have to protect your parks and make them enjoyable for the tax payers or you’ll get voted out as we see happening in our city Government.

        I think we all agree the solution to the homeless issue is multipronged. Neighborhood associations, Police, city Government, volunteers, and developers.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 2:14 pm

          And money.

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      • mran1984 January 5, 2017 at 1:52 pm

        Time for YOU to backup your feelings with a large check. C, G, or A, nobody rides for free. Your take on issues like this is exactly why Trump was elected. Free garbage service? Well, let’s just take our trash to the closest “greenway” and have it picked up at for “free”. Too many people.

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        • Andy January 5, 2017 at 5:41 pm

          “…exactly why trump got elected”? Oh, please… Can’t wait to hear your other interesting ideas about the election…

          What evidence do you have to support the fact that Adam et al. don’t practice what they preach? How do you know they don’t support more equitable and livable communities financially or otherwise? Why are you inclined to doubt and degrade them like that?

          Most of us aren’t rich so backing up things with a “large check” is out of the question. But we make moves to support poor and working class people however we can, whenever we can… Maybe YOU should re-evaluate who your perceived enemies are…I don’t think you will find them here.

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        • wsbob January 5, 2017 at 6:39 pm

          Things that are euphemistically referred to as ‘entitlements’. Repubs don’t like many of them, and the big man stepping into office on the 20th probably considers them to be a dead-weight on america’s drive towards becoming great again. But I suppose once that happens, there will be jobs for all those people that are now homeless and living along the urban woodland trails.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. January 6, 2017 at 9:29 am

          Time for YOU to backup your feelings with a large check

          I’m still waiting for a proposal from our elected officials to increase my taxes to pay for homeless services. I’d gladly pay. In the mean time, I donate to a local homeless service center.

          Recommended Thumb up 3

      • Stephen Keller January 5, 2017 at 2:23 pm

        One of the problems with campers in public spaces is that after a day or so, they forget those spaces are public and start to treat them as personal property. While I don’t mind the overnight camping, I do mind the misappropriation of public spaces as private spaces.

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        • KTaylor January 6, 2017 at 4:10 pm

          Well said, Stephen – that is the issue. Letting someone take over public space for long-term personal use is what causes the threat and degradation that makes people afraid of having a bike path built through their community. I grew up in Portland and I don’t remember seeing homeless people with so much stuff until after Occupy. As a rule, they were pretty mobile – very few permanent squats or encampments on public property. Most people had a shopping cart or some other pack – there were a lot of them, but they traveled light.

          I just watched a major encampment spring up under the Morrison Bridge (again). Within 2 weeks, it went from one tent to full on Mad Max with six tents, piles of bikes and scrap metal, piles of wood scrap and PVC, old furniture, rugs, tarps, clothing hanging on the fences, piles of blankets and pillows — loads of flammables with campfires blazing perilously close to them. Space for cars to travel is kept scrupulously clear – likely because the campers know blocking traffic is the one thing that would get our laissez-faire city government to push them out. There’s just no reason to allow anyone to do that to public space, no matter what their reason is for being homeless. Especially when the City mobilizes within a week to clear away a crosswalk painted in the road by neighbors frustrated with speeding traffic.

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      • Middle of the Road Guy January 5, 2017 at 3:15 pm

        Of course they are supposed to hurt – so you can’t lie down.

        But those are placed only in certain areas. Perhaps the goal is to guide people to areas where they can be better accommodated, rather than sleep anywhere and impact everyone else.

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    • bikeninja January 5, 2017 at 3:58 pm

      Stock the area with Grizzlys, and Mountain Lions

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      • q'Tzal January 5, 2017 at 9:41 pm

        You were supposed to say “lions and tigers and bears”.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 11:44 pm

          Oh my!

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  • dwk January 5, 2017 at 12:06 pm

    Thanks Charlie.
    Your legacy will continue for years…..

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    • rick January 5, 2017 at 12:43 pm

      Well, in the 1990s, he did campaign to end the construction of “Snot houses” in Portland which are the kind where the garage door sticks out as if the place is an auto repair shop.

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      • J_R January 5, 2017 at 12:54 pm

        I think that’s “snout” as in the snout of a pig. Snot works, too.

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  • Ray January 5, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    Wish they would at least finish the Fairview Gresham trail Aka fresham

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  • B. Carfree January 5, 2017 at 12:37 pm

    Twenty-odd years ago, a former student of mine moved to Atlanta for grad. school. In his spare time, he got involved with trying to get a bike path put in. The neighbors were concerned about its impact on property values, so he reached out to me for any information I might have. As luck would have it, I played basketball with the head of planning in Davis who had conducted a study that showed that a bike path increased adjacent property values by about $100k (average house cost about $250-350k, although above-average value homes were generally sited near the newer paths, but we’re talking about significant value added).

    Fast-forward to our current situation with depression-level homelessness in many west coast cities, and I don’t think a bike path adds monetary value to a nearby house, although it might add quality of life value depending on the location of the nearest camp.

    In spite of this, I feel very strongly that we should build as many bike paths as we can. If we can get a less incomplete network up, perhaps we can generate adequate support to deal with the homelessness problem that plagues our communities.

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  • rick January 5, 2017 at 12:38 pm

    Irvington and Ladd’s Addition need rezoning. Those neighborhoods with lots of transit, sidewalks, grocery stores, and nearby closed school (Washington High School), need the housing. More jobs. More housing.

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  • rick January 5, 2017 at 12:41 pm

    What about the horrible traffic crime that has taken place on deadly TV Highway, Barbur Blvd, hit-and-runs, and street racing? What about the people who stopped traffic on the Fremont Bridge just to have a street race with cars?

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    • Spiffy January 5, 2017 at 3:02 pm

      we alrady have advocacy groups working on that…

      activists generally specialize in their activism… so those concerned about crime on an unbuilt MUP may not care to protest car culture…

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    • Middle of the Road Guy January 5, 2017 at 3:16 pm

      What about those people who closed down Burnside to traffic when they were protesting the election?

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. January 5, 2017 at 3:52 pm

        Last I checked, the First Amendment was still a thing.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 4:27 pm

          Freedom to speak your mind is not the same as freedom to interfere with other people traveling. I’m all for protesting, even shutting down the street when conditions warrant, but that is not an action covered by the 1st Amendment.

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          • Medium Dave January 5, 2017 at 5:26 pm

            Which amendment talks about the “freedom from interference while travelling” thing again?

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 5:58 pm

              It’s my inalienable right to move about as I wish (to the extent that I do not interfere with the rights of others).

              The constitution limits the power of the government; it does not place limits on the actions of individuals.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. January 5, 2017 at 6:22 pm

                In that case, you’d better call up your senator every time you get stuck in traffic caused by everyone driving home at the same time.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 6:56 pm

                Yes, that’s exactly the same thing.

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. January 5, 2017 at 10:23 pm

                But aren’t all those other drivers still infringing on your right to travel? What’s the difference?

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 11:54 pm

                No more than they are kidnapping me.

                Look, if you really believe you have a constitutional right to block traffic, go do it, get arrested, then sue the police for infringing your civil rights. The only problem will be deciding what to do with all the money you’ll get.

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              • Kyle Banerjee January 6, 2017 at 9:36 am

                @Adam, given your position that intentionally blocking the movement of traffic is a civil liberty, what’s your position on all those signs and signals interfering with the free flow of traffic?

                Seems like the issue gets even thornier when the signals impact cycle paths which are not even technically part of the roadway….

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. January 6, 2017 at 9:41 am

                Not sure how you are equating traffic signals with political protests. Traffic signals are intended as a safety device.

