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North Portland neighborhoods request clear paths in homelessness statement

Posted by on May 12th, 2020 at 10:48 am

“We request that the City of Portland clear campsites located in parks, waterways and public paths.”
— from a statement signed by four north Portland neighborhoods

Four north Portland neighborhood associations have issued a joint statement about homelessness. Among their requests is that government agencies work harder to clear campsites located in parks and on public paths.

Throughout the city, vital parts of the transportation network are blocked and/or dominated by peoples’ homes, belongings, and trash. Without enough places to live or social services to help them get off the streets, thousands of Portlanders sleep along streets — often directly adjacent to bike lanes and carfree paths. These paths are often in places where surface streets are unsafe, unconnected, or for some other reason not a safe alternative for bicycle users and walkers. This has led to a sad, complicated and frustrating problem for everyone.

Bicycle users are viscerally aware of this issue. BikePortland has fielded questions and concerns about it for years, ever since people started creating camps along the Springwater Corridor path in 2014. Last year we reported that conditions on the I-205 path had reached an unacceptable level and just this week a reader shared that some of the camps remain. For many people, this means many local paths are no longer an option.

In the joint statement posted yesterday, the neighborhoods of Bridgeton, Arbor Lodge, Overlook and University Park say Covid-19 has made a bad problem worse and that it’s time to respond.


A reader sent us this email on Monday.

“It is imperative we find common ground that unites the needs of those suffering from homelessness and the communities who see their neighborhoods descend into lawlessness and blight,” stated Bridgeton Neighborhood Association Chair Tom Hickey in an email that included the joint statement. “For too long, many in the housed communities in Portland have treated the unhoused as an invasion that must be pushed away in order to preserve the quality of life that they have created in their communities,” Hickey continued. “For too long, the city has responded to the crisis by allowing the degradation of public health and rule of law in the unfettered chaos of unsupported, unmanaged curbside camping.”

The neighborhoods are calling for a “third way,” a compromise that leads to construction of new shelters and organized villages while, “the unhoused must concede to community standards of social behavior.”

The statement includes a list of short-term and long-term solutions like: more housing in motels and hotels, the creation of more safe and sanctioned camping locations, more washing stations, regular garbage pick-up, access to public transportation, more social services, and so on.

When we covered this issue in relation to path conditions last year we shared a response from PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly. She made it clear that it’s “unacceptable to sweep people when we don’t have viable alternatives to offer them.” Eudaly acknowledged the lack of available housing. “There is literally nowhere for them to go — this is a local, regional, state, and national crisis.”

Eudaly also offered said she understands the frustration of bicycle users who often come face-to-face with, “dangerous infringement on our designated bike lanes and paths” and she urged compassion. “People experiencing homelessness are our neighbors and community members. They are suffering. And our entire society is failing them. I hope more people can keep these harsh realities in mind when they encounter scenes like these.”

More than a year later, the problem is even more severe. In north Portland specifically, there is a large group of people living along the Peninsula Crossing Trail (that stretches between Willamette and Columbia). If this joint statement can lead to more compassion and cooperation between neighborhood leaders, campers, and local government, maybe we can make some progress. Stay tuned.

North Portland Joint Statement on Homelessness

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and
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150 thoughts on “North Portland neighborhoods request clear paths in homelessness statement”

  1. Cory P says:

    Of course I have compassion for these people who’s needs have been ignored by our society for decades. But after years of nearly colliding with burn barrels, half stripped bikes and highly intoxicated people I’m ready for a different approach. Since critical transportation infrastructure is open for camping I would suggest fencing off portions of Powell and other four lane roads to reduce them to two lanes. The fenced off lanes can become homeless camping areas.
    The 205 path has become so dangerous most people simply won’t ride on it anymore.

    1. Avatar GG says:

      You’re right. The 205 path is just a few blocks from my house and I would love to ride on it with my kids. We’ve gone on 2 rides on it in the last couple of weeks and experienced so much trash, needles, broken glass, open fires with thick black smoke, tents right up to the edge and sometimes over the path, it’s just too much. The folks we encountered living along the path were all friendly, even cheering on my son trying to ride up a hill. But I can’t risk him riding into the grass and stepping on a needle or feces.

    2. Avatar Johnny Bye Carter says:

      Yes, it would be easy to give over all this empty space to the homeless. But that’s not the space they want. They don’t want to me in the middle of an unsheltered heat island anymore than we do. They want structure over their head.

      It wouldn’t be hard to unlock all the cages blocking all the space under overpasses around town and let people move into there. There’s lots of free sheltered space that we’ve intentionally made unreachable in order to keep the homeless miserable in the hopes that they’ll leave.

      It’s been decades and they’re still here, and the overpasses are still locked.

      1. Avatar hi says:

        Most prosperous country in the world, at the most prosperous point in recorded history and you think we should be moving folks underneath overpasses? Wow times a sigh plus a profanity or eight.

        1. Avatar art says:

          yes and stop thinking of them as THEM. We are all part of society by birth. all for one and one for all

          1. Avatar Rain Waters says:

            In your yard ?

        2. Avatar dan says:

          And “housing for all” eventually raises the question of who exactly we mean by “all”. People who owned/rented in town and could no longer make their rent/mortgage? People who have lived on the streets here for years? People who just arrived from out of state? I think this is a problem that should be addressed at the federal level, but no administration of either party has been willing to try to solve it.

          1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

            Exactly. It sounds like a great idea until I have to pay for it.

            1. Avatar dan says:

              To be clear, I’m happy to pay for it for our community. It’s in the same category as shared infrastructure for me. I’m just not enthusiastic about footing the bill for someone who moved here to get free housing because that’s not available where they moved from.

        3. Avatar Rain Waters says:

          On the other hand, Your jealousy prevents any real solution.

        4. Avatar Rain Waters says:

          All the resources wasted on this recent psyop woulda built a Trump tower for all of them. Our fundamental fear of death is the only issue here and we all know it.

      2. Avatar PdxPhoneix says:

        That would be fine…until they try to dig out more space & light fires under risking (or outright causing) damage to the structural integrity of the overpass like they did under McLaughlin Blvd south of RI Bridge along the Springwater on Willamette.

      3. Avatar Jessica Stephenson says:

        Meh. They will be there and where they are. It will welcome more. Most of them choose to live like that cuz of they’re shitty habits. The ones trying to get into a better situation aren’t out there like them. I think a big building needs to open up and employ people to do drug treatment and mental illness treatment and shelter and a program to get they’re documents like a birth certificate and social security card and ID and then get job training. Employ these people to clean up these camps since they are the ones fuckin it up

        1. Avatar X says:

          There’s an idea. Make it easier to get documents, clear your record, wash, see a doctor, fix your teeth. Get clean. Locate those services someplace that isn’t a path, a parking lot, or a jail. I’ve suggested parking garages before. They’re ugly but have a lot of covered space and they could be secured by a committee of residents in the way that Right 2 Dream is. With Street Roots, R2D, etc., we have some local models for people with pride to fix their own lives.

          The camps are on the paths now because nobody owns them. The highway department builds stuff and fixes stuff but it doesn’t do police work or social service. MUPs are no-go zones for cops unless there’s a body. Bike riders and runners, on average, don’t want to engage.

