A major installation of what appears to be hostile infrastructure has popped up on NW Broadway in downtown Portland.
Someone has erected over two dozen staple bike racks on the public sidewalk right-of-way on Broadway between Flanders and Glisan in what is likely an attempt to prevent people from erecting tents and creating an encampment. The industrial building is owned by Schnitzer Properties, which owns 27 million square feet of real estate in six western states and is headquartered in Portland.
The company’s website claims their approach to business is “Local. Personal. Neighborly.”
Wikipedia defines hostile architecture as, “an urban-design strategy that uses elements of the built environment to purposefully guide or restrict behaviour. It often targets people who use or rely on public space more than others, such as youth, poor people, and homeless people.”
Schnitzer Properties President Jordan Schnitzer is a very influential local businessman and philanthropist who has been an outspoken critic of Portland’s response to the homelessness crisis. Last year he expressed support for People for Portland, a political lobbying group that funded candidates who promised to take a more heavy-handed approach to addressing camps downtown.
Before these racks appeared, someone had strung a heavy-gauge chain between trees in the same location in an attempt to accomplish a similar goal.
When we covered the City of Portland’s new bike lanes on this section of Broadway in 2020, we noted the presence of many people living on the sidewalk in this same location.
The building itself isn’t an active destination on that side of the street, so there has never been demand for that much bike parking.
After a reader shared the photo with us Friday, we asked a spokesperson for the Portland Bureau of Transportation if they were responsible for the installation. Interim Communications Director Hannah Schafer said they were not even aware of the racks before we reached out. Schafer also clarified that PBOT did not permit the installation.
Asked what PBOT will do about it, Schafer said, “We’re still determining next steps.”
We’ve reached out to Schnitzer Properties and will update this story when we hear back.
UPDATE, 6/3 at 8:14 am: This post originally referred to People for Portland as a “dark money group”. While I believe that’s a factually accurate description, it seems to have distracted a lot of people. So I changed it to “political lobbying group”.
Good story! Thanks for reporting it.
Hello, Michael. I think Jonathan should also be commended for breaking the story first. The Mercury, who reported the story with their (IMO) characteristic bias and snark, even acknowledged this. Regardless, I appreciate local journalism. To walk my talk, I should become a BP subscriber again (and drop one streaming service).
I dropped my BP subscription last year, in part because of some of the vitriolic comments I was reading. To his credit, Jonathan stepped up and started moderating the comments. I assume this takes a lot of effort on the part of the BP team. It also seems that they work 24×7?
Although my bicycles have been gathering dust for many years now, as an avid walker, I find BP is my best local source for information on matters pertaining to active and public transportation. I don’t think our other dailies or alt-weeklies come close to matching the breadth and depth of the reporting on BP on these subjects.
One more plug. I learned much from your housing column on BP several years ago. Perhaps you could submit a guest article on the final outcome of RIP/RIP2 as it pertains to active transportation and housing affordability. As a senior now, I’d be interested in that perspective, and as a father of three adult children in their 20s and 30s, I’d be interested in that perspective as well. I promise not to pester you via email 🙂
Finally, I now see other local news channels have picked up Jonathan’s story and it’s spinning up nationally.
Michael, if you should write a BP guest article, I think referencing Portland’s Shelter to Housing Continuum (STHC) Project would more closely align with the thread of Jonathan’s article. I liked what I read on P:NW.
However, if you do address RIP/RIP2, in addition to my earlier requests, I’d be interested in knowing how many additional housing units have been added since RIP/RIP2 passed and/or what the future projections are. I haven’t seen any counts, but I’ll admit I haven’t looked too deeply.
And please let us know how many, if any, of those units are any degree of “affordable”, or even just cheaper than what they replaced.
I read your Dwell article today. Good work. Thanks!
Good for Schnitzer! More bike infrastructure and less opportunity for drug camping. It’s a win-win. Too bad the city doesn’t step up and do this, but I guess they’re too cowed by the homeless industrial complex.
You know it takes more money playing whack-a-mole with hostile infrastructure and over policing than it would to just fund public housing right?
It does? Then why won’t the city do it? Good reason to not elect the same people making this decision if what you say is true.
Good reason to vote Hardesty out of office.
Re-electing Ryan is joke also.
Schnitzer has given up, if the wealthy business owners in the city can’t put pressure on them to do something, this is what you get.
It’s Metro too. Really a damn shame that Terri Preeg Riggsby got defeated. Portland voters have elected a bunch of folks with thin resumes. Which of them is good with a spreadsheet? Knows how to keep a critical eye on big budget projects? Their job is to spend large sums of money.
Yes – all the more reason we need to change the form of city government and get people with actual budgeting experience managing bureaus.
The mayor could do that tomorrow. The problem isn’t our form of government, it’s our poor leadership.
Run Betsy run?
Don’t know about you, but I’ve been waiting 10 years for the City/County to do something meaningful for the non traditionally housed.
I really don’t blame Schnitzer for doing this because I, and maybe them, are fed up with the conditions out there. Afterall, if someone as powerful as Schnitzer is in this town couldn’t get the City/County to do something then us “little people” sure as heck won’t despite all the tax money available.
Schnitzer probably sees this as the cheapest option and they don’t want to actually pay for the real solution (i.e. actually providing housing).
The money is there, the willpower is not. Let people live on the streets, your idea of compassion is pathetic.
It’s my city to and not for the we homeless to trash. I am from a blue collar midwestern town. People struggle but we didn’t it have this crap to look at.
Bet the housing costs in your midwestern town were a lot lower than here
If it was money that would fix this it would be fixed. Places like Seattle, San Francisco and Los Angeles, with far more money than Portland would have fixed it. It has little to do with money.
Oddly enough, Utah did fix their problem. If they can do it’s pretty clear it’s not hard and also, there is a blueprint we could use. *** Moderator: deleted last sentence, name calling. ***
Taxpayers passed a 200 million dollar bond and Dan Ryan has come up with 32 tiny homes..
So call Dan Ryan if you have a problem….
It’s not Schnitzer’s job to provide housing to everyone living on the street.
They don’t own the sidewalk.
Funny, if the sidewalk in front of my house “breaks” I’m the one on the hook, not the City and yet I don’t “own” it too.
What have you done Alex? Jordan Schnitzer paid 5 million to buy the former wapato jail to become a homeless shelter, now called Bybee Lakes Hope Center despite opposition from all elected officials in Portland. What have you done Alex?
No offense, but “non-traditionally housed” kinda sounds like “drug-addicted squatters suffering from mental illness blocking public spaces” trying to turn itself into an ideological-semantic pretzel. Just saying. Doing something meaningful for the actual people being referenced here does not mean offering housing, as the evidence of our eyes tells us they are incapable of self-care or care for any housing offered. Harm-reduction for the rest of society and humane institutionalization are unfortunately the only honest solutions for most these poor souls and our poor city. Magical thinking won’t solve this.
Portland has a plan to fund public housing?
The region has spent almost $1B on homelessness since 2015.
Site your information please….
Rather play whack-a-mole. At least it is fun.
Really? You got data on that bro, or just your opinion?
So by “public housing” you mean something like Cabrini-Green right? Cuz housing is the answer!
You’re completely overlooking the serious concerns of decriminalization of heroin and meth in the state of oregon. Portland/Multco being the softest on crime, that naturally attracts unhoused addicts whose plan of supporting their habit is property crime.