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              • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 3:36 pm

                no Kitty, you do not have the right to drive as you wish… that gets stated here often…

                people aren’t blocking traffic, people ARE traffic… protesters never block traffic, but they often block motor vehicles… those drivers are free to move past the protesters, they’re just not able to take their giant form of conveyance with them…

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 4:32 pm

                You may be right; there’s probably a far reaching conspiracy by the police and court system to deprive you of your god-given constitutional right to walk 10 abreast on the highway. Maybe call the ACLU?

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        • Middle of the Road guy January 6, 2017 at 12:38 pm

          Go yell fire in a theater and tell me how that works out.

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      • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 3:32 pm

        they didn’t stop traffic, they WERE traffic…

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  • Redhippie January 5, 2017 at 12:49 pm

    The camping on the greenways is just a symptom. The city needs to address the homeless problem. Providing a place to warehouse and provide social services to them is a start. Criminalize meth and herion possession and prosecute those that won’t go into the drug and alcohol free shelters. Carrot and stick.

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    • Spiffy January 5, 2017 at 3:05 pm

      “Criminalize meth and herion possession”

      pretty sure that’s already illegal…

      and shelters only letting in sober people is a serious issue that needs to be resolved… people should be allowed shelter regardless of genetic discrimination (testing of bodily fluids)…

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 4:01 pm

        I totally see why most shelters restrict use to sober people… those who need shelter for the night shouldn’t have to deal with drunks and people strung out on meth. Nor, for that matter, should staff. The situation sucks enough as it is.

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        • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 8:13 am

          easier to deal with the frozen body in the morning…

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  • Todd Hudson January 5, 2017 at 12:55 pm

    After someone was sexually assaulted on the SWC last year (who was later found camping on the Portland section), Gresham e̶v̶i̶c̶t̶e̶d̶ 86ed the homeless from their part of the trail.

    Gresham/Troutdale can partly re-assure nearby homeowners by emphasizing they won’t ever attempt Charlie Hales’s policies.

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  • soren January 5, 2017 at 1:01 pm

    i am not a fan of the design choices in some of those alignments. for example, why would the roadway median be grade-separated when the bike facility is not? and why would a grade-separated buffer be placed to right of a bike lane? both the bike facility and path should be separated from motor vehicles, whenever possible.

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    • Chris I January 5, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Welcome to east Portland/Troutdale, where there is no such thing as a “bike lane”, just breakdown shoulders with painted bike symbols.

      Recommended Thumb up 8

      • Bart January 5, 2017 at 10:16 pm

        But it doesn’t have to stay that way. They’re taking input…

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  • mh January 5, 2017 at 1:06 pm

    Ignoring all the previous commentary, is this supposed to be for transportation or recreation? The answer would greatly influence which alignment I would prefer.

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    • Chris I January 5, 2017 at 2:15 pm

      Can it be both?

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    • Spiffy January 5, 2017 at 3:09 pm

      since every design includes a MUP this is for recreation…

      if every stage had a bike lane separate from the sidewalk then it’d be for transportation…

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      • soren January 5, 2017 at 3:19 pm

        imo, recreational bike paths should be separated from recreational pedestrian paths by paint at a minimum.

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        • B. Carfree January 6, 2017 at 1:51 pm

          An opinion clearly not shared by the people designing this thing. Just look at the illustration where their walking figures are taking up so much of the path that anyone who dared to pass them would be viewed as some sort of speeding monster.

          This thing is being designed for failure. If it ever got significant numbers of users, they would be fighting each other for space. It’s simply far too narrow unless the expectation is that almost no one will actually use it. We keep seeing this failure over and over in spite of regional goals that say we are going to dramatically increase walking and bike use.

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    • Scott Mizée January 7, 2017 at 5:59 am

      It’s both. In many cases one cannot separate the two.

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  • Jon January 5, 2017 at 1:24 pm

    Lower priced housing is only part of the problem. Due to globalism low skill labor is a commodity. If you don’t have training or education you are competing with labor that is willing to work for a few dollars per day. There are very few “living wage” jobs that somebody can get straight out of high school today like were available 30 or more years ago.
    If you are mentally ill, addicted to drugs and/or alcohol it is hard to even hold a minimum wage job. Unless we as a country are willing to pay a lot more for imported goods by taxing imports heavily low skill jobs are going to go to low wage regions like Africa and parts of SE Asia.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 2:19 pm

      Fast forward 20 years, and think about what sorts of jobs will have disappeared, and which ones will have been created. I think we’ll find that a good 50% our population will essentially be unemployable.

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      • soren January 5, 2017 at 2:47 pm

        the lazy millennials need to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and become more competitive with robots.

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        • Matt S. January 5, 2017 at 3:20 pm

          Buy a robot to create art and music that you can sell.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 11:59 pm

            I say sell the millennials!

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    • Spiffy January 5, 2017 at 3:11 pm

      “Unless we as a country are willing to pay a lot more for imported goods by taxing imports heavily low skill jobs are going to go to low wage regions like Africa and parts of SE Asia.”

      Trump is supposed to fix that trade imbalance…

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      • X January 6, 2017 at 6:32 am

        Label that comment?

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    • Cory P January 5, 2017 at 4:08 pm

      So we need jobs for people with low skills and we have thousands of homeless with mental and addiction problems? Let’s pay the lower skilled people to work closely with the homeless people so they can both benefit.

      ( Note: I am not suggesting that they would replace case workers or counsellors. More like life assistants to help them get on their feet. )

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      • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 8:19 am

        we already use low-skilled labor to care for vulnerable people and it results in a lot of abuse… we’d need a lot of checks in the system to ensure things were run properly…

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      • Matt S. January 6, 2017 at 11:27 am

        I knew of people with low skills in my home town that worked closely with the addicts, they were called drug dealers.

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  • Kirsty January 5, 2017 at 1:30 pm

    It’s a complex issue.

    But the one thing I see in common with many of the areas the homeless are camping in is a history of poor planning. They tend to congregate around areas that were the bane of 1960s planning and planners smitten with the novelties of concrete, with “vegetation” for decoration. Think concrete freeway flyovers, with steep banks of brambles underneath, etc.

    I am a firm believer in the concept of CPTED – Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design. If we design our urban spaces better, they don’t invite so much criminal misuse.

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    • Matt S. January 5, 2017 at 2:01 pm

      That is what I am trying to convey with my “build up the physical environment” comment found above.

      I think you can make a nice scenic nature area where you can wonder through a path flanked by human-built environmental structures that promote all types of engagement with said structures.

      **Think**
      +Bouldering field for local climbers
      +An arbor like the one found by the zoo
      +Hilly terrain
      +Raised paths
      +Play grounds and swing sets
      +Mountain bike skills area
      +Fountains and ponds
      +Light fixtures designed where they can’t be climbed or bulbs covered
      +Water misting areas operating at night to deter people from sleeping in what generally would be desirable places to sleep
      +Aesthetically pleasing fencing
      +Rose bushes
      +Maybe even play loud classical music at night through bull-horns
      +Put up cameras open to the public via smartphones 24/7 with an integrated app to dispatch warnings of inappropriate behavior to the police
      +Exercise bars, i.e., chin-up and parallel bars
      +Public Gardens
      +Solar panels
      +Bioswells

      Function and form to deter camping

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      • SE Rider January 5, 2017 at 4:51 pm

        This stuff is all great for contained parks. But for a linear path like this (4 miles?) it would be incredibly expensive.

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        • Matt S. January 6, 2017 at 11:30 am

          But maybe worth it if the city doesn’t every have to deal with camps. Wouldn’t it be nice if the Springwater corridor had 40 years of no one camping along the path.

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        • Kirsty January 7, 2017 at 9:14 am

          CPTED doesn’t just mean putting pretty little ironcast lamposts every 200 feet for 4 miles. It can be about landscaping. How many trees to have, or not have. Should there be shrubbery? (Answer: probably not on a linear trail, it seems to encourage camping, etc.

          Whilst some aspects of good design are invariably going to be more expensive, I personally believe the tradeoff down the line to be more than worth it.