          Vigilantism is not a good prospect. The reason cities are supposed to have a professional police force is so we don’t veer from one ill to another. I don’t like hard drugs but our drug laws ensure a constant supply, a profitable criminal enterprise, a prison industrial complex and a militarized police force. Not to mention a lot of broken people who sleep rough and have nothing to lose.

    3. Avatar Rain Waters says:

      My friend in Reno grew up in SE. Her family is legacy Portlande. She claims your place is totally beyond economical repair. She told me its because of too much stupid liberal policy and programming which has literally destroyed the fabric of her home. That was last year. The more i read here the more i see why she was frustrated enough to leave SE for a cold windy mountainside hell north of Reno. She says its soooo much better than worrying about getting killed on Springwater where she used to run alone at 15. This woman is no femme, shes a kick boxing force of feminine nature.

      I would pray for you but she sez youre atheists who would probably hate me for doing so. . . Ok deep enuf. Seee yas. . .

      God bless us all

      1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

        Sometimes a conservative policy is better, and sometimes a liberal one. I’ve yet to see a liberal policy actually do anything for homelessness.

        1. Avatar Shimran George says:

          While I seem to agree that liberal policies don’t seem to alleviate the problem and seem blatantly naive, the conservative policies generally fall along the lines of ignoring the problem, waiting for the other shoe to drop. Both sides look at the issues too cleanly and decide to promote simple narratives that suit their needs often to the detriment of the people most in need of help.

          The overly liberal position would make you believe that homelessness is a direct result of the backwash of capitalism, and that they’re all on the streets because their landlord jacked up the rent or a medical bill put them there, and often delivers too much compassion. The overly conservative position on homelessness is that they are all drug addicts who made choices that resulted in them being there, and shows no compassion at all. Neither idea is fully true, and both sides need to accept that each position has a sliver of truth and the reality can be heavily individual dependent, and oftentimes messy. I wish we had officials that looked at it logically, and wanted to make a real difference in people’s lives.

          Not to make generalizations about a group of people, but I do think alcohol/drug use is a common theme among many homeless, and should guide our approach to solving this issue in the forms of robust treatment centers and counseling, not be used to simply dismiss these people. People turn to alcohol/drugs for many reasons, and this country is perfectly fine ignoring mental health and societal alienation that often prevent people from getting better or trying to reintegrate into society.

          Similarly, I feel it’s unfair/dehumanizing to always treat people as victims, and not setting some baseline expectations and respect along with giving people agency. And it’s bizarre policy that a city that wants to promote cycling/walking is ok with MUPs and sidewalks being blocked. If we want Portland to be taken seriously as a pedestrian/bike friendly city, we need people to feel safe walking and biking, wherever they may be.

          “Too much love will kill you
          Just as sure as none at all
          It’ll drain the power that’s in you
          Make you plead and scream and crawl”

          1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

            You summarized the way different mindsets approach things in a very objective, non-judgmental way.

            Conservatives: “It’s a moral failure of the individual”.
            Liberals: “It’s society’s fault”.

            Thank you.

            1. Avatar dwk says:

              You are correct, neither side has all the right answers.
              Would you rather live in Sweden or Somalia?

              1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

                Choosing between capitalist Sweden, or the anarchic world of Somalia would be an easy choice for me, but then I’ve never supported Portland’s anarchists. I think a fairer choice to represent the left might be Cuba. You know, where everyone is “equal”.

              2. Avatar X says:

                And their principal export is free medical care

          2. Avatar amy vegan says:

            As a very recent newcomer to Oregon and Portland hoping to finally enjoy the “fabulous cycling city” I’ve longed for for over a decade, all I can say is…it’s terrifying and I wish I had moved somewhere with streets safer for cycling and walking.

      2. Avatar Chris I says:

        She sounds weak.

  2. Avatar Toby Keith says:

    Chloe Eudaly states “And our entire society is failing them”. Wrong Chloe. Many of these people are failing themselves by deciding not to play by the rules of society. And the rest that actually can’t help themselves? Well YOU Chloe and your policies are failing them, not our “entire society”. Most of us pay taxes, follow the rules, and learn to play together nicely.

    The upcoming homeless tax probably sounds great to many out there who think we’re sticking it to the rich and big business. In reality you’ll just be fueling the homeless-industrial complex who by the way are also complicit in failing the homeless. The blocked bike paths, endless trash, and human suffering will remain. Guaranteed.

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      I suppose it is easy or feels good to stick it to Chloe, but perhaps you have noticed that all cities (whose bureaus are not run by Chloe) have similar problems? not just in the US but around the world. Capitalism promotes inequality, one of the manifestations of which is homelessness.

      1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

        If all cities in the world have similar problems but have different economic ideologies, then perhaps the ideology is not the issue.

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          Around the world is not the same thing as all cities in the world. Finland, notably, has managed to skirt this problem, and it is far less dire in many parts of the world that don’t copy our vengeful, punitive model of how to deal with the poor, the destitute, the mentally ill. But in countries where capitalism is not only the economic but also the social ideology we see this disaster.

          and this pull quote is for Toby:
          “We decided to make the housing unconditional,” says Kaakinen. “To say, look, you don’t need to solve your problems before you get a home. Instead, a home should be the secure foundation that makes it easier to solve your problems.”

          1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

            “all cities (whose bureaus are not run by Chloe) have similar problems? not just in the US but around the world”.

            1. Avatar 9watts says:

              MotRG, are you interested in a conversation? in learning something? in the possibility that (a) this is not Chloe’s fault, and/or (b) other places have managed to solve this even as (c) the problem is widespread?

              or do you want to remain hung up on my incautious use of the word ‘all’?

              1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

                I suppose it is easy or feels good to stick it to Capitalism, but have you noticed that other cities have similar problems?

                You can’t lay everything at the feet of Capitalism. Sorry.

              2. Avatar 9watts says:

                “You can’t lay everything at the feet of Capitalism”

                I didn’t lay ‘everything’ at the feet of capitalism, just inequality.

                Why don’t you trouble yourself to tell us what you think explains our inability to deal effectively with homelessness, why it has arisen here and elsewhere? instead of always taking potshots at others but never yourself taking a stand, a risk, committing to any position?

              3. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

                Inequality and homelessness exists in the so-called idealist Nordic states. Yes, less of both…but they still exist. Maybe one economic ideology exacerbates other conditions, but is not solely responsible for them.

              4. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

                [Automated Message: Do not reply!]

                This message has been flagged this as a violation of forum rules that prohibit any mention of social ills in Nordic countries or motor vehicle use in Denmark or the Netherlands.

                If this behavior continues, your account will be permanently banned.

                [***Note from moderator: Hello, Kitty… I appreciate your attempt at humor. But in the interest of maintaining respect for the actual real moderators here, please refrain from this type of post. I don’t want it to confuse people. Thanks. – The Management

                Now this is interesting… I can edit your moderation message!

                And, just so I’m clear, would the message have been acceptable without the bold header?

              5. Haha! forgot you could edit my edit. To be clear. I just don’t like the [Automated Message] part and the “has been flagged”.

              6. Avatar Rain Waters says:

                What syndrome is capital of Sweden ?