We can’t just eliminate them, however by making it tougher for these people to concentrate in Portland by making it harder to pitch tents, commit property crime and such, we won’t have as big of an addict colony. This increases the risk and cost of doing business for drug dealers. Together with making Narcan less available, we can’t eliminate, but manage the problem.
Have you seen what happens to public housing when the folks occupying don’t have respect for themselves let alone property? I have, total destruction because for most, it’s a mental health/drug issue not a means issue. For the minority that are looking to change, housing would be good.
They must not see it from their safe and clean zoom meetings
Support Schnitzer 110%! Hope to see more of these type of actions in coming weeks and months.
You need to think about this more. The folks who can’t camp there will camp somewhere else. This is just Schnitzer trying to drive them out of “his” space.
I understand a lot of people just want the homeless problem to disappear. But they aren’t going to disappear because they have nowhere to go. And the reason the city can’t solve the problem is largely because a lot of people object to providing them with a place to go. And they certainly object to that place being anywhere near them, just like Schnitzer.
About 50% are drug addicts according to the people that work with the homeless. No one wants them to disappear, they should be in treatment.
Should we let 2000 drug addicts destroy the quality of life for the 1 million that live in the metro area?
You are the one who thinks this will disappear by magic I guess, no solution except leave them alone?
There are plenty of people with substance abuse and mental health problems who aren’t homeless. And, according to your figures, half the people who are homeless aren’t drug addicts. Treatment isn’t going to get them off the streets.
The “put them in drug treatment” is just another way of saying get them out of sight. Its not even clear that “treatment” is likely to get the addicts off drugs, much less off the streets. But as far as I know, there aren’t enough drug treatment spaces to handle that half of the problem either. There is a waiting list for voluntary drug treatment.
The reality is no politician is going to win votes by solving the actual problem of homeless public camping by providing attractive spaces for people to camp that have toilets, showers, garbage collection and security. That is just “enabling” people who don’t deserve it.
Its not that the solution isn’t obvious. Its that it does not satisfy angry, mean-spirited people who just want those people to go away and dominate the media’s political reality show.
I am not sure how Schnitzer’s bike racks are getting people into drug treatment or off the streets. But it certainly appears to satisfy people’s anger.
“The reality is no politician is going to win votes by solving the actual problem of homeless public camping by providing attractive spaces for people to camp that have toilets, showers, garbage collection and security. That is just “enabling” people who don’t deserve it.”
Haha, and that is only because the homeless industrial complex is run by “housing first” advocates. There have been so many options over the years just like what you describe and at every turn it is labeled as inhumane, a concentration camp, or other pejorative for what would be so many times better than sleeping in the mud.
The “housing first” slogan has sort of been hijacked by the affordable housing developers who build quality subsidized housing for middle class workers who can’t afford market rate housing. We need to be doing that, but it isn’t going to solve the problem of people who have nowhere to live.
The reason people call them concentration camps is because the proposals never rely on attracting people by being attractive. Instead they are proposals to meet the bare minimum legal requirements so courts will allow people to be arrested for sleeping anywhere else.
In other words, they are concentration camps that people will be forced into. Gets “those” people out of sight.
More like get people off the street. Shelters are intended as short term solutions to give people a place to sleep while they get access to the services we are paying so much to provide. Our one-party government is putting our taxes to good use, right?
Off the street and out of sight. The idea that you can solve the problem with “short term” solutions is one of the reasons the problem is never really solved. Its a permanent problem.
As far as I know, neither the Portland City Council nor the Multnomah County Commission nor Metro are partisan bodies. The idea that you will get different results by slapping a different party label on someone is absurd.
Most people vote for the person, not the party. Its just that the people they vote for are all in one party. And in Portland that means the ones that win elections are all Democrats.
A lot is broken at the state level as well, which is all Democratic, and will be even more so post-gerrymamdering.
Wow.. the only angry and mean spirited people are the ones who don’t want to fix the problem.
I want them off the streets and into treatment and housing of some sort (does not mean apartments necessarily, that is old thinking about a new problem).
You and the city councilors don’t want to fix the problem. We have all kinds of money to do it.
Society has no moral obligation to support people who just want to get high and live on the streets.
It’s not about morals and I don’t believe that most of the people actually want to only be high, or actually want to live on the street. Unfortunately they haven’t found a way to not do those things.
It’s a waste of human potential that there isn’t a clear way for people living on the street to sort themselves out. Drugs are much more available than drug treatment. If the door is locked that is called a jail, not treatment.
Piles of trash on the street are just the underbelly of the way we live now. On average Portland residents produce about 500 pounds of trash a year. It doesn’t go “away”. It goes to Arlington, Oregon in diesel trucks and we pay people to bury it in the desert.
Campers largely lack access to the first step of the bury-in-the-desert plan so they wind up living with the trash.
I totally support providing free drug treatment to anyone willing to take it. I support providing food and shelter to everyone who needs it. If your lifestyle requires something different, find someone who will tolerate your behavior, and rent a campsite from them.
I’m presently able to finance my habits, thank you.
One has to wonder why the City hasn’t made trash recepticals available more widely and made sure they are emptied a lot more frequently.
I’ve seen a few porta-potties around, but why haven’t we progressed to having public restrooms available around town?
And you can’t blame him. I have personally installed un-permitted fences in public spaces in my neighborhood to prevent campers from setting up. We had a drug camp for months that was bringing in stolen vehicles and waking up neighbors at ungodly hours. Never again.
This situation reminds me of the pushback other downtown monied interests encountered when they proposed using Terminal 1 (2016) and the vacant USPS site (2021) to build shelters for people in need. I snapped a photo of the 14-acre USPS lot when I walked by it yesterday as a reminder to check on its final status. For those who don’t know, it’s across the street from the hostile bike architecture. IMO, it’s unfortunate that neither site worked out, but it’s fortunate that the monied interests were able to repurpose Bybee and build Harbor of Hope.
A Bike Rack to nowhere is not a win for anyone. This is just vigilanteism which happens to use bike infrastructure as the weapon. Western cities need to deal with the homelessness crisis in their cities, and not just in long term reform for more housing availability/affordability by whatever means, but in the right-now-term of people losing faith in the system to provide basic safety and comfort. This is perhaps the friendliest way for an unsatisfied local to take out their frustration, and the city needs to step to the plate before things go to a more impactful level. I’m not even sure if it matters particularly which form that response takes (and some are worse than others) but IMO mayors in SF, LA, Seattle and Portland (among others, perhaps) need to be addressing like this like a hurricane just hit their city.
Exactly. That area has become disgraceful. Full of drug dealers, guns, and I have seen a stabbing on Northwest West park and Davis Which I reported to the police.
The problem here is that its not their sidewalk space to claim. Its a public space! Sure, they have made it unusable for homeless camping (congrats if thats the goal!), but have also taken the space away from pedestrians while also making it look a bit silly and garish all the same time. Maybe Schnitzer Co. could put their resources behind a group with an established record of efficacy in dealing with less fortunate? Or maybe just pay their taxes to support civic services? Oof-dah…The rich get richer, the poor take a picture…
yeah- but what happens when the tents block the entire sidewalk, or tent in the bike lane. what happens when they make a tent in your only door, and trap your people, by blocking you in. when homeless make it un-useable for everyone else- is that ok.