          We are STILL paying half a century later for the urban blight caused by Robert Moses’ freeway decimation here in Portland, and we have the multitude of homeless camps along, under, and adjacent to I-84 to prove it.

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    • rick January 5, 2017 at 2:16 pm

      So strip clubs should be banned, right? The clubs on Barbur Blvd and TV Highway / Canyon Road are eyesores from the road.

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      • Matt S. January 5, 2017 at 2:25 pm

        You know how you get rid of things like this, community members protest non-stop until you drive the business away. My home town did this to the one and only strip club to ever exist in that town.

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      • Spiffy January 5, 2017 at 3:21 pm

        wait, if I say yes to banning strip clubs does that mean more naked strippers displaced into the streets of Portland?

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    • Cory P January 5, 2017 at 4:11 pm

      Just make these areas into skateparks. The crime and camping will disappear.

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  • CaptainKarma January 5, 2017 at 2:35 pm

    What a brave new society. We must deter sleeping at all costs.

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    • BB January 5, 2017 at 2:45 pm

      Once again: This is not and never has been an issue of people just bedding down for the night.

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    • Matt S. January 5, 2017 at 3:21 pm

      Only where your children play.

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    • q'Tzal January 5, 2017 at 9:47 pm

      So … license coffee carts every 100 yards so all users are too caffinated to sit still let alone sleep.

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  • Jim Lee January 5, 2017 at 3:49 pm

    Great thread:

    Creative millennial robots living in snot houses!

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  • Jonathan Maus (Publisher and Editor) January 5, 2017 at 3:53 pm

    Sorry folks.. I just heard that I had outdated maps in the article. I’ve updated with the latest version…

    Click image for larger version to see the Troutdale and Gresham routes in detail. Or click here for original PDF.

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. January 5, 2017 at 3:57 pm

      Oh that’s right, I totally forget this article was about a bike path. 😛

      Recommended Thumb up 7

      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 5, 2017 at 11:56 pm

        That’s the problem: it’s about a campground with a bike trail down the middle.

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        • Matt S. January 6, 2017 at 11:31 am

          At least you have Internet access.

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          • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 3:27 pm

            so do many homeless people…

            they have discarded phones they recharge with publicly exposed power outlets and free wifi from lots of businesses…

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      • Mike Sanders January 9, 2017 at 1:47 pm

        I used to work at Mt. Hood Community College, retiring in 2010. During that time, Kane Road was widened between Powell and Stark to two lanes each way, plus the centerline left turn lane. Once widened, 18-wheelers began using Kane as a bypass between Powell (US-26) and I-84. They often charge at full speed past the MHCC main entryway on Kane. Tri-Met used to loop two bus lines thru the campus with a stop on the college grounds. Then they moved the bus stops in both directions onto Kane, claiming that this was needed to make bus schedules more reliable. This meant that Gresham bound buses stoppped (and still do) across the road from the MHCC entrance. Students and many staff people protested this, citing the fast moving traffic created after the road was widened (“modernized”). Someone will get hit trying to catch a Gresham bound bus by running against the stoplight, they said. (This has yet to happen. But odds are it will someday.)

        So a ped/bike path between Troutdale, MHCC, Gresham, and the Springwater Trail makes sense. The proposed bike route runs right thru the college grounds, starting at the north side entrance on Stark, then thru the parking lot to an extant path that runs between the Art Mall building and the main college center, goes over the dam next to the pond, goes up a short, steep hill to the gym, turns right then left, goes past the tennis court and swimming pool to the south parking lot and then returns to the street.

        This path, part of the “Loop 40” project first suggested by the Olmsteds in the early 1900’s, deserves to be completed. Finding ways to prevent the entire system from becoming a linear homeless camp, is a challenge we must solve. In NYC, they’ve been lodging them in hotels for the last decade, and the mayor wants to renew that for another decade. Is that the road to follow? Also, a reminder that the Springwater is on the Rails to Trails Conservancy’s national Hall of Fame list. So we’ve got a responsibility to find a way to keep it, and all our trails, homeless-camp-free. And it’s likely to become part of the Trans-America trail system in the next few years. Both good reasons to get this project going, sooner than later.

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    • rick January 5, 2017 at 4:57 pm

      The best trail here is the one best suited for bike commuting.

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  • MaxD January 5, 2017 at 4:16 pm

    People need safe places to sleep. People need help for mental illness and addiction. People need safe openspaces to experience nature and exercise. Charlie Hales made a dangerous and unfair trade off of public openspace for unregulated, shantytowns. This does not work for people who use those openspaces for recreation or transportation. IMO, it does not work for people who need temporary shelter or treatment for mental illness or addiction. Public openspaces are isolated, difficult to police, mostly far from services. It is expensive to service them with restrooms and trash service. It is a tremendous and unsustainable disservice to the civic life of Portland to allow our openspaces to be taken over with shantytowns (Halesvilles). There is public land available that is closer to services, easier to patrol, cleaner, safer, and more sheltered that could be used for interim shelter beds: parking garages.

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  • J_R January 5, 2017 at 4:17 pm

    Until there is a plan and commitment to maintaining the facilities and assuring reasonable security of users from 8-to-80, I’m not sure it’s worth planning for the construction of such facilities.

    The Springwater Corridor became so uninviting that I, a reasonably fit male, did not feel physically safe to ride it alone even during daylight hours in recent years. There was no way I’d let my children ride it to school, even though it was a good route for other reasons.

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    • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 8:23 am

      “Until there is a plan and commitment to maintaining the facilities and assuring reasonable security of users from 8-to-80, I’m not sure it’s worth planning for the construction of such facilities.”

      if we use that rule then we can’t build anymore roads…

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      • J_R January 6, 2017 at 9:20 am

        But we do have a dedicated fund for road maintenance, thousands of road maintenance workers, a police force who have been provided with cars, etc. etc. Except for a handful of city and county bike planners and a few parks maintenance personnel who sometimes pick up trash on MUPs in parks, we have virtually no dedicated funds or personnel for bicycle and pedestrian facilities, especially MUPs.

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        • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 3:25 pm

          MUPs don’t have nearly the traffic that other roads do… the Springwater was said to get an estimated 1,000,000 users per year (2700 per day)…

          I would expect that if twice as many people suddenly started using it that they’d have to increase funding for maintenance…

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  • Isabella Taylorz January 5, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Maybe I can teach a yoga class on the new trail!

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  • eddie January 5, 2017 at 7:59 pm

    Why don’t bike cops cruise through the SWC just as part of their “beat”? I’m not a big fan of five o, having been subjected to my share of harassment, but I don’t get why they don’t send some cops up and down the corridors – on bike not ATV – to keep down the drama and make sure people who might need services are aware of them. Not to harass or clear out or search campsites or bust people, just to check in from time to time. Seems simple enough to me…

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    • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 8:24 am

      we don’t have enough police for even the basic patrols… getting resources for a path patrol sounds like a hard sell…

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  • Justin January 5, 2017 at 9:06 pm

    Sadly, I feel this site has become, I dunno, too ‘holier than thou’ to read anymore.

    Look, causes for personal problems are complicated, but let’s stop pushing every excuse in hopes that we never hear the term ‘self responsiblity’. Some people are just selfish, care nothing for anyone but/even themselves, vile, opportunistic takers and cradling them and defending them relentlessly on blog posts is not going to make the world a better place.

    When a girl gets raped on the Springwater in a area known to be a dense with problem behavior (whether or not the perpetrator was homeless, or as we strain to call urban camping or something; why is it offensive to say shelterless anyway?), it is time to clean the area up. Yes, I understand that doesn’t solve all problems, but the alternative of just letting the area fester is not the solution. Same goes for when a woman gets hit in the face with a rock and robbed on the bike trail in north portland.