              7. Avatar Pete says:

                Capitalism is everywhere. You cannot escape the link between capitalism and the destitution, sorry. Name a city that isn’t ‘capitalist?’

        2. Avatar art says:

          you are both right…the real question of mine is why should one man have to pay another man to live on this planet?

          1. Avatar GlowBoy says:

            If one man has benefitted strongly from this organized society, he can chip in a little bit to help the man whom it is failing.

            1. Avatar Rain Waters says:

              World according to glow boy ? Why shoud anyome care ?

          2. Avatar Rain Waters says:

            Ask yourself but leave out the another part and you might learn something sir

      2. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

        Other highly capitalistic societies (such as everyone’s favorite example of Sweden) do not have the same problems that we do. The line you draw from capitalism -> inequality -> homelessness is clearly not a sufficient explanation.

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          Capitalism is (economic systems are) not a binary thing. some places (US) take the capitalism thing much further, invite it to govern not just how we run our economic affairs but also how the less fortunate are to be dealt with. Other places (Sweden, since you brought it up) don’t rely on such thinking to govern how healthcare, mental illness, poverty, etc. should be dealt with. They have put systems in place that don’t rely on the ability to pay to determine whether folks get services, care.
          You know all this but here in the comments you sometimes appear to pretend the world is black and white.

          1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

            I’ve replied to this comment twice, and both replies are gone. I’m not doing it a third time.

          2. Avatar X says:

            In the US we attached health care insurance to employment status as a wartime expedient and decades later we’re running a critical service, and a major industry, through this 75 year old makeshift. It’s as if we ran a gigantic extension cord out from Bonneville Dam, and each household had to run its own cord up to the corner and find an open socket to plug in. Maybe Sweden, or Canada, or Germany, or England, or hey, perhaps Cuba? could tell us something.

            Capitalism? An invisible hand rolling dice to tell me whether my visit to the ER was covered or not? Bah. Some people are homeless because their medical condition, crossed with our medical industrial complex, destroyed their finances.

            Yes, I remember the ACA. It’s a kludge between the gigantic extension cord and household supply cord, put there to keep the medical insurance industry in business.

            1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

              Our medical system is orthogonal to whether our society is capitalist. We could have universal heathcare without abandoning our identity as a fully capitalist society.

        2. Avatar Rain Waters says:

          And for their flawless service as worlds greatest sellout they got to keep their daycares open too. All hail Stockholm syndrome.

          Or else !

      3. Avatar Steve Scarich says:

        Yes, capitalism promotes inequality. But, there is nothing inherently wrong with inequality. We are guaranteed nothing upon birth, other than death and taxes. It is not inequality that creates homelessness, it is drugs, alcohol, unaddressed mental health issues, disability, lack of motivation, nihilism, etc etc Many of these issues can be addressed without building thousands of residences for the homeless, but they are not.

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          “there is nothing inherently wrong with inequality”

          That is an opinion but certainly not the last word on the subject.
          Many would also disagree with you…

          “The Spirit Level: Why Equality is Better for Everyone was published in 2009. Written by Kate Pickett and Richard Wilkinson, the book highlights the “pernicious effects that inequality has on societies: eroding trust, increasing anxiety and illness, (and) encouraging excessive consumption”. It shows that for each of eleven different health and social problems: physical health, mental health, drug abuse, education, imprisonment, obesity, social mobility, trust and community life, violence, teenage pregnancies, and child well-being, outcomes are significantly worse in more unequal rich countries.”

          and a review of the book:

          1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

            It’s probably worth noting that equality is impossible. That said, it would be pretty cool to do no work and still have the same amount of money as Bill Gates.

            1. Avatar Alan 1.0 says:

              It would also be cool to do all the things Gates does, but without any money.

              I have no guess what that implies.

        2. Avatar Rain Waters says:

          Today is 13 May 2020. Millions of people have been put out of their livelihoods by a macrosocial psychopathological exercise for god only knows what reason and youve the gall to play blame games.
          God help us all.

    2. Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) says:

      I disagree Toby. The word “society” comes from the Latin word “companionship” and a truly great society would not abandon people like ours does. Trying to pin this on one commissioner isn’t fair. In my opinion, just because I pay taxes, follow the rules and say I’m a nice person doesn’t mean I’m absolved of my responsibility to consider companionship of my fellow neighbors and try to make things better for them.

      Is your solution just to ask everyone to follow the rules? I don’t think that will help much.

      I’m skeptical of the homeless measure too but I voted for it. I’m skeptical just because I know how difficult this problem is to address and a lot of people have tried for a long time and it’s still at a crisis level. But I do hope the new funding can create urgency and openness to trying to things.. And to doing many more things that experts say can help.

      1. Avatar Fred says:

        JM, I don’t understand why a conversation about blocking bike paths always turns existential. Yes, there’s a terrible homeless problem. But why can’t we also have clear bike paths? Eudaly’s statement is de facto permission for people to camp on the paths. Why can’t we have more nuanced governance, in which officials create room for campers and then remove them from the paths? I liked the suggestion of turning half of Powell into camping space, but I think we need to go further: turn the northbound lanes of I-5 into camping space.

        1. Avatar Rain Waters says:

          So how would you access your affordable housing across the stream ?

      2. Avatar Rain Waters says:

        A true society wouldnt stand to be manipulated by entrenched psychopathy either, so we live in one thats a complete lie dont we ?

      3. Avatar Kristof says:

        “Society”–the aggregate of people in a community–cannot abandon anyone. Where agency is ascribed to everyone it is actualized by no one. Only individual agents, by their own or some legislated mandate, could intervene to help those who cannot (or will not) help themselves. Blaming society is what people who will not accept responsibility for themselves do. But that is too abstract. You might as well blame the fact that the arrow of time moves in one direction or the law of gravity. Blame your parents, siblings and peers if you must, but please don’t blame society for the fact that you live in a tent and defecate on the sidewalk. You are not a philosopher.

    3. Avatar Jonathan says:

      Unfortunately, almost every one of those poor unfortunates has a devastating life story that makes it almost or completely impossible for them to comply to ‘the rules’. A childhood filled with abuse and violence, a lifetime of chronic illness or mental disability- name your trauma and many of these people have at least one. Some work and follow the rules for decades until an illness or accident halts their work life and then they’re out there, aging very, very quickly. Every time I pass by a camp I say to myself ‘There but for the grace of luck and family connection go I’.

      1. Avatar Kristof says:

        Compassion is benign and innocuous qua occasional affective response. By the same logic, a useless one.

        Unfortunately for your argument, for every survivor who embraces a downward trajectory and flaunts the conventions of civility, there are many who do not. And it’s not always because of dumb luck or family connections. We need to discriminate between ‘innocent victims’ and those who are complicit in their own socio-economic and psychological degeneration.

        Some people are just more resilient. Or call upon the grace of a transcendent being and pull themselves up by their own bootstraps.

        Others give up. Weakness, like ignorance, can and does shade into evil, viz., choices made in full awareness that the outcome will be harmful, to oneself and other people. Some live on the street because they waited for a rescuer who never came.

        As a compassionate society we fund bureaus dedicated to helping those who have given up on themselves. And for quite self-interested reasons. Who wants to see people live out their private misery in public spaces? Depending on the day and your mood, you may feel compassion or affronted.