If downtown businesses go away- would that help? the camps, the drugs, the crime, hurt the same infrastructure needed to fund and help the homeless. its such a catch 22. the bike racks in the article take only as much space away from pedestrians as campers take everyday- if not less. in my opinion the sidewalks of portland were not intended to live on, or be a home- they are for walking, sitting, playing- kids, families, people. sidewalks are not homes right?
there is a way to let people live- but also not to make it scary for kids to walk on the sidewalk . i think.
Thanks for the clarification, I was under the impression this was somehow passed through the PBOT review and permitted. Good to know.
What would be nice is for folks at Schnitzer Properties to actually activate this building and/or develop it with the much needed housing in Central City, so bike racks like this actually get some use. Until then: what a shame.
How could Schnitzer attract tenants to the property? Downtown is so unsafe that a tiny house village had to be disbanded because of the frequent shooting. Businesses are plagued by vandalism and theft. I suspect bicycles would quickly disappear or dissemble if left parked there. In all regards, what a shame.
Should read “disassemble”
Its not too surprising that the tool-sheds (i.e. tiny houses) that were built downtown for houseless people to live in didn’t work out. Folks thought it was a big, generous gesture to give fellow Portland citizens experiencing homelessness little shacks to live in in a gravel parking lot, by the train tracks, next to the abandoned bus station. Give the less fortunate fancier shacks than they already have? Mercy “droppeth as the gentle rain from heaven!” Ah, lost track of my point, but doesn’t that whole arrangement seem a tad icky/arrogant/unproductive?
One wonders if they weren’t setup to fail. That way the City/County could say something was tried “and see it failed.” All to the “housing first” nonsense they keep pushing.
It should be “safety and food first”. I like the concept of a barracks/dorm type setup for the 1st step for folks. Of course the City/County could be doing both at the same time (or even other ideas) but won’t.
Hard to attract tenants to a low-slung commercial space when the entire sidewalk ROW out front is blocked by tents. Not a lot of potential paying customers in this area, unless you are selling something illicit.
I’d guess that a one-story commercial or industrial building doesn’t pencil out against a multi-story building in that neighborhood. That’s the clear trend any place within a mile of NW Broadway and Flanders St. Schnitzer is most likely not looking for a tenant for the building as it stands.
I’m 100% in support of this. Well done! They are doing what the city won’t. Besides, who here could complain about bike racks?
Comments like these are so utterly disingenuous that, instead of being published, they should be disregarded ***moderator: deleted the last two words, name calling.***
My apologies for having an opinion other than yours. Millions of dollars thrown at the issue and things just keep getting worse. How about some accountability from the so called houseless advocates that get huge sums of our money? No instead we have to install boulders, bike racks, and hire private security. Or do we just keep going down this road of “compassion”?
*** Moderator: Deleted comment, this is getting too hot, let’s move on ***
What is disingenuous about this and why is it trolling?
What’s your solution Toad?
More tent camping? Very compassionate of you.
Do you help out these folks?
Ever helped clean up a campsite?
Do anything to improve the situation?
Keep the attacks coming folks. I can take it knowing I’m far from alone in being sick and tired of watching Portland’s livability being intentionally destroyed.
Mine wasn’t deleted because of an attack on you. Just my opinion on other folks in this thread.
Sounds like hostile commentexture.
Ah yes – causing more hassles/challenges/stress for homeless people will certainly solve all the problems. If only our city officials would base their policies on what a multinational steel company did on the public sidewalk in front of their office on a tuesday!
i find this comment not constructive.
Sometimes better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission. We could use some more bike racks in East Portland. Perhaps the 205 MUP.
If Schnitzer Properties were truly serious about solving homelessness in the Portland Region, perhaps they could use some of their capital to build a shelter. Instead, they are simply seeking to “protect” their investments from the scary homeless people on their doorsteps. It’s depressing and predictable, Jordan Schnitzer is a trust fund baby, who inherited his father’s real estate empire. He doesn’t actually care about helping homeless people, or about the working class people who live and work in Portland.
Pretty sure Schnitzer donated more money to the Bybee Lakes Hope Center than the vast majority of people will ever possess in their entire lives.
Right, because Jordan Schnitzer already owned the property. I don’t have a lot of sympathy for prison landlords personally. And someone donating more money than the majority of people will possess in their entire lives is not exactly emblematic of a well-functioning society.
Prison landlord? Give me a freaking break. He bought the property from Multnomah County, who built it but never actually operated it as a prison. In fact it was never used for anything until private citizens turned it into what it is today. Prison landlord…LOL.
He bought the prison property because metro refused to turn it into homeless shelter/ housing
This is a pretty big mischaracterization of what happened with the ownership of this property. It was built as a prison but never used as such. Schnitzer bought the unused prison for the purpose of using as a shelter. Calling him a ‘prison landlord’ is a very big spin on the fact pattern here.
The conversation about how to deal with the humanitarian crisis in Portland is challenged, but your libel here is not a helpful addition. When I ride around town I’m seeing more children in camps than I’ve seen before. Someone providing warm shelter to families that has sanitation, food and services is hardly something to attack.
Shame on you.
Let’s not forget how much the city was spending every year keeping the lights on in that big empty Wapato building and yet finding all kinds of reasons it wasn’t acceptable to turn it into a shelter
The city spent nothing!
It was constructed and owned by Multnomah County.
You should at least know who to blame.
OK, I blame the county.
A dingo ate my Bybee.
It’s not the job of Schnitzer Properties to solve homelessness.
Actually, it is. He and his ilk have rigged the game in their favor. At this point, we should take all of his properties through eminent domain and turn them into homeless shelters. Rich purple get rich through exploitation, otherwise known as slavery or living on minimum wage!
So you’re saying that “he and his ilk” put the needle in the arms of drug addicts or lit their meth for them? Please. Ridiculous attitudes like yours are what continues to enable the drug addiction epidemic and what are eventually going to push voters into voting for regressive politicians.
I’m not a trust fund baby and I have no interest in helping the “homeless” in this city.
The problem is unsolvable because it is never-ending. More homeless folk follow every one that we house, it is the result of the way capitalism functions in America. The rich get richer; the poor get poorer. People are priced out of housing. Small Businesses are priced out of locations. They can’t flourish and hire employees, it never ends. Homelessness is America’s great shame. The fact that it is also killing one of the few vibrant downtown areas in the nation, here in Portland, is tragic.
The problem IS solvable, but no one can predict that pesky Yellowstone Caldera, so the timeline is ambiguous right now.
Schnitzer bought the Wapato jail and donated it to the city and they’re now using it as a homeless shelter. Next suggestion?
Schnitzer leases the property to the non-profit which operates Bybee Lakes Hope Center. No donation to the city.
I can hardly blame Schnitzer, the camps are a health, crime & sanitation problem for innocent landowners. I’m glad that the illegal actions against these camps (and people in them) have not escalated to vigilantism (only saying this because I haven’t heard about vigilantism occurring, but I have no doubt it has). At any rate, I can understand why someone with means would spend money to disincentive the camps from cropping up.
They are a health, crime and sanitation problem for everyone who lives in the city. Schnitzer is just moving a problem off his property and onto someone else’s to make more money. He deserves scorn for that, not praise
Sidewalks are public property
Permissive “laws,” incompetent city management, rampant mental illness, rampant addiction. . . . There are plenty of causes for the “hostage crisis” that Portland finds itself in. Major props to Schnitzer. He should run for Mayor!
The article seems to focus on the Evil Capitalist Corporation and their actions against homeless people. Do we hold the same contempt for TriMet when they install benches with armrests in the middle to deter people sleeping on them?