    Just because root causes are complicated does not make all behaviors OK. I’m tired of Adam feeling that it is more important that we don’t give a hint of holding anyone accountable than it is that community action is taken to reduce chances of a young girl getting raped on a bike trail.

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    • Justin January 5, 2017 at 10:21 pm

      …Adam raises good points on a lot of things, not meant to be a personal attack, just a point of disagreement.

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    • Todd Hudson January 6, 2017 at 7:52 am

      Adam spends a lot of time here stirring the pot. It’s best to not respond, because that’s what he wants.

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. January 6, 2017 at 12:05 pm

        Better to stir the pot than to leave it alone and let the food get stuck to the bottom. 😉

        Recommended Thumb up 5

        • Matt S. January 6, 2017 at 12:53 pm

          Plus, we all know that BP fills the need for pseudo-intellectual argument for the sake of argument. Takes us back to our Liberal Arts college days (at least for me). And from other forums that I’ve read, BP’s comment section is the finest. People cite their sources, debate politely, and don’t really ever denigrate one another. We should all pat ourselves on the back. Really, we should.

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    • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 8:27 am

      Adam never said we shouldn’t hold people responsible…

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. January 6, 2017 at 9:22 am

        In cases of violent crimes, we should absolutely hold the individual responsible, without holding all houseless people collectively responsible.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 10:17 am

          Yes, thank you. Individuals are responsible for their misdeeds; other members of the same demographic group are not responsible. This is exactly what I’ve been arguing for in other topics, and this is the first time I’ve heard you acknowledge that point of view as valid.

          And yes, I agree that argument applies to this case as well. One homeless person holds no culpability for the misdeeds of another, and should not be treated as if they do.

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    • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 8:30 am

      but in this case there’s nothing to clean up… there’s no rape or assault… just fear of houseless people… this is a theoretical trail with a theoretical problem… this is about unrealized fear… this is about NIMBYism…

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      • Hello, Kitty
        Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 10:07 am

        Just as NIMBY than those who fought the coal terminal. Selfish bastards.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. January 6, 2017 at 10:09 am

          Yes, because people living outside and a storage facility for a fuel that contributes to climate change and causes respiratory disease are the exact same thing…

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 10:28 am

            So someone is only a NIMBY if they disagree with you? I guess that’s the great thing about dismissive insults — they don’t require any rigor, and serve only to communicate that you don’t care what other people think, that their viewpoint is without value.

            Anyone who has seen the state of the Springwater could be forgiven for not wanting more of that near their house or apartment. For the record, I am in favor of building the trail, but I won’t dismiss the concerns of those who will live with the consequences because they are inconvenient.

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            • BB January 6, 2017 at 4:02 pm

              Isn’t it hard when you’re faced with the fact that reality has a liberal bias?

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        • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 3:00 pm

          people complaining about their personal property being more important than society are NIMBY, people complaining about killing the earth are not…

          it’s not a matter of whether you disagree with somebody or not… facts don’t care about people’s opinions…

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    • soren January 6, 2017 at 8:55 am

      “When a girl gets raped on the Springwater…”

      Your strawman is offensive. I have never seen anyone defend rape here. And I have never seen anyone suggest that aggressive action should not be taken to identify and prosecute rapists.

      “Same goes for when a woman gets hit in the face with a rock and robbed on the bike trail in north portland.”

      If you are referring to the incident that was reported on BP a few months ago no one was robbed and there was no evidence that they were hit with a rock. However, plenty of BP commentators assumed and/or suggested that a houseless person caused this crash without evidence. As I recall even Jonathan has to issues a correction. IMO, this was a classic example of implicit bias against the houseless.

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      • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 3:19 pm

        and when somebody is raped they don’t talk about never building that type of thing again… plenty of people raped in motels and cars but we still keep building them…

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    • Adam H.
      Adam H. January 6, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Yes, I never said it needs to be all or nothing. People deserve to be able to sleep outside without being harassed by police or constantly displaced. People also deserve to use our transportation and recreation facilities without fear of being attacked. And, if someone is attacked, we need to address the issue without holding all houseless people collectively accountable. I don’t know what the perfect solution to this is, but I do know that there seems to be far fewer people speaking for the houseless communities in these cases, hence why I speak up.

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      • MaxD January 6, 2017 at 10:14 am

        And citizens of a dense city deserve to have well-maintained, safe,clean recreation spaces to exercise and be outdoors. Have calm pleasant parks is hugely importatn to the success of urban living. I am compassionate to the plight of homeless people, but trading our openspaces for shantytowns should not be an option. That is failure on every level. This problem requires multi-facteed and bold solutions, but I really hope will strongly defend our parks. Irealize this appears to be a tradeoff between leisure and shelter, but I think that is a false dichotomy. We need our parks and our green spaces, and everyone needs shelter, so where we find/allow shelter? Lets start with underused public spaces like parking garages. Lets prioritize people over cars. Losing our parks is a classic tragedy of commons

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. January 6, 2017 at 10:21 am

          I would fully support turning parking garages or golf courses into homeless facilities. Unfortunately, PBOT thinks it’s more important to use parking garages to store cars, as they are taking $25M from the PDC to renovate one. Golf courses are a good choice, though. Who even golfs anymore, and why do we need so many facilities taking up so much land for a dwindling sport that has a high cost barrier to entry?

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          • Brian January 6, 2017 at 10:35 am

            I’ve proposed this before- church parking lots.

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          • dwk January 6, 2017 at 10:36 am

            It is nice that you consider yourself the arbiter for who can use our public lands.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. January 6, 2017 at 3:17 pm

              I am proposing a solution. It does not make me the ultimate authority on what gets done.

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      • dwk January 6, 2017 at 10:18 am

        People deserve to be able to sleep outside on their own property if they like or on property where they are given permission. For instance, they can sleep in your yard if you allow it. Do you?

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      • dwk January 6, 2017 at 10:22 am

        Alos, since it is 15 degrees outside, I am sure they appreciate your compassion for them…..

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. January 6, 2017 at 10:25 am

          How about I make a donation in your name to a homeless shelter every time you make a snarky comment about my compassion?

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 10:31 am

            I worked at a shelter over the holidays… that should buy me at least 3 snarky comments.

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            • Adam H.
              Adam H. January 6, 2017 at 3:19 pm

              You should get at least 5 for that. I like this game.

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        • Adam H.
          Adam H. January 6, 2017 at 11:01 am

          Here ya go: https://imgur.com/gallery/42x3l

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  • K-ken January 5, 2017 at 9:10 pm

    This new connection shouldn’t be about homelessness. It’s about completing the 40 mile loop.
    The jist of the current meetings is about where to put an effective link between Troutdale and the Springwater Corridor Trail.
    FYI, it will take 20 plus years to line up the funds and actually build this trail. By then the homeless problem will not be the same as it exists today. Most of the folks that live in this area will likely not even live there anymore. Let’s not loose focus on the problem at hand and help Metro make a decision about a viable connection. Check out the map with the proposed routes and help choose one.

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    • Kyle Banerjee January 6, 2017 at 6:28 am

      K-ken
      This new connection shouldn’t be about homelessness. It’s about completing the 40 mile loop.

      Agreed.

      It seems every time there is a proposal to expand a trail or even public transit, this issue is raised. While such projects affect peoples’ ability to move, the connection with homelessless or vagrancy is usually grossly exaggerated.

      This being Portland, I would expect at least some issues. However, if it is managed properly, I don’t think this will be a big deal. For example, the Willamette Greenway and Willamette Park have been fine even though especially the park would be well suited for what is euphemistically referred to as camping.

      Paths should be built where they are helpful, and problems should be addressed as they arise.

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      • Matt S. January 6, 2017 at 11:39 am

        Maybe this demonstrates how much homelessness impacts the city or when you begin to take notice, you recognize that it’s everywhere.