        Problem is that in cities and towns it costs money to hide oneself away in a private sphere. The homeless do not have the means to hide. Their public exposure reminds us all what a privilege it is to be able to afford a hiding place.

        Some–more culturally homogeneous–societies have decided having a place to hide and preserve one’s dignity is a basic human right. The US is not there. Probably never will be.

    4. Avatar JR says:

      “homeless-industrial complex”? You lost me there, particularly since there’s a real thing like the military industrial complex and it has literally nothing to do with this issue. Maybe I’m wrong, but I didn’t think non-profits were getting lucrative 100 billion dollar government contracts on fear-based weapons building that could destroy this world multiple times over.

      1. Avatar Rain Waters says:

        Is there a medical industrial complex completely turned terrorist today ?

    5. Avatar GlowBoy says:

      Let’s not forget that many homeless people are outright mentally ill, or could otherwise benefit from mental health services. We made the decision decades ago to close many of our mental hospitals and throw their residents out on the street. They’re still there.

  3. Avatar buildwithjoe says:

    This board joint statement is biased against humans. Here is a google doc that links to the discussion on next door, and the doc includes my request for revisions to the board statement.

    The board statement pretends to be kind and see both sides. Imagine if the board called for peace and racial unity but then used racially loaded language. The boards are doing that here.

    1. Avatar JR says:

      There are some pretty bad acting humans out there. Most of us don’t need to walk very far to come across the refuse piles left by the humans residing in our public spaces or find them sifting through a dumpster only to send more trash out to blow around. Some of us have been advocating for trails, parks, and sidewalks in our region for decades only to find them now occupied and turned over to private use, much of which is illegal and endangering our more well-behaved humans.

      Support for trails is now colored by concerns by illegal activity that’s been tolerated too long. We literally can’t have anything nice anymore. It’s more than frustrating to see this happen for so long that the most common response now is indifference. I would very much support designated camping areas with maintenance, rules and access to care than the current attitude of surrendering to this situation. I applaud these groups of neighbors for trying to get anything done during the pandemic because if anything, it just seems like indifference is growing right now.

      1. Avatar jonno says:

        “Some of us have been advocating for trails, parks, and sidewalks in our region for decades only to find them now occupied and turned over to private use”

        You hit the nail on the head. These trails are all-too-rare, critical public assets but when a group takes over a section of it for camping, the public utility is degraded and at some point, which it feels like we’ve reached, it’s no longer public space at all. It’s privately occupied. Where else would that fly? City Hall plaza? Mt Tabor park? Pioneer Square? Literally any public street used by car drivers? I don’t think so. But it feels like we’ve stopped thinking of the paths the same way. Why?

        1. Avatar MaddHatter says:

          Y’know what? Let’s do that. There’s been no end of troubles and failed attempts to find a space where homeless people can be. Let’s pick one of the lesser-used streets that seems most suitable, close it to cars, and make it the designated place for homeless people to safely be.

          1. Avatar maxD says:

            Why not convert the City-owned parking garages to temporary homeless shelters? They are covered, secure, accessible, and have electricity. They would be easy to partition off, and easy to service for trash/recycling/sanitation.

            1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

              Why not ask the commissioner in charge of PBOT? You know, the one that asks cyclers to tolerate conditions on the bike paths because “there is literally nowhere else for them to go”.

      2. Avatar Rain Waters says:

        My dear fellow human
        As of 3 13 2020 no humans outside the 1 % get anything NICE anymore. I know how frustrating that seems but your NICE fantasy world is gone.

        1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

          WTF?!? Who deleted my Minecraft server?!? My world is… gone.

  4. Avatar Bikeninja says:

    We have to face up to our reality. Our countries response to the pandemic pulls back the curtains and reveals what is behind. We are now really a 2nd or third world country by many statistical measures. So lets quit fooling ourselves and set up some favelas like they have in other countries in our situation. A shanty town with water and a bit of electricity is an improvement over living under a tarp on the sidewalk. These tiny “villages” are not going to cut it. Lets designate a place that can be scaled up large enough to handle the problem, perhaps Tigard or Lake Oswego would fit the bill.

    1. Avatar Rain Waters says:

      And a trade school on site so as to pull up by ones Boot Straps to buy a $10k Oregon piece of paper stating the former deadbeat now electrician is authorized to build a little fiefdom around the thafety of that electrical trickle. That goes 10x for the water since the freeloaders actually need it as human beings. Im sure we’d have a colorado river sized government infrastucture to “manage” in no time.

      Problem solved.

  5. Avatar J_R says:

    If the camps were only *near* the paths it would be an improvement. Fact is, they are occupy half the paths’ width in key locations including the underpasses of the I-205 path. Add to that the debris on the paths and the erratic, unpredictable movements of some people and you’ve got a scary situation that causes cyclists and walkers from using the facilities in the manner for which they were intended. If I owned a home near one of these major campsites, I’d probably move regardless of how much financial hit I took.

    1. Avatar Jason says:

      this. so much this. Given the current pandemic, tents should be immediately be forced to relocate a minimum of 6 feet from bike paths and public throughways and this should be enforced at all times.

      You can debate everything all day, but allowing public paths to be blocked infringes on the rights of others, and we have a right to safely use these public transportation corridors.

      1. Avatar Rain Waters says:

        Why dont they have this issue in Austin, its a bastion liberale too ? Because they move it west and north to BASTION LIBERALE.

  6. Avatar jonno says:

    Count me among those who avoid the 205 path these days. Last ride was pre-Covid and it was so bad I detoured to streets wherever I could and decided to take a different route home. It feels like we’ve ceded the path as a viable route which is infuriating when the streets are getting more dangerous as well. At the very least can we agree to draw a line at encroaching on thoroughfare? I don’t see the wisdom in the hardliners blocking relocation off the paths. In some places there’s literally no other viable route.

    I do most of my riding south and southwest of the city these days. Really cuts down on the need to consider biohazard tent cities when route planning.

  7. Avatar kate says:

    biked the peninsula crossing trail on thursday to see the goats; rode much of springwater and 205 paths last Friday. saw lots of camps and felt plenty safe – smile and nod. sweeps kill!!!

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      This down voting thing is so weird.
      Before I upvoted her comment kate’s comment had a 7:1 ratio of downvotes to upvotes.
      This crowd gives compassion, someone’s cheerful experience that doesn’t also give the homeless a kick in the groin a fusillade of downvotes? What does that say about us? What do those of you giving her the thumbs down hope to achieve? That she slinks away? Shuts up?

      1. Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) says:

        Yes really. Perhaps there’s a lot more frustration and anger about this issue than you realized?

        Thing is, there might not be as much of an “us” as you think! And in some ways that can be a good thing. This isn’t an echo chamber and this site is read by people with a wide variety of views… many of whom never comment but read daily.

        I think illuminating this difference of opinion is important. I don’t agree that downvoting someone means you think or want anything bad personally about the person… It’s simply a way of saying “Nope. I don’t agree with you”. Or simply “I don’t like what you said.”

        I see this a lot in the bike scene. Lots of folks assume all have similar views/values and react negatively or with surprise when they realize it’s a big and ugly world out there full of lots of disagreement.

        1. Avatar 9watts says:

          I think i really should trouble myself to write that ‘what is a conversation for?’ article.