I think this is a pretty nakedly false equivalence. Schnitzer Properties doesn’t own the right of way they are installing the bike parking on. TriMet can and should be criticized for many of their design choices, benches with armrests in the middle are a little annoying sure. But a private real estate firm unilaterally deciding what to do with public space is definitely worse.
The drug addicts tents don’t own the right-of-way either. Letting drug addicts decide what to do with public space is actually much worse than a private real estate company, one who has a very vested interest in making things better, not worse.
This is tactical urbanism. Sorry you don’t like it.
Schnitz Loud PDX.
We may not own the public right-of-way, but under city code, the adjacent property owners are actually responsible for maintaining the sidewalk and the street trees. I’ve spent thousands of dollars on trimming the city’s street trees adjacent to my house (a corner lot) and additional thousands of dollars on replacing sections of sidewalk disrupted by street tree roots. I’m guessing you’re not a property owner, Andrew.
Or those beautiful power poles in the middle of narrow city sidewalks?
The power poles are regulated by the state and city and pay for the right to use the right of way. Bad example.
The armrests are good, keeping seats available for wary transit users resting between rides.
I became very wary of some other transit users resulting in eventually completely abandoning my use of public transit.
So no one is camping on the bike lane. The sidewalk is clean. People appear able to use the sidewalk. And there is more bike parking.
Bike Portland Blog comes out against bike parking; refers to staple racks as “hostile infrastructure”.
BP apparently prefers people sleep in tents.. no other explanation for this attitude.
So caring, so compassionate, wouldn’t actually want solutions….
(If you’re not being facetious…) Most “hostile architecture” elements are not hostile in themselves–how they’re used is what makes that term accurate. Saying that Bike Portland is against bike parking for calling these “hostile architecture” would be like saying I’m against recorded music, garden sprinklers or rocks if the owner had used those instead of bike racks, and I’d called them “hostile architecture”.
And just like that, the sidewalk is 6 ft narrower. Like removing benches from a bus stop lest someone sleep on them, it’s amazing how people would prefer that nobody have access to a public good rather than let homeless people use it.
Six feet narrower? Maybe, but now it’s actually usable. When the sidewalk and bike lane were covered by tents and trash, they were totally unusable. Now they are at least functional, working pieces of infrastructure that are accessible to all. This is the intended purpose of sidewalks and streets. The homeless DO have access to this public good. They can use it for transportation, just like everyone else. Allowing it to be used as a campsite for a handful of people effectively denied the use to all others (including other unhoused people that presumably would have liked to be able to walk to Bud Clark Commons without having to go out into the middle of Broadway to get around the tents).
Tents aside, the section of the sidewalk where the bike racks are was not really usable in its previous state. The presence of street trees and street light poles prevented it from being used as a through corridor, the lack of benches etc meant that all you could really do was stand there. Now there are bike racks, which seems like a better use of space than a slab of concrete. How can you say with a straight face that “nobody (has) access”? Does nobody have access to other areas of town where there are sidewalk bike racks?
It’s because the homeless situation is beyond incomprehensible in Portland! I’m to a point now where I’d much rather look at shitty concrete boulders, fences, and bike racks than derelict tents, trash, and needles. It sucks, but cut access off to all public spaces except for the people who are willing to pay for.
Get help or get out.
Where do I go? Somewhere else that’s not here.
Housing first is a joke.
People need mandatory jail time to sober up.
We need sobering centers.
People need forced drug rehab.
We need to get rid of the bottle bill — why do you think we have camps around bottle returns?
For those that won’t seek help, it must be made very uncomfortable to remain in Portland.
Usable quantities of drugs need to be made illegal again.
We’re spending so much money and nothing is changing. We argued that arresting people was a waste of money. Was it really?
Sweeps are necessary.
I’ve lost my compassion and believe many of the drug afflicted have destroyed their lives so much that they’re really now just a soulless individual operating from the most primitive parts of their brain. They’ll never function independently in society and will need someone to hold their hand through ever step in life. As long as the drugs are available they’ll continue to live in their trash and feces.
I hate that I’ve turned into a person that believes this stuff.
This seems like a fine solution. I found this write-up a bit heavy handed- implying this is not neighborly, calling People for Portland “dark money group”. Regardless, this is undoubtedly an attempt to keep our public space clear. That may be detrimental to a handful of people who seek to occupy it at the exclusion of everyone else, but it is a win for people using mobility devices, people who have reduced vision, anyone wanting to use the sidewalk, people biking. The homeless crisis is desperate, but our public realm is being assaulted, and campers are being given a pass to claim public space, most significantly at the expense of the working poor and the people experiencing a disability. I find it very privileged to imply that sidewalks should be allowed to be closed at random for long periods of time. If you you are able bodied and can walk or bike in the street or cross the road mid block, it is not that big of a deal. Imagine navigating our sidewalks while blind or in a wheelchair. Imagine relying on transit/bike/sidewalk and local parks for recreation because you cannot afford a car.
IMO, a fair critique of Schnitzer is that they bank property, sometimes keeping them in poor condition and neglect to activate them or redevelop them. However, it asking a lot for someone to do more with a space when for long stretches of the last couple, the space was unable to be accessed. That sidewalk and bike lane were completely occupied- how is commercial real estate agent supposed to show prospective tenants that space? Schnitzer is far from perfect, but this seems like a civic benefit and an act of neighborliness to me.
So it’s fine that one of the wealthiest developer/investors/art collectors in the region unilaterally decides how public space should be used? This is only really a “good thing” in the very micro sense of one block of real estate downtown. The homeless camp that was displaced by this will just move a few blocks over.
It is absolutely horrible that sidewalks, paths, and generally non-car space in Portland has been completely abandoned. But this is decidedly not a good solution to that – all it does is perpetuate the status quo, just not on a Schnitzer Property. If the City of Portland installed bike racks in the space where every single homeless encampment is, would it improve the situation? Of course not.
This is a bad solution by a greedy real estate group acting in their own self-interest to move the homeless people off the fringe of their property, and onto the fringe of someone else’s property.
No you’re right, it would be better to let drug addicts place their tents wherever so the value of all real estate goes down. Then Jordan can call up Multnomah county and appeal the millions of dollars he pays annually in property taxes because the buildings aren’t worth what they once were, largely due to the city’s incompetence at electing qualified managers of the cities resources. Then the city will have to cut services, which will make everything worse, not better, and more building owners will appeal their taxes, and more services will be cut. I don’t know if most people in Portland realize how close to this vicious cycle we are.
Art collectors are the worst
Jordan has done a heck of a lot to try and help the homeless situation. Actual solutions.
People camping out there are unilaterally deciding how to use it, also.
Andrew, why don’t you form and run a non-greedy real estate group? If it’s so easy to make a profit that you can fund homeless services in addition to running your real estate business, I’m sure you can attract likeminded investor/benefactors.
The homeless will be displaced, they will move two blocks over, then two blocks over again, and then again and again, until they leave Portland. Finally, we have a policy approach that will work. Let Idaho figure this one out.
Well put. It’s outrageous that any sidewalk or path is allowed to be blocked for a minute let alone the months that we allow in Portland. And to see “bike advocates” cheering the loss of public facilities? These folks need a reality check. I shouldn’t be shut out of a business or residence just because someone thought it would be a nice place to sleep.
Which “bike advocates” have been cheering the loss of public facilities?
Some people who used to identify as “bike advocates” have stated that they have moved on to being more advocates for our most vulnerable citizen or some such.