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  • Brian January 6, 2017 at 7:52 am

    I used this in my class yesterday and think it is worth a watch. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4uaIKO7lJY0&t=2245s

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    • Brian January 6, 2017 at 10:36 am

      Even if you don’t have time for the entire vid, just start it and take in 10 min or so.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 10:48 am

      It’s a good video. Thanks for posting it.

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      • Brian January 6, 2017 at 10:52 am

        My pleasure. We are doing an unit titled “Giving Voice to the Voiceless,” through the lens of homelessness in Portland.

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  • resopmok January 6, 2017 at 8:20 am

    Multi-use paths are, by any definition given before the 20th century, roads. People tend to live along roads because, as the Romans proved, they are a very efficient means for transporting cargo with a wheel. The problem of having homeless people live along roads which we want uninhabited is not the fault of the road or of the homeless, but by our continued allowance of homelessness as a society.

    We should be setting aside a considerable portion of tax money to fund humane housing and rehabilitation programs, and look into more permanent solutions for that portion of the population which is truly unemployable. We should care for these people and try to understand how they need help, because no “cause” of homelessness is the same; it is as individual as the person themself.

    Of the anonymous opponents, I imagine some are property owners concerned about dealing with the crime and trash which has accompanied recent illegal campsites, and others probably just hate bicyclists. The first group should understand this is a temporary problem which can be solved and shouldn’t prevent us from building better infrastructure. The second group should be ignored.

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    • B. Carfree January 7, 2017 at 2:24 pm

      I’d love to see some of our linear park bike paths become bike roads with typical roadside things, like houses and perhaps even businesses.

      Forty-odd years ago, a friend of mine worked with students at UC Davis to build what became known as “The Domes”. These were small, simple geodesic domes that were divided into two halves with each half housing two students. This was, at the time, the cheapest student housing ever built on campus and remains a very desirable place to live in spite of the somewhat shoddy nature of the construction (poorly insulated, cramped, a now sub-code sleeping loft).

      Imagine a series of tiny houses built by the community as low-income housing spaced out along Springwater and other bike paths. Just such a proposal is being explored along the problematic bike paths of Eugene. There is city staff resistance that is blocking it, which has hampered fund-raising, but I believe it will happen within a few years. It checks lots of boxes, including housing people, putting eyes on the path and taking up space with something good that seems to otherwise be attracting shanties.

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  • resopmok January 6, 2017 at 8:28 am

    Also, I’d like to see the Gresham-Fairview trail connected to Marine Drive.. I’m guessing land ownership has provided challenges here.

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    • rick January 6, 2017 at 12:29 pm

      I thought bikeportland had a story or two about a trail that does connect those or of a future ODOT project?

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  • Lester Burnham January 6, 2017 at 8:42 am

    Bust just imagine the scenic colorful tarps, piles of bike parts, trash piles, and drug needles puncturing your tires! Sounds wonderful. Build it!

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    • Mike 2 January 6, 2017 at 11:56 am

      And make Mexico pay for it!

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      • CaptainKarma January 6, 2017 at 2:27 pm

        I find car dealers, freeways, fences, and fast food joints equally if not even more offensive. What a country, Lester.

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  • Ozman January 6, 2017 at 9:43 am

    Shelter’s expect a minimum level of cooperation in order for them to provide a bed for the night. In general, people who are drunk or high do not perform these levels of cooperation, thus make it much more difficult for the staff and organizations to fulfull their missions. Now saying they should change their rules, you are saying that those who are providing the downtrodden with shelter and help to improve their situation are inexperienced, and falling behind in their abilities, and should work harder, expend more capital, and put up with more incidents of harrasement, violence, and medical situations that caused them to institute the no drugs/alchohol policies to begin with.

    That is the essence of pretentiousness. You have no idea what you are talking about

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    • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 2:49 pm

      shelters are expecting too much… I never said to intermingle the mental people with the stable people… I simply said that shelters need to be able to house everybody, no matter their state of being…

      if the shelter can’t deal with them we end up paying way more for them to be at the ER…

      being drunk or having a mental problem should not be a death sentence…

      nobody should ever hear “sorry, we can’t let you in because you’re a loud drunk, good luck sleeping in 18° weather tonight!”… nobody… ever…

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  • Terry D-M January 6, 2017 at 10:46 am

    The upper 1℅ that have held incomes static since the advent of “trickle down economics” would love the infighting here. Let us pit the working poor against the houseless….Hence everyone fights over crumbs while the corperatist class does whatever they want.

    We are the richest country in the world that has developed one if the .
    MOST unequal forms of economic distribution. ….. Which will continue untill we come together. We have the resources to solve all of these problems if we get over all of the “pull yourselves up by your bootstraps” propaganda, stop the infighting and actually work together.

    Alas, most people prefer the in fighting, one group scared of another, scared to lose their own safety net…..All while the true problem stares down from the hill top laughing sipping port and eating truffles relaxing and watching the sunset over the unwashed masses…….

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 11:01 am

      I don’t see the working poor fighting against the homeless, and I certainly see no evidence this is orchestrated from port-sipping truffle-eating elites on high. I do think conservatives hold a fundamentally different world view than I do, but I don’t think that comes from a sense of “keeping other people down.” Generally, conservatives seem to want other people to succeed, but want them to do so without assistance, and hold them responsible for their failure to do so.

      What I do see is a general condemnation of bad behavior on the part of some of the homeless, much of which I believe is fueled by addiction and mental illness. The people who behave well seem to be tolerated and treated with compassion, at least by my neighbors and people with whom I have discussed the issue.

      Where I do see a problem is society’s general unwillingness to pay the cost of addressing the problem in any holistic sense.

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      • Matt S. January 6, 2017 at 11:42 am

        You mean, under the “allusion” of without assistance.

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      • Alex Reedin January 6, 2017 at 12:33 pm

        In Lents and Brentwood-Darlington over the Springwater debacle, there absolutely was some working poor/homeless political combat going on, because the wealthy and powerful elements of Portland had de facto outlawed camping in the areas where they live while allowing it in Lents and Brentwood-Darlington (poorer areas). The class element of the way Hales’ safe sleep policy was not lost on me.

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        • Alex Reedin January 6, 2017 at 12:35 pm

          *Correction: The class element of the way Hales’ safe sleep policy *was implemented* was not lost on me. The policy as written was fairly class-neutral among housed people, but what actually happened was that the protections of the policy were put into place in richer areas and completely ignored in poorer areas.

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          • Lester Burnham January 6, 2017 at 12:42 pm

            I see Hales being remembered as one of the absolute worst mayors in this city’s history.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 12:52 pm

              Only by those who have forgotten our history.

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          • Hello, Kitty
            Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 12:56 pm

            Alex Reedin, could you explain that point a little further? Are there camping areas as attractive to campers as the Springwater that are in richer areas where there has been a more consistent policy of pushing them out? This may be the case, but I just don’t know.

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            • soren January 6, 2017 at 1:14 pm

              Campers have been rapidly and aggressively swept out of park space and unused space in my neighborhood. There is a 2-6 month cycle of late.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 1:16 pm

                But they’re allowed to camp in parks in Lents?

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              • Alex Reedin January 6, 2017 at 1:38 pm

                Homeless folks were allowed to camp in parks in Lents and Brentwood-Darlington over the spring and summer – along the Springwater in Lents and Brentwood-Darlington, and adjoining natural areas (east to west – Beggars Tick, East Lents Floodplain, West Lents Floodplain). Certainly, the presence of the Clackamas Service Center along 82nd just south of the Springwater was one factor increasing the number of homeless folks in Lents and Brentwood-Darlington then, but the de facto complete lack of enforcement while enforcement went on elsewhere was in my opinion the primary driver of the high concentration of homeless folks there.