          I am the very last person to hope, expect, wish for, or accept an echo chamber. I don’t see the inverse of a fusillade of downvotes as an echo chamber. I see both as unfortunate. as unproductive, a rejection of conversation.
          What I would hope for is a lively exchange of views that takes us all places we didn’t start from, generates insights that none of us necessarily had before the exchange of ideas, perspectives, experiences. Where folks with (iconoclastic) opinions stick around and defend them or try to, and the better argument carries the day.

          Toby Keith likes to kick Chloe and the homeless;

          I want accountability from PBOT and ODOT;

          Middle of the Road Guy lobs grenades at almost everyone who sticks his or her neck out but is unwilling to do that himself;

          Hello Kitty has the driest humor and is a good debater but we rarely agree.

          wsbob appears to have moved on.

          I am certain that we all come to these conversations with different views, priorities, and expectations. What I find discouraging is the negative energy that discussions of the intractable and multi-layered homeless issue in particular draws out that seems to me so unproductive, so vicious. I think Jonathan (the other one) said it best upthread:
          “Every time I pass by a camp I say to myself ‘There but for the grace of luck and family connection go I’.”

          1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

            “Every time I pass by a camp I say to myself ‘There but for the grace of luck and family connection go I’.”

            Give yourself some credit. I have friends from supportive families with everything going for them that still bottomed out. Why didn’t you?

            1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

              This is absolutely true. And yet there are things that people can do to influence whether they rise or fall on the tides of fortune.

          2. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

            You have zero idea what I do outside of this forum.

            1. Avatar 9watts says:

              I never speculated about or was interested in what you do outside this forum.
              I was talking about your performance right here in the comments section.

              1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

                I just can’t help my analyst nature 🙂

            2. Avatar Rain Waters says:

              Chrissie loved ya back in the day. Are you a white or yellow fellow ? Buddhism is tolerated by your new government so you b good to go

        2. Avatar casual observer says:

          The homeless issue in Portland is tough and complicated like most things. My take is the polar sides in the city both want the same thing, homeless people off the streets and trails. Anyway, great comment Jonathan, well said.

        3. Avatar Rain Waters says:

          Your solution is compassionately encouraging a place where people feel welcome. Like a skilled bee keeper manages swarming homeless bees. You guys in Portland know you made the same mistake about the psyop as lotsa people did and now pride is your weakness. You still wont admit it and might never recover because of it. We were all scammed and it truly sucks.
          The frustration of caging ourselves and basically ruining our economy over a complete lie is understandable. Taking frustration out on helpless and stupid people will not heal this or even make you feel better in the long run. You will just get more angry and frustrated and play right into the psychopaths hand. Please enjoy what we have left before Portland is turned over to China as a new Hong Kong. Ask Elon, he knows where to git to. Ok im insane whatever. Se amables con los animales.
          And yes lots of the people wandering aimlessly are stupid with no luck. Many are helpless. Some are far more human than you can imagine. Im one and the dialougue here is packed with stupidity.

        4. Avatar Joey G says:

          Bike Portland is the new location for unity. We now have widespread cooperation of white moderates with the the refugee center right users who can’t spend their time on Oregonlive any longer.

        5. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

          Way too many people fall into the trap of “If you agree with me on this, you probably agree with me on that.”

      2. Avatar kate says:

        thanks, 9watts! honestly, i would be in support of their letter if they didn’t slide in “clear the campsites” – much of the letter, I’m in agreement with

        1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

          Is it the use of that phrase that you object to, or the general concept of asking people to move to a different location?

          1. Avatar kate says:

            both. by them stating “clear the campsites,” it negates all the other positive stuff they recommend in the letter. there is hard evidence that the more you move homeless camps, the more people die. i’m sick of people dying.

        2. Avatar kate says:

          and all these complaints on here…what are you doing to change the homeless crisis? I’m actively making kits to give out to people living in tents in my neighborhood, donating money to orgs like Street Roots and Transition Projects, Pear, among others. I work in architecture, where much of our work is affordable housing.

          1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

            I also donate to Street Roots and help individuals in need, but, like climate change, the solutions won’t be found in individual action. We need a large, systemic effort to address healthcare, mental health, and drug addiction. That means a state-level, or, more likely, federal-level effort. That means convincing more people that we need to act.

            And, as with climate change, knowing what needs to happen and figuring out how to make it happen are two very different things.

            1. Avatar Rain Waters says:

              If there was an attractive place for these people the market would soon appreciate it enuf to steal it in any possible way. Until such a system obsoletes itself here we will be. This system pays people to do nothing productive so how are we to produce anything of value. Waitin on their pablam chex. . . .and no you people will be forced out or bow to Chinese law soon. It aint comin back like it will in Texas or Dixie or Zion for that matter framed by failed USA on the east and Pacifica, the next Hong Kong on the west.

          2. Avatar Jake Robbins says:

            Not everyone works in high paying fields like “Architecture”. Some of us work dead end,low paying jobs and ourselves are only one paycheck away from our families being on the street. It’s great that you have the luxury of being able to donate money and time to help out but you have to remember not everyone is as fortunate as you in terms of the time they have or the resources they commit to the cause. Just because someone isn’t “Doing something to change the homeless crisis” doesn’t mean that their complaints aren’t valid, it may very well be that they aren’t doing something to change the homeless crisis because they are trying to work hard to avoid becoming a part of the crisis.

            1. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

              I have a friend who works in such a dead-end job he cannot afford a working caps-lock key.

              1. Avatar Jake Robbins says:

                It’s tough out there. Copy and pasting lower case letters takes too long.

                [NOTE: I’m converting your ALL CAPS to lowercase. Hope you don’t mind but I can’t let that stand. – Jonathan]

            2. Avatar Alan 1.0 says:

              Jake, I really doubt that kate meant to throw any shade at you, either personally or as an economic class. I have no idea about kate’s finances, but generally architects have quite modest salaries, too (look it up).

              I’d agree that kate seems presumptive about what other commenters here give to society, and even about how they view the socio-economic status of that society, based on their desire to have MUPs and sidewalks and parks conducive to public use. Having good public areas is not mutually exclusive to having housing, food, medicine, work, and play for all members of society.

              1. Avatar Jake Roberts says:

                I’m not trying to attack Kate in the slightest. And based on what I’ve read of their posts I don’t think that they are trying to “throw shade” at me or at any economic class in particular. I am just trying to demonstrate how the language she uses, “and all of these complaints on here…what are you doing to change the homeless crisis?” could be interpreted to place her on some sort of moral high ground. I don’t doubt that her salary is modest (I looked it up) but how modest is the “salary” of an hourly minimum wage worker? Regardless of their salary, I felt like there is a better way to communicate that. I know this issue is important to them but if you’re really trying to get people to buy in, I can’t tell you that you’re definitely turning people off. Even those that want to agree with you.

            3. Avatar kate says:

              i am absolutely fortunate and thankful every day that I’m able to give back in this manner. i posted this comment so i could hopefully inspire others in a similar fortunate situation to step up and make those similar commitments, not to shame others for their situations. and to post here what they’re doing to help make change.

              1. Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) says:

                Thanks kate. I appreciate you commenting here. And thanks too for helping others!