But are they “cheering the loss of public facilities”?
How does filling the space with bike racks make the sidewalk accessible to people with poor vision or people using mobility devices. A bunch of metal bike racks lined up on the sidewalk are an obstruction to anyone trying to travel over the sidewalk, especially someone with reduced vision or mobility.
This is as ugly as it is embarrassing.
Was your comment meant to be published 3 weeks ago when the entirety of NW Broadway was a sprawling meth camp? Do you really think the “before” photo is preferable?
Obviously not. No one thinks that a sprawling meth camp is preferable to bike parking. The issue is clearly that simply moving an encampment one block over does nothing to improve conditions anywhere in the city outside the one block that was just cleared.
“No one thinks that a sprawling meth camp is preferable to bike parking.”
I don’t think that’s true, Andrew. There seems to be a sizable number of people (a minority, but an activist minority) who think the status quo is just fine. That’s why people like Toadslick don’t respond when pressed for follow up, or any details on what the solution should be.
Their answer seems to be “we’ll just wait for the city government to build enough public housing to take care of all the people sleeping in tents.” This ignores a few unfortunate realty checks:
1) The City took 6 years to build about 650 public housing units (bond passed in 2016, on track to be delivered by the end of this year). At that rate, it will take about 46 years to build 5,000 units (the low end estimate of the most recent point in time count).
2) Public housing is horribly mismanaged, and will never be the panacea they want it to be. Just look at the article from yesterday’s Oregonian about the lawsuit filed against Reach CDC.
3) We aren’t going to overthrow capitalism and install a socialist utopia in our lifetimes. Just like with the hardcore libertarian vision, the human beings who would create and manage such a society don’t actually exist.
And I’m not even touching the effects of trauma caused by drugs, abuse, chronic homelessness, etc that would have to be navigated in a massive public housing scheme.
Meanwhile, the abject suffering and misery we see daily on the streets is viewed as an acceptable temporary state on the way to paradise (see point 3 above). I find it a despicably inhumane position to take, but as long as we have a crop of politicians who are afraid someone will be mean to them on Twitter, this is what we are stuck with.
At the moment I have very little hope for the future.
It is true. I don’t think even your “activist minority” who are enforcing the status quo would try and argue that a drug encampment is better than bike parking in general. I would also maybe question what kind of “activist minority” is trying to uphold the status quo. I don’t really think that the status quo is upheld by some nebulous activist minority, it’s upheld by big corporations, rich landowners and intransigent politicians.
It’s not about an “overthrow [of] capitalism” (at least for me, I won’t speak for anyone else), it’s about simply providing services for people so they don’t end up suffering. The entire Portland Region needs to build more homes, temporary shelters, everything. I think an anti-camping plus big temporary shelters law (maybe many smaller ones, whatever) would be entirely appropriate. It’d at least be trying something new at this point.
I have never met a real person who has held this view, and I’ve met a lot of people although I don’t really run in the anarchist circles. Accelerationists are stupid but very few. I am not entirely sure that you are directing your ire in the right places. Do local politicians fail to act because they are afraid of someone being mean to them on Twitter? Or do they fail to act because they are a part of a system that values having 15 studies, 6 pilot programs and 8 subcommittees over building a block of apartment buildings?
Anyways, my larger issue with this whole affair is more that it just doesn’t do anything to help and people are jumping to defend it. Sure, I can understand why it was done, it clears out the front of the property. Just don’t really think it’s worth praising some rich guy over.
I mean, really? MultCo, Metro, and CoP are all led by people who are adamant that allowing people to camp literally wherever and do whatever they want is what we need to do until the 10,000+ completely free units we need exist.
Well, it does do something, it keeps one of the ugliest, most dangerous, polluted blocks in the city somewhat clean.
The reality of the situation is that we can’t afford to take care of the nations homeless/drug addicted/mentally ill. We’ve got to change Portland’s destination status so that we can focus on the need in our own community. Getting rid of the ‘do whatever’ street camping is the first step towards. In a shelter, in a hospital, in a house, or not here should be their only choices.
The human suffering caused by the scrooge-like property class makes be burn with anger. However, the petulant whinging of the property class about trash, vandalism, and graffiti is more than acceptable — it’s pure schadenfreude.
I didn’t realize that people renting their housing were unbothered by the trash and vandalism in Portland. I learn lots reading this forum!
How do you know it was moved one block over, maybe Jordan was extra generous and bought them all bus tickets to a new city where the cost of living is actually affordable and they can get one of the many available jobs. Oh wait, that’s not what they are actually looking for is it?
Most of the local ones are just waiting for some bike mechanic jobs to open up.
And yet you insult Schnitzer for opening Bybee Lakes and call him a prison landlord. That’s a real help to lots of people. Still a fraction of people needing help but something.
What happened to my lengthy reply to this comment?
Somehow it ended up in trash, I didn’t put it there. If anybody loses a comment speak up, like Sigma.
Agreed. One more reason to use Metro bond money for short-term emergency shelters.
It’s embarrassing that this was necessary.
What is you solution or suggestion? Do you want people to sleep in tents in squalor? I don’t get your responses here. You suggest nothing except derision for the concept of actually doing anything…
These bike racks are secured to the ground using standard hex nuts, which makes them worse than useless at actually securing your bike.
With handheld angle grinders in use all over Portland, is any staple rack really secure at this point?
Sounds like this is an easy to correct situation.
Better bring an angle grinder to smooth out the threaded rods sticking out of the concrete if you remove these racks. Those protruding rods would actually present a significant hazard.
How about the city gives them a regular traffic lane to set up camp in? Why must we always give up sidewalks, bike lanes, and multi use paths? The only time drivers give up anything is when the city spills paint and a truck full of plastic sticks all over the road.
Because people actually use the driving lanes.
Are you saying that people don’t walk in sidewalks or ride in bike lanes?
How about a citywide street rental permit program? If you want to park your car, truck, tent, POD, boat trailer, or any other object on the street, you have to buy a permit and pay a monthly rent, including for “temporary” loading and unloading of deliveries, buses stopping, and folks wanting to park their bikes. I bet we could raise lots of revenue.
We already pay for that with gasoline taxes and, to a lesser extent, vehicle registration fees.
Any mention of gasoline taxes in a bike blog kills the thread?
So we pay for it to a small extent and an even lesser extent–in other words, we are heavily, generously subsidized when we choose to use motor vehicles.
This is mostly due to uncaptured externalities, which are not what most people consider “subsidies”. Drivers pay most of the actual costs of the road system.
For the record, I am *strongly* in favor of internalizing external costs across a range of human activity, including the use of automobiles.
No, it’s not. And no, we don’t.
How do you think the roads, MUPs, and other bicycle infrastructure that we use are paid for?
Back when I lived in the inner southeast, I would have happily paid a monthly fee to have my own parking spot instead of having to park several blocks from my house.
PBOT did once upon a time try group homes for bike racks in East Portland, corralling them into private parking lots (with the owner’s permission). Some may still be there, mostly along 122nd. But as with any good idea in Portland, no good deed goes unpunished, and the program soon died.
I remember when this blog was pro-bicycling and pro-walking. You celebrated activists who painted DIY crosswalks, etc. You championed access for public infrastructure and empowered people who were afraid to walk or ride.
Fast forward 5 years and Mr. Maus is upset that there are too many bike racks and someone didn’t get permission. Really?
What about the way I wrote this post makes you think I’m upset at anything? I’ve shared facts.