                The most direct comparison is that, as I recall, there were many sweeps of homeless folks in parks and public land in and around downtown in the spring. Downtown has many social service locations, much more than Lents and Brentwood-Darlington. You didn’t see longstanding homeless camps in the Waterfront Park over the spring and summer – not because people didn’t try to camp there (they did, I saw them) but because they were displaced daily. A largish camp under I-5 on the southeast side of the Hawthorne Bridge was swept long before Lents and Brentwood-Darlington, as another example.

                Another comparison point is that about a dozen homeless folks in Laurelhurst Park were moved along in weeks over the summer, versus hundreds of homeless folks in Lents and Brentwood-Darlington being allowed to stay for months.

                Based on what I saw, there was a very definite class bias to the choice of locations where Hales’ policy was actually enforced, and the locations where it was used as an excuse by the City (I would guess the decision was made by PPB, but not sure) to do essentially zero enforcement.

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              • Alex Reedin January 6, 2017 at 1:54 pm

                And as a footnote – social service providers (of course) tend to locate themselves in poorer areas. The concentration of homeless folks near social service providers (and thus disproportionately in poorer areas, and obviously, visibly, and much more likely to be obnoxiously so, if camping is de facto legalized) should have been considered better in Hales’ policymaking, even if the policy had actually been implemented uniformly (which it most definitely was not).

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 2:01 pm

                It’s true that Portland has always freaked out disproportionately about certain activities downtown. There are quite a number of homeless camped out in neighborhoods like Buckman and HAND, which do have many wealthier residents (and many poor ones as well, who face similar gentrification pressure as poor residents in other neighborhoods).

                If parks in Lents and BD are being given over to the homeless, and not elsewhere, I would agree that it appears biased, unless there were other factors at work that we are not considering.

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              • Alex Reedin January 6, 2017 at 2:08 pm

                Not anymore – I see no more lengthy, visible homelessness in Lents and BD than I see near downtown since the policy change and displacement of homeless folks in Lents and BD in September. Still considerably more visible homelessness in Lents now than I ever see in Richmond, Foster-Powell, or Montavilla (all of which I travel through regularly). The I-205 trail is just I think still more attractive for homeless folks/less enforced than neighborhood parks and Mount Tabor are.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 2:13 pm

                I agree the Springwater is inherently attractive. It is also not a park, so does not fall under the same rules and management as Mt. Tabor does. That could account for the different treatment.

                Richmond, in particular, hosts a relatively low homeless population, but I attribute that more to geography and opportunity than to any organized discriminatory policies.

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              • Matt S. January 6, 2017 at 2:16 pm

                Money and connections.

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              • Spiffy January 6, 2017 at 2:40 pm

                “I agree the Springwater is inherently attractive. It is also not a park, so does not fall under the same rules and management as Mt. Tabor does.”

                it’s a park just like every other one in Portland… and as such it should have the same enforcement rules and management as every other park…

                Springwater Corridor Park: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/finder/index.cfm?action=ViewPark&PropertyID=679

                Mt Tabor Park: http://www.portlandoregon.gov/parks/finder/index.cfm?action=ViewPark&PropertyID=275

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  • Alex Reedin January 6, 2017 at 2:26 pm

    The Springwater being less than a “park” is part of the problem. For me and my neighbors, it mostly serves the same functions (albeit in a more gritty way, since it mostly goes through industrial areas in Lents) as the biking and walking trails on Mount Tabor do. It is one of our parks in our minds, and we love it. The powers that be not respecting it as such is one of the reasons that most Lentils now feel quite estranged from City Hall and are likely to be unusually skeptical of pretty much anything the City proposes in our area.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 4:17 pm

      I hear you. The reason why the distinction between a park and a defacto park is that it may explain the policy differences in how they’re treated. I share the general sense of unhappiness with how the city has handled this issue; it shows a real failure of leadership. However, I don’t think it’s fair to accuse people of bias when there is no evidence, and when more benign and plausible explanations are available.

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      • Alex Reedin January 6, 2017 at 4:40 pm

        Didn’t we just establish that the enforcement was indeed biased in this instance? Whether that’s due to conscious bias in decisionmaker’s heads, or systemic/institutional bias, I do not know. I would guess that it is mostly the latter, but both to some extent. And, you will note that I never called any particular person or people biased – I called the actions that were taken biased. That is supported by evidence.

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      • Alex Reedin January 6, 2017 at 4:51 pm

        I would invite you to spend some significant time in East Portland and learning about the history before deciding whether to assume non-bias rather than bias. My perspective changed fairly dramatically from “Oh yeah, East Portland is pretty poor, man that sucks” to “Oh wow, this is not an accident, this is a direct result of public policy” when I moved to East Portland and started digging deeper.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 6, 2017 at 4:59 pm

          And it is unrelated to it’s relatively recent annexation?

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          • Alex Reedin January 7, 2017 at 2:36 pm

            Well, the Ur-cause is the horrible suburban/urban planning policies that Multnomah County used in unincorporated areas decades ago. But the City of Portland carries a lot of blame now. It has been three decades or more since the bulk of East Portland was annexed. If a large city can be built from small Indian settlements in 170 years, surely sidewalk infill on a few dozen miles of arterials could have occurred in 30 years. Yet it did not.

            If City policies had the best interest of East Portland in mind, surely significant progress towards high-quality transportation infrastructure would have been happened before zoning for more densification in East Portland, yet transportation progress mostly did not happen, while the zoning was changed for densification. Surely East Portland would not have had differential zoning policies put in place from Southwest Portland which has a similar built environment – yet the zoning policies that were put in place were much more density-focused in East Portland. Surely parks would have been developed in those 30 years, yet they mostly have not been. The results speak for themselves, in my mind.

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            • Alex Reedin January 7, 2017 at 3:06 pm
            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 7, 2017 at 7:48 pm

              Ur cause… excellent! I agree that E Portland has suffered neglect. I imagine that it took a while for Portlanders to really accept that E Portland was a real part of the city, and even then it has not received all the street infrastructure it needs.

              As I recall, the main impetus for annexation was water and sewer services. I assume, but don’t really know, that that infrastructure was built, and serves the area well.

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              • SE Rider January 9, 2017 at 8:34 am

                The real reason for annexation was increasing the tax base.

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      • SE Rider January 9, 2017 at 8:32 am

        Springwater trail IS a park, not a “de facto” park. Spiffy points that out above.

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  • Al M January 7, 2017 at 12:05 pm

    The fact that the homeless problem exists at all if proof of the moral bankruptcy of our culture

    The further fact that in the neoliberal capital of the world so many people couldn’t care less about there fellow human beings is proof that the Trump phenomenon is not so outside of the mainstream as our fake mainstream media would have us believe

    People hate each other. Here in Portland it’s hatred and contempt for the poor

    Woe is us as a nation

    Who knows where the bottom will be of our barbaric society

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 7, 2017 at 11:12 pm

      “Society” has no agency. Do you believe that some/most/all of the people in our society are morally bankrupt, or only that there are some problems that our leaders haven’t figured out how to solve?

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  • Beth H January 7, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    Yet another article about homeless campers and the folks who fear them.
    Still no concrete solutions being put into practice.
    The lack fo compassion here is not limited to the homeless or owrking poor alone.
    And the worst is yet to come.
    Is the ACA is dismantled and Medicare goes on the ropes we will see a lot more desolation and homelessness and a lot less compassion, as anyone who isn’t independently wealthy scrambles to hang onto what little they can. Without any way to stop this steamrolling by the rich of everyone else we’re headed for a future where many of those commenting here (from the relative security of a warm, dry shelter) could well be fighting for real estate in a local park.
    Stop attacking the poor and start fighting the filthy rich instead.

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 7, 2017 at 11:17 pm

      “The rich” aren’t the problem, though they do make a nice scapegoat. Why not blame those who keep choosing leaders who are unable or unwilling to solve the problems you prioritize? (I don’t mean that to suggest your priorities are wrong, only that they might differ from those of others.)