              2. Avatar Rain Waters says:

                I like this

              3. Avatar Jake Roberts says:

                If you just would have posted this I feel like it would have been a better way to communicate your point. No hard feelings. Just trying to engage in discussion here.

            4. Hello, Kitty Hello, Kitty says:

              How many do not want to help the family from Tigard, down on their luck, in debt because of the high cost of insulin, who just needs a lucky break for once?

              How many are willing to pay higher taxes to support the guy who came up from Arizona, sold your bike to buy weed, crapped on your lawn, and left a big pile of trash in front of your house? Who even knows how to help that guy?

              Unfortunately for the family from Tigard, after you’ve cleaned your lawn, picked up the trash, and finished shopping for a new bike, what are you going to tell your representatives?

              1. Avatar Rain Waters says:

                Send him back to Bullhead, they’ll throw him to Laughlin and then he’ll hitch up to LV and be back nonstop to Meddy in hours. . .then meander up the 5 towards home cuz its so just exactly purrrrfect in Oregon wonderland specially porty.

                It even had its own TV show to attract yuppie cash from san ho etc which also attracted wierd.

                Homeys dress up like deadheads and street theatre because wierd is what they aspire to. Anything to market to possible compassion is milked to the backbone. People play into this or they wouldnt do it.

                Its easy to be outside in Portland, easier than most other urban areas. What Kevin Costner said.

                Name an easier place for your undesirables to habitate and like bees they will prefer any proper hive to hanging in a tree gettin glared at by passerby full of fear. Now you figure out how to aim them in that direction. They will beeline directly to the new desirable home.

                If you lived outside and someone tried to get you to stay indoors permanently what would you say ? So i understand how self locked down ignorance can lash out right now at those outside. Youre jealous and too proud to admit you bought the scam. Do you now understand the meaning of

                Prison planet ?

                What has Portland done for so long to attract and thereby sustain what is now being called a problem here ?

                So you remove those incentives which vector swarming bees to your home. If you add more enticements those in Roseburg, Corvallis etc will definitely migrate your way.

                Is it possible that overbearing compassion can matastisize into a cancer of stupidity ? Or you can repeat whatever didnt and wont work as before and not call it insanity. Denial hasnt worked either. . .

                The solution is to create a place outside market influences to accomodate systematic refugees. These are known as FEMA camps. It worked in New Orleans, they came.

                It sounds like an emergency you folks are unable to manage. You have thus failed miserably. You and fellows like Earl Blueeyes are too proud to ask a Trump you hate for the federal help you need.

                Sanctuary, for bike thieves who supplied coyotes with transport outa your back yards for decades. Do you kids have clue one ?

                A little growth would go a long way here. When the Chinese show up in five years or so they will remove the refugees just like they did in 1959 in Lhasa so problem solved. Interesting times in Portlandia now and then.

            5. Avatar Rain Waters says:

              They usually park butt at multiple 19’s and play social media most of the day and everybody knows it. Everyone who produces is fine tuned to recognize what steals their hard work. The entitlement is plugged in between high school and so called work. An equal dose of denial is drip fed thhe emtire for years. No im to retarded to spell and too aspy to care. My daughter has a grad degree fully paid for. I worked my ass off learning to spot thieves and psychopaths.

            6. Avatar Jake Roberts says:

              Sorry but this comment definitely rubbed me the wrong way, and based on your downvotes, it has rubbed some others the wrong way as well. Please tell me in my comment where my lack of empathy for the homeless came out? Seems like my comment was about delegitimizing people’s criticisms/concerns based on the money/resources they are able to put in to said topic. True, not all action takes much money or time. I’ve got access to the internet and a computer. I can and have written to my state representatives.
              But when you’re trying to put food on the table, pay for transportation, insurance, bills, rent, and other expenses, sometimes even the simple actions or the things that take up little time aren’t priorities. People are in different places financially and your comment definitely demonstrates where your headspace is at. The whole reason I jumped on this comment section in the first place was to demonstrate how the language Kate used is counter productive to her goals. It does more to separate and stratify us than it does to bring us together.

              Read my other comments.

              1. Avatar Alan 1.0 says:

                All-caps and morphs aside, Jake has engaged in considered expression and response. It makes me wonder what sort of online forums he’s participated in before.

              2. Avatar Jake "Mighty Morphin" Rob(erts)bins says:

                I rarely engage in online forums. This is really the first time for me. Also, I can’t tell if you’re taking the piss or not. But, thanks regardless.

      3. Avatar Rain Waters says:

        Does Avilokitesvara weep in Portland ?

  8. Hello, Kitty says:

    I wonder if the same PBOT commissioner who stated it is “unacceptable to sweep people when we don’t have viable alternatives to offer them” would feel the same way if these people were blocking streets for cars rather than paths for cyclers.

    1. Avatar Fred says:

      True! Bicycles are just toys; cars are for serious people.

  9. Avatar Maynard says:

    Dollars to donuts the people that are clamoring “…but they’re humans and have to be somewhere…” are the same people that are freaking out over the maskless dummies marching on state capitols demanding freedom. You are arguing that humans, in this case the homeless (not monolithic in any means but for this purpose), deserve liberty. Yes there are addicts, abused, evicted, fell on hard times, vets, metal illness; etc. BUT, isn’t the PUBLIC HEALTH cause enough to find treatment/housing/counseling/pharmaceuticals and get them off the street and/or into a camp with sanitary toilets, water; etc? With liberty comes responsibility.

    SOME of these people have not been left behind by society, but SOME have CHOSEN to LEAVE it. Becoming an addict, staying with an abuser ( I get it. Coupling is a societal means to get ahead and stay safe but if neither are happening?), amassing a bike trailer full of bikes and bike parts; etc do not happen overnight. If you poop, repeatedly, on the streets or in bushes, have open burning, leave gallon jugs of urine on the sidewalks, leave used needles on sidewalks, shoot up in plain sight (I’m all for responsible drug use but when my kids find needles on the playground…?), harass cyclists and others, leave garbage strewn about in parks, “camp” on bike paths, “camp” in offramp green spaces, you are not a part of the community but are actively undermining it.

    Reopen Mental Hospitals, designate lots/buildings for homes–no exceptions. needles exchanges, free treatment…

    I’m sorry but if you don’t vote, don’t pay taxes and break the laws you shouldn’t get special treatment. Your home can’t be on a public space.

    If you are going to rage about people not wearing masks, toting guns and demanding to reopen the economy then you must also demand a cleanup of these afflicted areas and people.

    1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

      It does not have to be true equivalency to point out the absurdity of a position.

  10. Avatar Native Portland Cyclist says:

    I just want to ride our MUPs on my way to work and for recreation, without having to change another flat from a used heroin needle. Is that too much to ask?

  11. Avatar Sasha says:

    It would really help if some basic kind of sanitation and security system was created in a manner that worked. It would be a win-win, for the campers and the neighborhoods. This past week I cycled around all these paths and found the camping along the 205 path to be much more problematic than the Springwater corridor because the 205 path is really narrow in parts and in certain places is now surrounded on both sides by sizable tents, with the path itself covered in broken glass and debris, with campers shooting up right on the path. I don’t have any answers, but you would think that public health/COVID resources, if they exist, should e directed at figuring out some kind of workable solution for the sanitation and security of all the stakeholders.