These racks fit definition of hostile infrastructure. Schnitzer has publicly supported that group, which is by definition a dark money group.
So is Planned Parenthood.
Sorry why are bike racks hostile infrastructure now?
From the article: “Wikipedia defines hostile architecture as, “an urban-design strategy that uses elements of the built environment to purposefully guide or restrict behaviour. It often targets people who use or rely on public space more than others, such as youth, poor people, and homeless people.””
These bike racks (unlike almost all other bike racks) were put in to restrict camping on the sidewalk, not for parking bikes. People can argue about the validity of putting them in, but there’s no question that they fit that definition.
Open drug camps/dumps are a hostile take over the public right of way. “Dark money” is clearly a biased and pejorative description, not just a factual statement. Would you use the phrase “dark money” to describe all 501(c) groups who are allowed to collect anonymous donations?
ok. thanks for the feedback.
It is clear that you are out of touch with your audience which is fine… you have an audience which is what you want.
It is the biggest issue in Portland and effects cycling directly.
It is hard to fathom for most people that some people like you think people living in third world conditions is acceptable.
It is not kind or compassionate, a weird kind of badge of honor to accept this?
Maybe you can explain it.
Since bike racks elsewhere are not deemed “hostile”, it seems it is the installer’s perceived motive that is the issue, rather than the infrastructure itself. That gives this story a political edge, despite your rather unconvincing objections.
Ok, so call it Cynical Bike Infrastructure.
Well, yes, the installer’s motive is the whole point of “hostile arechitecture”. The components used are neutral or positive in their typical uses.
Calling the racks “hostile architecture” is–as Jonathan stated–a fact, unless you really believe that they were put there for parking bikes. I don’t recall any of the 200+ comments showing that anyone seriously believes that.
Thanks for this update, Jonathan. I was curious when I saw the racks being installed on 5/25. At that time, I was participating in a SOLVE cleanup of the North Parks Blocks and surrounding area.
My Schnitzer Bike Rack Story, Part II. I’m now at the stage of life when I can tell stories.
I just returned from a very long photo walk through Lloyd, Central Eastside, Eastbank Esplanade, Downtown (Better Naito), Chinatown, and Old Town. For those that know there are many homeless people camping in all of these areas. I continue to meet people living on the street who need medical help. This leads me to next.
After exploring Old Town (tbh had been a while), I walked by the Schnitzer Bike Rack, snapped some more photos, and then walked up to cross over the Broadway Bridge. I arrived shortly after it closed because of a medical emergency. I read that the PPB said a death investigation was underway. I don’t know the latest.
Anyway, I turned around and walked back into Old Town to catch bus 77. As I was waiting, I saw the bus stopped 1/2 block short of my stop. The driver opened the door and someone quickly left. Then I saw the passenger the driver evicted, a shirtless man who was screaming profanities and waving a bottle. As I approached him, I heard him start beating the bottle on a business (I think) window and then I heard broken glass. After a one-minute run, I caught 77 mid-block. I gathered there had been some excitement. Kudos to driver for keeping his cool. Other 77 riders on board might have other stories to tell.
I don’t think this is an uncommon story in certain areas in Portland but I could be wrong. I don’t know what type of medical help the man today needed. To me, it looked like mental illness or an addition or both. I can’t judge but I know both specialities require people. Or it could have been criminal behavior, which also requires people. So in addition to building/buying more shelters and transitional housing, I think we also need to spend money to entice medical professionals to come to Portland to work. Now, where was I again?
Part III/III of my yarn. After I got off of 77 to catch 70, in front of NewSeasons on NE Broadway x NE 33rd, I warily watched a man who [appeared to be ill and/or high] stalk people. I’m old(er) and gray now so I gotta consider that when I encounter people on the street who do not look like they like me. Can I say that here? FWIW, I don’t post on Nextdoor or any other social media platform except Flickr.
Otherwise it was a beautiful day for a long walk in Portland. Thanks to the folks who I talked to along the way. Many photos to go through now.
Im a nurse and pre-covid, wanted to volunteer my time by bicycling to different homeless encampments and provide first aid and health checks. I couldn’t find a secular(or even religious) non-profit to help me with this.
I very much appreciate your desire to help people living on our streets. During the SOLVE cleanup events I participate in, I take time to listen to the stories of the people who are homeless. Unfortunately, I’m not qualified to offer the people I meet any immediate support beyond listening. Sometimes I think that is helpful though.
I recently retired from Kaiser Permanente Northwest. I know from my work in 2020 with KP’s mental and behavioral health clinicians that there was a shortage of qualified individuals to address the company’s needs in both of those speciality areas. To be clear, I’m not representing KP.
If you’re able and still interested in providing volunteer medical services, perhaps Portland Street Medicine could use your help.
I’ve considered asking my oldest son, who was a combat medic, if he could do volunteer work for Portland Street Medicine. However, I don’t think he is current in his EMT training. He also does volunteer work for another organization and is the father of two little ones.
Finally, my wife does meal prep and delivery volunteer work for Transition Projects. It doesn’t appear that Transition Projects provides medical services, but I’m sure their volunteer coordinators could provide you with a referral.
An update to my earlier post: During a SOLVE cleanup event this morning, I saw that the bicycle racks were being replaced with planters. I took a snapshot of the work-in-progress. I can’t attach photos here, so if anyone is interested in the photo, let me know.
P.S. I doubt anyone except the BP moderator will see this, but I figured I’d go ahead and post regardless.
If you see someone installing these get their CCB#. They have to tell you that. They do not have to tell you who hired them, but if they are operating without a permit it is a big business risk for a contractor!
I did it and my CCB# is 1234567. If you’re a fan of my work I also clean gutters and do nice tile backsplashes.
Looks good to me. You might be barking up the wrong tree here.
Epic sarcasm. Kudos.
Give Schnitzer an “Alice” award for doing this!!!!
The great irony here is that our bikes get stolen so much downtown by the same people. And these staples are so crappy that they won’t protect the bikes either.
I wonder if Maus would call the PBB bike theft task force “hostile infrastructure” too? I mean, he LOVED when the police finally tried to do something about the homeless crimes against bikes.
Of course, due to funding, the bike theft task force is no longer in operation.
Why would he need a permit? The city allows all these *** moderator: substituted word -campers- *** to build structures without permits.
I figured the mods would be filtering out epithets
Why even sanitize this comment. Delete it and if Joemama99 wants to play they can play nice.
I didn’t see what was wrong with the original un-moderated comment.
You really don’t see anything wrong with labeling a group of people with the perjorative term, ‘bum?’ really? Come on. I mean, of course the city needs to step up its efforts to prevent the takeover of public resources and to provide places for people to live other than public sidewalks and streets. But you can’t just write off a whole group of people using dehumanizing language.
Or…now if the City tries to move a shed because it’s blocking a sidewalk or was erected without a permit, a camper can correctly say (if the City allows the racks to remain) “Why would I need a permit? You didn’t make Schnitzer Properties get one, and they obstructed a sidewalk for a whole block. And I didn’t bolt my shed into the sidewalk, either”.
These are entrepreneurs – WFH bike mechanics.
Second use of your bike mechanic joke in this thread.
Yes, some people out there are mechanics on their own bikes and their friends bikes. No, they don’t run serial numbers. They do have to carry their tools everywhere they go because you can’t lock a tent and unhoused people suffer from theft even more than the most aggrieved BP commentator.