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      • Adam H.
        Adam H. January 8, 2017 at 2:09 am

        The rich are the problem. We live in a neoliberal society where one essentially gets more votes the more money they have. The rich want to stay rich and they do everything in their power to stay that way — to hell with everyone else.

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        • Granpa January 8, 2017 at 8:48 am

          The Rich? would that be the rich like Bill Gates who personally spends millions of dollars to eliminate malaria? or the rich like the Koch brothers who spend to disseminate lies about climate change. I suspect your definition of “the rich” are any family who make enough money that they can miss a pay check and not be cast into homelessness. Damning an entire group of people who work hard, play by the rules and want nice things, like clean parks, is a prejudicial generalization that is simple and closed minded.

          I have felt the cool flush of plasma as it enters my veins to replace the red cells i sold when I lived in a van. i have been there, and i think the saccharine, syrupy utopian benevolence expressed in your “eat the rich” proclamation is wrong thinking. but of course I am rich and to hell with everybody else (I say with sarcasm)

          The article that prompted this lengthly thread was that neighbors saw the Springwater Trail trashed by the homeless, some of whom were criminals, and they don’t want that type of trail in their neighborhood. Their concern is totally valid. The proposed trail through far east Portland, exclusive enclave of the rich, (again sarcasm) would be a wonderful addition to transportation and recreational cycling, but homeless people behaving like slobs, demonstrated that we can’t have nice public spaces, so infrastructure for the common good is in jeopardy.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 8, 2017 at 10:51 am

          Could you flesh out the idea that the rich get more votes? Even if that were true, there’s not very many of them, so they could easily be overwhelmed by the teeming hordes…

          Those who don’t vote get zero votes.

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          • Adam H.
            Adam H. January 8, 2017 at 6:26 pm

            The more money one has, the more one gets to influence politics. The existence of Bill Gates does not disprove this notion. Sure, there are plenty of wealthy people who donate to good causes. However, it is a serious problem when the super-rich are essentially siphoning out wealth from middle and lower classes, while simultaneously using their wealth to influence politics to ensure nothing changes. They will stop at nothing until every last service that the ruled-classes depend on is privatized and exploited for maximum profit while making damn well sure that the voting power of those being ruled over is diminished or downright destroyed.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 8, 2017 at 8:52 pm

              These rich people sure do sound evil. Personally, I feel very uncomfortable stereotyping entire demographics, especially using conspiratorial language (they’e siphoning all the wealth, they have too much influence in politics, etc.)

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              • Adam H.
                Adam H. January 8, 2017 at 9:21 pm

                Do you disagree with these statement? Also note that “rich people” does not include all wealthy individuals. When one says “the rich”, they do not mean literally every rich person on the face of the planet. Accusing others of generalizing is convenient way to shut down arguments, however.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 9, 2017 at 1:49 am

                >>> it is a serious problem when the super-rich are essentially siphoning out wealth from middle and lower classes, while simultaneously using their wealth to influence politics to ensure nothing changes. They will stop at nothing until every last service that the ruled-classes depend on is privatized and exploited for maximum profit while making damn well sure that the voting power of those being ruled over is diminished or downright destroyed. <<<

                Do I disagree with that statement? Absolutely.

                Is there a growing level of inequality in our society? Absolutely. Are there some individuals who use their wealth to influence politics? Of course. Are there some corporations who seek contracts to do work traditionally done by the government (such as running prisons, conducting certain roles in the military, etc.)? Without question. Are there people working to reduce access to the ballot to win elections? There are.

                It is the conspiratorial tone of your rhetoric that I object to.

                You've identified a number of trends that are disturbing, that I too want to see reversed. I'm not sure what the solution is, but blaming our country's ills on a specific demographic is dangerous. It's not "that group" at fault. This kind of thinking has not worked out well in history.

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      • soren January 8, 2017 at 11:35 am

        the money-driven speech of the corporate “citizens” that the rich own and/or invest in is a massive (possibly terminal) problem…at least if you value égalité et liberté, like i do.

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 8, 2017 at 12:05 pm

          Would government regulation of political speech, to ensure an even playing field, be preferable? Q

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          • soren January 8, 2017 at 4:41 pm

            of individuals, no. of corporations, most definitely.

            i even remember when the speech and assembly rights of our MIC media “citizens” were regulated (fairness doctrine and sherman anti-trust act). those days are long gone in our brave new post-fact world.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 8, 2017 at 5:32 pm

              I totally agree with the notion that corporations are “people”, probably to the same degree you do. But I am not at all sure that limiting corporate speech would level the playing field.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 8, 2017 at 9:01 pm

                Oops… Meant to say that the notion that corporations are people is ridiculous.

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    • dwk January 8, 2017 at 8:10 am

      43% of eligible voters did not vote. Most of them lower income.
      I am more angry at those people than the disgusting crowd that just won.
      Maybe we need to stop blaming the “wealthy” and look in the mirror….

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 8, 2017 at 12:59 pm

          Don’t conflate the “rich” with those on the right who see voter suppression as a valid tool for winning elections. Many people with money support liberal causes, and many, like Bill Gates, support doing good as a non-political act.

          Attempts at voter suppression should, if anything, be a call to arms to the would-be disenfranchised, and, in any case, do not explain the narrow margins of victory that gave Trump the White House. The fact is that many who could have voted chose not to. In the past that has included people across the political spectrum. This year, Trump was effective at motivating people in the “disenfranchised class” to go to the polls, whereas Hillary was not.

          The irony to me is that had the Republican primary been less democratic (Republican super-delegates, maybe?), Trump would almost certainly have lost the nomination.

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          • Alex Reedin January 8, 2017 at 1:08 pm

            I would guess that Soren posted that link more in order to problematize dwk’s implication that the low rate of voting in the U.S. is the result of pure choice, unsullied by anything political.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 8, 2017 at 1:18 pm

              Fair enough; But the fact still stands that many who could have voted did not. Not all were “suppressed”.

              Please do not read my comment as suggesting that voter suppression is not a serious issue; it is. I just don’t believe it fully explains the electoral results.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 8, 2017 at 1:22 pm

                To expand: There were a lot of small factors that, in themselves, did not tip the election: voter suppression, Russian meddling, Comey’s unethical actions… perhaps collectively the did make enough difference, but either way, a Democratic candidate that motivated more people to the polls would have been able to overcome this headwind.

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              • soren January 9, 2017 at 4:23 pm

                Enough may have been.

                https://www.americanprogress.org/issues/democracy/reports/2016/11/11/292322/voter-suppression-laws-cost-americans-their-voices-at-the-polls/

                States have gone on a spree restricting voting rights and voter access since 2010, when Republican-controlled state legislatures began passing voter ID laws and other provisions making it more difficult to vote.1 Once the Supreme Court gutted the Voting Rights Act in Shelby County v. Holder in 2013, even more states made it harder to vote in ways that were targeted at and fell disproportionately on people of color, young people, and low-income people. Even after major legal victories for voting rights this year—rulings that showed voter suppression tactics presented a grave danger and would prevent eligible Americans from casting their ballots—14 states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in a presidential election. These included cutting back early voting, restricting voter registration, and imposing strict voter ID requirements. It is difficult to say definitively how voter suppression laws affect voter participation and exactly how many citizens were prevented from voting. But one analysis in 2014 found a decline in voter participation of 2 percentage points to 3 percentage points that was attributable to changes in voter ID requirements.2

                https://www.thenation.com/article/the-gops-attack-on-voting-rights-was-the-most-under-covered-story-of-2016/

                

                Fourteen states had new voting restrictions in place for the first time in 2016—including crucial swing states like Wisconsin and Virginia—yet we heard nary a peep about it on Election Day except from outlets like The Nation. This was the biggest under-covered scandal of the 2016 campaign.