  12. Avatar Matt S. says:

    I’m extremely exhausted from this topic.

    1. Avatar kate says:

      matt s., don’t you think people living on the streets are exhausted as well?

      1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

        With all of the extra bikes they seem to have, I would think so.

  13. Avatar art says:

    i wonder what would happen if these people started moving into buildings as fellow tenants with those that dont want them in a tent? or if they moved into the house next to or as roommates? would they then start whining about all the crime in their area? I would sure like to find out…maybe then we can start seeing each other as humans wanting to live our lives? cant we all just get along and act like people helping people building something better than this collapsing system that supports us all? we are all in this together

    1. Avatar Jake Robbins says:

      If your neighbors piled up garbage, bike scraps/parts used needles broken glass metal scrap appliances and other things like that outside of their door or on their property, I have a hard time believing that you would not get in contact with your building owner/neighborhood association. 

      I understand what your point is that human life has value and I agree with you there but come on, rental properties have rules and stipulations regarding what is and isn’t okay on the property. Even if you own a home/properly, it doesn’t give you the legal right to do “whatever you want” on that property. 

      Not trying to be course with you or anything. I just think that “getting along and act like people helping people” only works with people who actually want to get along and help. Not saying that homeless/houseless people aren’t. 

      But certainly there are individuals out there who don’t care about… [Note: I am terribly sorry but in an effort to convert Jake’s comment from ALL CAPS to lowercase I’m afraid I lost the full original and only have until “read more” due to a copy/paste error. This is most of it and I will post the rest if I can find a copy of it. – Jonathan] 

      1. Found most of it and have replaced. If you have a local copy send it over and I’ll add it. Sorry again Jake.

  14. Avatar Kittens says:

    Hopefully this neighborhood action will start the ball rolling in the right direction. So tired of dealing the mess the behavior and the excuses.

    These people need help and we can’t expect them to act in their own best interest. I am sorry, it will sound harsh, but I suggest we look at some combo of a residential poor farm cooperative or manufacturing, forced detox, addiction counseling and 24-7 support. The trade is that you will get medical, 3-squares and the promise of a future beyond the streets.

    1. Avatar Dan says:

      It doesn’t sound harsh, considering the current state of affairs on the streets and in the multi-user pathways in North Portland, by I-205, and the Springwater. In fact, it sounds compassionate for all the “stakeholders” – the people living in squalor as well as the rest of us who used to enjoy these paths.

      I wouldn’t support any new MUPs until this situation is controlled. Much as I’d like for my kids to be able to bike on separated pathways. It just seems like a fantastic waste of resources at this point.

    2. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

      I think people would be happy to see their taxes go towards something like that – with the potential for a positive outcome – rather than simply a maintenance cost for a slowly deteriorating situation.

    3. Avatar maxD says:

      I like the sound of this so much better than the sanctioned slums of the little villages. I fear that we are on a path to creating a a new lower class of citizen with fewer rights, protections and expectations. The camps/villages/tiny home areas are lacking the code-mandated structural and sanitary facilities of other homes. Expectations for behavior (open drug use, open fires, littering/dumping, stealing) are all excused for one class of people. I would like to see Portland offer more AND expect more to maintain standards of safety and civility.

  15. Avatar Jason E Start says:

    Remember all the great coverage this site gave to the awesome Division St underpass on the 205 trail? A few short years later — it’s un-ridable. Looks the same as the Sandy underpass on the 205 path. So, isn’t that now a tremendous waste of tax payer’s dollars. We’re back to using the crosswalk on Division or riding through a heavily populated camp under the street. What was the point of building it? Our tax dollars could probably paid for a hundred low income housing units for the same $$$. The 205 path is effectively lost to cyclists along about 1/2 it’s length.

    1. Avatar 9watts says:

      It is too bad.
      But lots of things are unfortunately like that. Curve balls are tricky. Empty Trimet busses due to COVID19? Highest unemployment since 1933? Automobility? Climate change? In-migration?

      But these regrettable circumstances at least to me are of a different caliber than the (locally) avoidable ones, the problems of our own making: OTC approves Rose Quarter Expansion; $200 million misspent on the unnecessary CRC in round one; institutional reluctance to prosecute people who kill with their cars; unwillingness to keep raising the gas tax or charge for parking….

      1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

        This did not just happen 3 months ago.

    2. Avatar jonno says:

      “The 205 path is effectively lost to cyclists along about 1/2 it’s length.”

      Which means that it’s effectively lost as a whole facility. Cutting one link breaks the whole chain. Having to slow and peek around corners to gauge whether I’ll get blocked or worse, assaulted, is not compatible with a working public facility. We need that path back and the city won’t make it a priority until we make a bigger stink about it.

      1. Avatar Jason E Start says:

        Yep. If I’m riding in that area North/South it’s safer (my opinion) to just ride 92nd. It’s a shame. The MUP can’t be used. I have tried to jump off and back on to avoid the worst spots but it just adds too much time to the ride. So, if I ride from Milwaukie to PDX it’s Springwater to 92nd to Stark – then neighborhood streets to Burnside then down the 205 path only @ Gateway Green then back off. 9ish mile North/South and I only ride the Gateway Green portion. So you’re 100% correct when you state that 1/2 of the path being un-ridable renders the facility lost. Seriously, why would we cyclist who LOVE MUP’s support the construction of the Sullivan Gulch MUP? We all know that would be the worst campground yet. So millions and millions would be quickly lost (assuming policies don’t change) and render a new path worthless to cyclists.

  16. Avatar Kyle says:

    I really wish the city would buy up the Concordia University campus and convert it to transitional housing for homeless people that included access to medical, mental health, and substance abuse professionals. At this point there is enough research into homelessness that it is not particularly difficult to figure out how to mitigate the suffering these poor folks experience, there is just a lack of political will to actually take the necessary steps.

    I agree with other folks in comments that obviously it would be intolerable if car routes were obstructed the way by bike paths are, and that it is annoying and unsafe to have to avoid those obstructions, and I certainly understand why some people feel unsafe around homeless encampments. That being said, I do think that it is important to keep in mind that while we are disproportionately impacted because of our preference for a marginalized form of transportation, it is certainly the case that the homeless are substantially more marginalized and that really the preeminent issue should be addressing their human tragedy.

  17. Avatar Barbara says:

    “would feel the same way if these people were blocking streets for cars rather than paths for cyclers.” I repeatedly said this to people many times along with very time I pass by that 205 camp which I am haing to do 2-3x a week I say to myself ‘There but for the grace of luck …I go”

    These path are transport corridors needed and used on a regular basis to get from point A to B often to avoid a difficult roadway not just some path to bike on for a scenic family ride.

    Last time I came through the 205 one north of Columbia a broom was purposely strewn across the path at the bottom of the down hill. I worry if I get stopped and don’t have the momentum to get going again. I’ve been yelled at in the past that “these are our homes and you don’t belong here.”

    It’s totally unacceptable to have the path or road blocked by garbage, tents, bicycle wheels, chairs, pallets. Glass. We continue to give the homeless breaks for what isn’t tolerated for the rest of us. They should be expected to follow the same as we do.