They’re also artists, musicians, maybe even a few parents. Parenting would be especially difficult because even the most caring and careful person living on the street would be in jeopardy with CFS. Gardening? Forget about it.
Or perhaps the “cup is half full”… their installation of bike racks is a ‘public benefit’…and would make a very sturdy superstructure to place tent materials on while also making it easier to lock and secure personal property to (bikes, bike parts etc.) Folks living on the streets are creative types…lets see what happens before we all go crazy…other than the lack of ‘Portland process’ this time.
Looks like a win win for everyone. Allowing the stay camping to continue isn’t a solution for anyone.
Bike racks are better than boulders…
I’m not convinced. The carbon footprint of a bike rack is pretty high with all the energy required for making steel, adding a galvanized coating or paint, machining attachment devices, drilling holes in the pavement, etc. With a boulder, it’s just drop it in place and it’s reusable.
That might backfire… They look like ready-made tent frames to me. Just a tarp & a couple zip ties.
Many homeless people own bicycles. It looks like Schnitzer has provided infrastructure to hang a hammock, drape a tarp, and lock up a bicycle. Nothing hostile here, but of course some people will see hostility everywhere.
Many homeless people own a fleet of bicycles, if some of the camps are any indication.
Many of those bikes are, to put it in politically correct terms, being used without the authorization of their rightful owners.
I can definitely see how lining up a bunch of bike racks here would be perceived as a troll move by people whose priors tell them all actions taken by landlords are done cruelly and in bad faith, but Schnitzer has been trying to engage with this issue in reasonably constructive ways for years.
Public authorities are in over their heads despite access to ample financial resources and numerous attempts to manage public camping since at least the Occupy Wall Street protests under Mayor Adams in 2011. The status quo around unmanaged camping and open drug use in the public right of way is a problem the city, the county, Metro, and the state have been fumbling because there has never been a coherent plan and solid coordination among any of our leaders. (See sources linked below.)
That any Portlander, rich, poor or in between would feel like taking matters into their own hands should not be surprising. There a lot worse and unproductive ways to be “hostile” than installing some bike racks. I’ll take rogue bike racks over mobs launching firework mortar shells at public buildings and lowlifes smashing storefronts, supposedly in the name of justice, any day.
Comment of the month. Well said!
Be careful what you ask for, you might just get it.
I lived in Portland for 18 years, 1997-2015, and as the city “infilled” all the wooded areas used by hidden homeless campers, I noted how the city’s homeless campers gradually became more exposed. I moved out of Portland because I too was worried about becoming homeless, and ended up living in the very affordable Deep South city of Greensboro NC.
Rent much cheaper here and the homeless are much more hidden, but we still have a lot of homelessness. They would be more visible here if we didn’t have our local Gestapo police regularly harass and beat the homeless (and lots of other “undesirables”). Our local police is 80% white, Greensboro’s 300,000 residents are just over 50% black, and our homeless are 90% black, according to official statistics.
Many of our homeless end up leaving town to live in nearby rural areas – areas without much police, but also few if any medical and social services, no transit, horrible roads, condemned water quality, and a rich legacy of abject rural poverty and high crime. Naturally those same rural counties have the highest rates of suicide, meth and opioid addiction, low educational attainment, and high unemployment and underemployment rates.
Most of our homeless try to live near where they grew up, where they have family, and where they can most likely eke out an existence, but some roam and visit or live in other communities – I knew of a few that even moved to Portland Oregon – and most will avoid cities and counties that have reputations for having sadistic Gestapo policing, Brunswick GA and Columbia SC for example, reflections of the 1950s, 60s, and 70s when homelessness was still officially illegal and one really could be jailed for being homeless (as well as being addicted or homosexual).
And so I think about how we as humans treat the least well off in both our communities and in our society at large. Do we create sanitized versions of our communities that require expensive heavy-handed policing and making vagrancy illegal as we did right after the end of the civil war (think chain gangs, Mark Twain and Charles Dickens stories, and all those Western outlaws), or do we build compassionate societies that allow for some open camping, begging and vagrancy, as in medieval Europe? Why do we regard that our homeless should be out of sight and out of mind when so little of our history hasn’t had open homelessness?
Just a quick reminder that you can be arrested in portland for vagrancy, alone. I know because I have. Charges are often dropped and you get released but all the same, it is not legal to be homeless. You cannot sleep in your car, you cannot sleep on the sidewalk, you cannot cover yourself with a blanket or anything blanket like while sitting in a park etx. These events, currently, all all pandemic related. This got blown up because of the the pandemic (or exasperated if you will). It was always an issue but like you mentioned, people would go to the woods and be ok the outskirts. Then cops would come root them out and essentially bring people back in toward the city near resources, however it brings the needs for solutions to the front of public awareness.
A solid solution would be great, but I suspect it’s going to take multiple solid solutions to repair the post-pandemic city.
Thanks for a bringing a different point of view!
this comment is awesome.
Comment of the week.
is anyone on this thread a portlander for 80 years? as an aside id love to hear about the camps in what is now the north park blocks. i heard they were epic. – sw 3rd avenue was thick as the red light district. and opium dens were still huge. can of worms?
“That any Portlander, rich, poor or in between would feel like taking matters into their own hands should not be surprising.”
The new ‘We Heart Portland’ organization that Willamette Week recently reported on comes to mind.
Coincidentally, the story ran the day I was helping SOLVE with a cleanup in the North Park Blocks and happened to see the bicycle racks being installed in front of the Schnitzner property.
From the organization’s Facebook page: “We Heart Portland is an action-based, boots-on-the-ground movement that organizes trash cleanups in our public spaces and offers a helping hand to those in need.”
I’m closely watching the new organization to see how they fare. For now, however, I’m going to keep helping SOLVE.
You need a housing first solution and stop wasting money with being meanies. Give them a city that actually bicycles.
Property owner is responsible for the sidewalk, sooooooo…
The Planned Parenthood PAC does not reveal its donors just like People for Portland. Are they also “dark money”?
It’s a bit of a non-sequitur, but seems to fit here. Last month, I rode across NY State, through cities such as Rochester, Buffalo, and Troy, places much more economically challenged than Portland is, and I saw exactly one tent, probably occupied by a fellow rider guerilla camping. And not a single needle or bit of drug paraphernalia anywhere.
This has given me a perspective of just how poorly Portland has managed the issue of homelessness and drugs on the street.
That folks here are arguing over hostile bike racks, rather than rising up against agencies and organizations that take our money and deliver such lousy results illustrates how broken the Portland model is.
It doesn’t need to be like this.
Please carry on.
I was born in Troy and spent a lot of time in upstate NY. There are similar drug, mental health, and poverty problems as here, but less campers as housing is much cheaper, and FAR more plentiful. The northeast is filled with small towns and cities that developed before the automobile ruled all. The population density was greater there back then, so there are lots of old row houses, duplexes, etc, and things are a lot more dense and less sprawly. Basically there are lots more places to live in a smaller radius around cities, and low cost options are far more plentiful, like PDX was 20 years ago. Now, you leave expensive Portland and head east, and there’s nothing until hood river, then the dalles, etc. Go look online at houses in the Erie Canal rust belt of upstate NY between buffalo and Troy and you’ll be amazed at what you can buy, like a fixed up 4bd/2ba for 50k. That makes it a lot easier to stay housed.
The other factor is the cold and snow. One winter of living outside in that and you’d be on a bus headed anywhere warmer/more temperate, like the south or the west coast. You can camp in a tent or car year round here, and while it’s not glamorous or comfortable, it’s survivable.