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        • dwk January 8, 2017 at 2:41 pm

          So you think voter suppression resulted in 43% of voters not voting?
          Even the most optimistic views hold that suppression may tip some close races at most.
          The sad truth is, the public is apathetic and fairly stupid.
          Thus, we get what we just got.
          Most all polling shows that on almost every issue, Clinton had overwhelming support. Obama has 57% approval!
          No amount of “jim crow” suppression can account for her loss.

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          • Alex Reedin January 8, 2017 at 3:18 pm

            I agree with most of what you said; but I disagree about voter suppression being only a small impact. I take voter suppression to be a much wider category than just the egregious examples coming up of late. If we take all the differences between a theoretical government policy basket that makes voting extremely convenient (Election Day a mandatory national holiday; essential workers given mandatory paid leave on another day when polling stations are open; free high-quality childcare and/or elder care provided to help people vote; anyone who doesn’t vote in person in a given election auto-enrolled for vote by mail in the next; new motor voter in all states plus same-day registration; free cab rides to polling places; enough polling places and staff provided that lines for voting are unheard of, etc.) and what we actually have, I’d say the impact is tremendous.

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            • dwk January 8, 2017 at 3:33 pm

              It cannot get much easier to vote than in California or Oregon.
              Both states get about 75% turnout which nationally is about tops.
              So “only” 25% don’t bother.

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              • Hello, Kitty
                Hello, Kitty January 8, 2017 at 3:37 pm

                Look at it this way: your vote counts extra.

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            • dwk January 8, 2017 at 3:36 pm

              The 75% number is for general elections. Oregon with vote by mail has a hard time getting close to 50% in off years.
              Do you think there is voter suppression in Oregon?

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              • Alex Reedin January 9, 2017 at 6:19 am

                Well, this past election is the first one where New Motor Voter has been in effect, so yes, I do think there has been voter suppression for every previous election. I also would guess there is more beyond New Motor Voter that Oregon could do to reach every voter – contracting with USPS for the list of people who moved, for one. Another would be cutting down on the list of elected offices that really don’t need to be elected because wading through all the junk on the ballot adds to the feeling of pointlessness for many people. The East and West Multnomah Soil and Water Conservation District Boards are thankless jobs that I’m very glad some people step up to do – but they should be appointed by the Multnomah County Council. (They should also be paid).

                And, if there are elected offices that are routinely uncontested, even in the primary, something is wrong. I don’t have an opinion about what should be done about elected judgeships, but I do think our current system is weird.

                Lastly, there should be in-person voting as well as mail-in voting. With the level of paper and information overload and time-poverty that many people have in their daily lives, it’s no wonder that a ballot gets lost in the shuffle sometimes. I am a political junkie who voted in every previous election, and I didn’t vote in the November 2015 or May 2016 elections (maybe 1 of the 2? I don:t recall to be honest) because we had two new young kids (think, infant twins) in the house and keeping track of and following up on a piece of paper was beyond my ken. I could and would have showed up to vote, especially if my employet had been required to pay me for a few hours’ leave to do it (or, the whole day, ideally)

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          • soren January 9, 2017 at 4:29 pm

            “So you think voter suppression resulted in 43% of voters not voting? ”

            No.

            Howeover, I do believe that voter suppression very significantly contributes to lower participation by low income individuals, people of color, and young people versus other demographics.

             In 2014, a study by Rice University and the University of Houston of Texas’s 23rd Congressional District found that 12.8 percent of registered voters who didn’t vote in the election cited lack of required photo ID as a reason they didn’t cast a ballot…

             On Election Day, there were 868 fewer polling places in states with a long history of voting discrimination, like Arizona, Texas, and North Carolina. These changes impacted hundreds of thousands of voters, yet received almost no coverage. In North Carolina, as my colleague Joan Walsh reported, black turnout decreased 16 percent during the first week of early voting because “in 40 heavily black counties, there were 158 fewer early polling places.”

            https://www.thenation.com/article/the-gops-attack-on-voting-rights-was-the-most-under-covered-story-of-2016/

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  • dwk January 9, 2017 at 7:00 am

    ” I also would guess there is more beyond New Motor Voter that Oregon could do to reach every voter – contracting with USPS for the list of people who moved, for one.”

    Seriously? Who is paying for this? You don’t think we could spend money better?
    If you cannot bother to get a ballot, fill it out and either drop it or mail it, there is nothing more we can do.
    Oregon has made it as easy as possible.
    California basically has a month long voting period!
    No, this is on the people too stupid and lazy to even bother….

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    • Hello, Kitty
      Hello, Kitty January 9, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Maybe they just honestly don’t care. I think that’s a foolish attitude, but I know there are people out there that, well, don’t care.

      Personally, I would entertain a discussion about whether there should be a small fine ($25-$100 range) for not even sending a ballot in; I wouldn’t require it to be completed, just mailed.

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      • Alex Reedin January 9, 2017 at 10:55 am

        So you’re down with sticks to discourage non-voting, but not to discourage excessive driving? Why the difference?

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        • Hello, Kitty
          Hello, Kitty January 9, 2017 at 11:29 am

          Voting is like jury duty — participation is an obligation of citizenship. That doesn’t really apply to transportation mode choice.

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          • Alex Reedin January 9, 2017 at 5:33 pm

            I can see your line of thinking, but my opinions are the reverse. If we make it as convenient and easy as possible to vote, making choosing to vote a no-cost activity (note, we have not done this) and some people still don’t, I don’t want some of them voting (as they may not take the obligation seriously if forced). But if people are choosing to drive when they don’t have to, and inflicting pollution, fiscal costs, noise, children’s lack of independence, and an increased risk of death/maiming from crashes on the public at large, yes, I think we should make it more inconvenient and costly to drive in order to limit the costs society bears from excessive driving.

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            • Hello, Kitty
              Hello, Kitty January 9, 2017 at 5:44 pm

              Some days I agree with you on voting, some days I agree with me, so I totally see your point.

              If you want to impose costs on driving, then do it as a side-effect of an equal-or-greater improvement in the system. I don’t object to, say, reducing vehicle speed in exchange for safety, or removing a lane on a bridge so that we can run LRT there. What I do object to is people arguing it is too difficult to make transit better, so we’ll just make driving worse to coerce people to switch. That argument will lose, badly, anywhere outside of this forum, along calls for the other simplistic solutions that surface here regularly.

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              • Alex Reedin January 9, 2017 at 5:50 pm

                Welp, we agree, yay!

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    • Alex Reedin January 9, 2017 at 10:54 am

      Spend money better than substantially increasing voter turnout and, perhaps, engagement? It seems like it would be money well spent to me. Where are people supposed to learn that they have to re-register to vote every time they move? Where are people supposed to learn that they have to get a new sticker on their driver’s license when they move? I never learned either of those in civics class, and I’m white and English-speaking. And, moving is an extremely stressful and complicated process, I’m sure many people put re-registering on their mental list and then don’t follow up. If we want people to vote, why shouldn’t we ask our government to take some automated steps to make it more fool-proof? I bet it really would not be very expensive on a per-voter basis.

      I’m sorry, from personal experience, on the few occasions when I didn’t vote, it wasn’t because I was stupid or lazy, it was because my life was in turmoil from having recently acquired two young children and finding the time, energy, and organization to track down my ballot and fill it out was not happening. I’m going to guess that something similar is true for a good chunk of non-voters (not the young children, but… poverty? illness? disabilities?). Probably not the majority, but a good chunk.

      As to the rest of the non-voters – I also think it’s not due to being stupid or lazy, mostly. My husband used to not vote. He did, this past election, but didn’t before then, much to my chagrin. He’s just much more into things he can directly change and see the results from than he is into vague collective action and obligations. Just telling people “you should do this, it’s a civic obligation” with no consequences if you don’t is not likely to be successful. Making voting more appealing and convenient, and/or negative consequences if you don’t vote, seems much more likely to be successful to me.

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