    While prefer not to have homeless camps if they keep off the paths and stuff cleaned up so not ruining the areas it would be somewhat tolerable.

  18. Avatar Rod says:

    One thing that racial justice advocates say is that our society is set up for the success of White people. So many of the homeless I encounter living on the streets of Portland or begging appear to be White, and presumably have benefited from all the privilege and paths to success that their race provides. An efficient approach to homelessness would therefore seem to be to focus limited resources on the truly disadvantaged – people of color and women – and to have more of a tough love approach for the White male homeless population, given their privileged position and access to opportunity.

  19. Avatar Gary B says:

    “Safe, sanctioned places for camping” seems like an obvious solution, and one that mofst o those on both sides of this debate (as played out in the comments here) would probably agree to. It gets people off of trails and other public property, it’s theoretically quick, and it’s an improvement over the status quo for those suffering homelessness.

    And yet, with 100% certainty, I wager every single “safe santioned place for camping” that is pursued by the City and County would be fought tooth and nail by the local community. That’s what happens every time before. I’ve watched this play out in St Johns twice in the last year or so, despite a well-planned proposal for a managed temporary housing site. (Admittedly thge first location seemed too small for the concept, but the second I can’t fathom any problem with.)

    And so, the campers remain with no else place to go, while we (thankfully) proceed to make modest improvements in assistive housing availability through the hard work of our tax dollars, and almost no improvements in mental health care. Both efforts that are badly needed but way too slow to alleviate the current crisis.

  20. Avatar Rain Waters says:

    My bike ride is more important than you. Beat it deadbeat before i send antifa your way.

  21. Avatar buildwithjoe says:

    I put on about 4,000 bike miles a year. The bike paths (i205/i5/Springwater) can have an occasional cart or tent where I have to slow down. I’ve never been blocked, never delayed more than a second. I’ve never been threatened. Yes I know people feel unsafe, and someone said they got a flat from a needle.

    The Supreme Court has ruled that people can camp, and these moves, bans, sweeps violate our US constitution. The city is still doing sweeps because they can get away with it. It is uncontested that sweeps are illegal. Everyone (Board members, mayor, comments) suggesting we move people is like trying to argue the earth is flat. Please stop. The neighborhood boards are openly demanding unconstitutional behavior, so don’t be their sheep.

    This thread is very informative. It shows a near complete lack of empathy. So much the anti-houseless bias comes from people who don’t even use their real names. Welcome to Merika!

    The most critical information in these comments comes from the silence. Leaders in the bike community are silent on the topic. Where is a comment or press release from The Street Trust, or Bike Loud, or Oregon Walks? — Were are leaders who say it’s wrong to suggest sweeps? Where are the leaders who can visit camps and ask people who are camping what are their immediate needs and how can we focus on them?

    When I asked the Arbor Lodge board why they had not reached out to the houseless and advocates one said they wanted to “Start a conversation”. That’s the same thing Johnathan has said when he was called out on racism on this blog. It’s the same escape used when a Salem Lawmaker authored a bill to ban children on cargo bikes (Greenlick, 2011) .

    Get people into all the vacant hotels. We have the money. Get a grid of portable toilets and dumpsters all over the city. Close the subsidized golf courses, and let people camp as a short term solution. We have the money, and not housing people is proven to cost more than the cost of inaction.

    Want to know what the people suffering need? Ask them. Here is a street roots article to read for understanding:

    Signed, Joe Rowe, my real name. Please your real name as well.


    Here is the SCOTUS case on sweeps:

    An example when of touch people “start a conversation” and don’t reach out to the people who deserve real safety protections:


      So a complete lack of empathy is people voicing their concerns over a growing public health problem that routinely makes bike paths unusable? And you’re concerned because they use pseudonyms in an online forum? Hopefully one of them doesn’t set up camp in your front yard, cause you won’t be able to move them with your constitutionality argument. But keep in mind your constitutional rights are sometimes checked. You have freedom of speech under the first amendment, but you cannot yell fire in a crowded movie theater. Yes moving people from campsites maybe unconstitutional, but if they’re camping in the middle of the road is it unconstitutional to move someone for the safety of the general public?

      1. Avatar Middle of the Road Guy says:

        “anyone who disagrees with me is a monster”.


          Seems to be the case a lot of the time here.

  22. Avatar c says:

    I do not think this is just a housing issue. This state enables addicts to keep their habits and basically holds any homeless person unaccountable for their actions because “they don’t know any better”. They are not children. They do know better but it is so much easier to keep stealing and pan handling, and not paying taxes, and live where ever they want because this state lets them shit where ever they want and this in turn gives them absolutely no reason to become clean and sober, or to contribute to anything. Oregon is an amazing beautiful state and it is a shame that its citizens have felt so much sympathy for homeless people that they do not hold them accountable and enable them to keep their bad habits. This state has plenty of programs to help the homeless, but yet… I still find plenty of needles and caps laying on the ground, on stairs to the bridges, and along the river. I can’t even go outside without some one asking me for money and I have seen grocery stores and people being robbed. Also, how would Oregon catch up on a housing issue if this is the state known for letting homeless people do all of this? I believe a lot of transients come from out of state because Oregon is overly sympathetic and catering to their needs.

    1. Avatar Donald Price says:

      Ask the someone who is from Portland about Portland .
      My view is a much different one than many I’m sure.

      1. Avatar amy vegan says:

        please share

        1. Avatar Donald Price says:

          At 12 years old riding a bycicle to deliver newspaper’s in sellwood the cent of Ruth ashbrook bakery in the air .1978
          My mother lived on se 18th one block away from Mexico City restaurant. What street would 1802 be on ? I’ll continue this if someone could answer.

        2. Avatar Donald Price says:

          Children from North East Portland were bused to sellwood middle school . Children from Vietnam Cambodia Laos Thailand were my classmates .

        3. Avatar Donald Price says:

          The people who were the residents of North East Portland are not the people who can afford to live there now I assume.

  23. Avatar Jessica Stephenson says:

    How about these homeless people try doing something to get out of their situation. Part of the problem a lot of them expect to be helped and if they dont get it they complain. I’m not speaking for all of them. The drug use and mental illness is a big factor and there are a lot of them that choose that lifestyle and crime has gone up due to a lot of them.

    1. Avatar Donald Price says:

      In the 1980s the crime rate of Portland was what? Right behind new York City .a child could sleep in a doorway and who would care.its a much more compassionate place today. Sometimes the person you ride your bycicle past was forgotten long ago.

  24. Avatar amy vegan says:

    Managed camps must have hospital-grade disposal boxes for needles and now, before managed camps are built, RIGHT NOW, all places were people who inject congregate should have hospital grade disposal containers for needles. If that means installing needle disposal boxes on street corners, we need that. NO PORTLANDER should have to worry about a loosely discarded needle stick through their shoes or other body parts (eg: hitting a needle with a bike tire and it flies up and hits a rider in the face or arm). Also Portland public bathrooms in parks ARE NOT CLEAN OR SAFE. We need SAFE AND CLEAN PUBLIC RESTROOMS for Portlanders enjoying outdoor recreation. If that means I have to pay $2 or $3 to pee in a safe, clean, attended bathroom, I will. London has clean, safe pay toilets. The city should follow London’s model.

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