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Lincoln-Harrison project supporters find “X” spray-painted outside homes


X marks the spot where people are supportive of changes to SE Lincoln that would make the street safer for all users.
(Photos: Anonymous)

The inter-neighborhood hostilities over the city’s Lincoln-Harrison Neighborhood Greenway Enhancement Project seem to have reached a new level.

A reader who lives in the area — and who requested anonymity — reported to us this morning that the sidewalk outside at least a dozen homes have been spray-painted by vandals with a large “X”. The one thing all the homes have in common? A “We Support Safe Lincoln St” sign.

The signs were created and handed out by grassroots activists last month as part of an effort to show support for the embattled project.

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Plans from the Portland Bureau of Transportation to install diversion, speed bumps, and other methods to slow down speeds and decrease the amount of drivers who use the streets, have been met with outrage from some people. The Mt. Tabor Neighborhood Association voted against planned diverters 45-5 back in November and a city-hosted meeting back in December was taken over by a coordinated group of area residents who oppose the changes.

The project also has a lot of support — not only from those who live in the neighborhood but from the many people who cycle through it.

Now those people are facing a backlash. Our tipster said he saw eight houses on SE Lincoln between 52nd and 54th and several between 32nd and 34th that had been vandalized. We’ve confirmed that at least one resident has called the police. Police reportedly paid a visit to the neighborhood but won’t move forward on the case unless a video or other proof of the culprits’ actions surface.

We asked PBOT if the X’s were part of a sidewalk repair project. They said their crews did not paint them.

If you know anything about this act of vandalism and potential harassment, please report it to Portland Police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333. I’ll update this post with more information as it comes in.

UPDATE, 6:15 pm: We have heard back from one of the people targeted by the vandalism. Laura Belson says she believes the X’s are part of a coordinated campaign. “Only houses in our area that have these signs received an X,” she shared with me, in response to emailed questions. “I am imagining someone is upset that we are showing our support and therefore decided to display their disapproval of our actions in this way.” Belson said in addition to the signs, she has been vocal in her support for the project. “I have gone to neighborhood meetings voicing my support, handed out flyers a couple of times, called and written emails to decision makers,” she says. “I wouldn’t call that super vocal, just a regularly interested neighbor.” Belson also says that, “Not everyone who has received an X has done as much as I have.”

UPDATE, 1:00 pm on 3/21: The X’s have been removed by City of Portland crews.

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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