Here’s the thing, HK: when Metro/MultCo say things like “with the new bond money we have helped X people get into housing and kept Y people from becoming homeless,” I believe them. It’s definitely not a lack of funding and not entirely the fault of inefficient bureaucracies (although the latter plays a role).
As cc_rider said above, Portland has become a destination for people who want to engage in this type of behavior. It started when Charlie Hales legalized street camping after Occupy Portland (ask anyone who lived here before 2009) and got a hell of a lot worse with the confluence of Measure 110 and the pandemic.
Some people refer to this as “meth tourism” and I can’t argue with that characterization. A month or so ago the Portland Tribune published an article about a guy who moved here from Salt Lake City, who gets all his food/tents etc. from non-profits, and spends his days panhandling for drug money. It was refreshingly candid; he even said that he’s here because if he lived that life in SLC, he’d be in jail. About 2 weeks ago the Willamette Week published a similar article about someone who lives in the new camp by the International School. I forget where he moved from (definitely a transplant) but the main gripe is that people aren’t giving him free rave toys to play with while on drugs. I wish I was making that up.
The very first step is taking our city back is to modify M110, so that police can cite and detain people for possession of hard drugs. No criminal referrals, but judges must be able to compel people into treatment. Now that the money from the M110 cannabis tax is starting to flow, there should be adequate resources to redirect in that manner. This would allow people who want treatment to get it, it will send a message to the nation’s junkies that they are not welcome here, and will hopefully convince people like the 2 gentlemen referenced above to go home.
“That folks here are arguing over hostile bike racks, rather than rising up against agencies and organizations that take our money and deliver such lousy results illustrates how broken the Portland model is.”
Absent voting in candidates that could and would actually deliver better results (I’m not convinced that any recent candidates fit that bill), what do you suggest as an example of “rising up”?
I hear you. I disagree however and feel like despite how messy some threads get, our comment section is productive and worthwhile.
These are messy times and folks bring a lot of their own junk into their comments. I understand that. If you see a comment that’s inappropriate, let us know and we will address it.
Thanks for your feedback.
sorry not all the comments live up to your high expectations squareman. But this is a public square and sometimes that means hearing from people who aren’t ready or willing to share “something thoughtfully productive or sincerely inquisitive.” I’m proud to provide a space with a diverse range of views and that allows new voices into our community without a bunch of gatekeeping.
You don’t actually need to do this. If your time is wasted, you can stop wasting it, while people who feel otherwise can continue to read the comments.
Hostile Architecture is a leading term, try Defensive Design to give your readers a chance to think for themselves.
What’s wrong with people saying how they feel? That’s what I do, I read an article and post the first thoughts that come to my mind. What’s wrong with that? I know a lot of them are negative, but some are positive, and some of them ask questions to learn more about the topic.
So what if people don’t post what ever you think is the ideal comment? We are all different and I embrace that. Yes, I call people out for what they say, but isn’t that what this is for? I’m called out for what I say too.
It would be so very boring if this was just an echo chamber which it seems what you prefer.
Peace . . .
It depends on the thread, squareman. If you want some red meat, hop over to Taylor’s article on the West corridor study, lots of smart, informed comments there.
I’ve noticed that the BP comment section is a hybrid between really informed commenters and a social media-type venting. It depends on the article.
What surprises me about this thread is that nobody has brought up Martin v Boise.
“I’ve noticed that the BP comment section is a hybrid between really informed commenters and a social media-type venting. It depends on the article.”
I apologize in advance for deviating from the main thread. I have two questions and a few comments.
Will BP’s new website have a Reader’s comment section?
If so, will the engagement model be the same as now (likes), upvotes and downvotes (Reddit style), multiple expressions (emoticons), or no expressions at all?
I recognize you might not be able to answer my questions until the new BP site is revealed.
I don’t live for “Likes,” but I think some people do. I’m not necessarily thinking of BP but other social media platforms (Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, etc.), where the engagement models drive the algorithms.
My interest also extends beyond BP. Social media engagement models were a focus area in my grad program and the subject has also come up in the Flickr Alpha group I participate in. If interested, here is my perspective on social media, based on my IT work experience and graduate studies.
Finally, I haven’t been trying to game BP’s current WordPress platform the last few days, but I noticed that I’m sometimes able to “Like” the same comment repeatedly using different mobile and desktop browsers, specifically Safari and GoGoDuck. I’m not sure if you can see my IP because I set blockers.
I’ll save my thoughts about Martin v Boise. I think I’ve already said too much. It’s time to go for a walk.
I’m sure it will have a readers’ comments section, that’s an important part of BP. All other questions are things Jonathan would know. Regarding your take on social media—yep!
“… specifically Safari and [DuckDuckGo]
Now, where is that five-day-old-post-edit button? Just kidding, Steve.
Finally, I haven’t been trying to game BP’s current WordPress platform the last few days, but I noticed that I’m sometimes able to “Like” the same comment repeatedly using different mobile and desktop browsers, specifically Safari and
GoGoDuckDuckDuckGo. I’m not sure if you can see my IP because I set blockers.
It appears that this problem (bug) still exists. In an article a few minutes ago, I inadvertently “liked” a post a couple times. Here is my simple test case: I liked a comment. I didn’t see an immediate response, so I liked it again. After a few seconds, I saw both of my likes register.
I’ve also seen cases where my like will trigger more than mine to register, as if the likes were queued up. Perhaps they were associated with comments pending moderation? I didn’t attempt to determine this.
I’ve now asked a couple times if and how we should report bugs when we find them, but I’ve never received a response. I don’t like cluttering the airwaves by using comments like this. However, I know my comment will be seen because it will need to pass through human moderation (which is good).
I’m wearing my (former) IT hat here. Now that three months have elapsed since you went live, I think it would be helpful to inform your readers what major bugs have been addressed. A project post-mortem report, so to speak. I understand the desire not to publicly air dirty laundry, but system release reports, such as those found in mobile apps, are standard practice even in commercial systems.
You could also inform us about new features you’re planning to release in the future, but I know keeping your system roadmap under wraps is important from a competitive standpoint.
So they city didn’t get to approve a million $ bid to do this so now they are mad..whaaa I want to make money off this!
I think it’s awesome that they put up the bike racks. Way to go schnitzer! A business with some guts to do something that needs to be done. We’re all so damn sick of it. It was a clever way to say to the city we’re taking matters into our own hands. If this situation would have not gotten this bad they wouldn’t have needed to do this. They gave up for good reason. Vote hardesty OUT!
Went for a long ride this evening and got to thinking: what is “hostile architecture”, really? Well, essentially it discourages activities that have been deemed undesirable, like nubs on a railing to prevent skateboard grinds, or boulders in a field to ward off camping. But what about when the Forest Service uses boulders or digs a berm to block vehicle access to a road or trail? That seems like the same principle… a physical barrier designed to achieve a desirable result.
So what else could fall under this more inclusive definition? Perhaps the gates at railroad crossings? I want to go around, I’m impatient and so is everyone else. But we acknowledge that keeping people away from an active rail crossing when a train is coming is good for all of us. So down come the barricades, even if I’m late for work.
And what about Portland’s beloved “Traffic Calming Devices”? Are they not designed to discourage undesirable behavior like speeding on a greenway or cutting through a quiet neighborhood street? Sounds like hostile architecture to me! And last I checked BikePortland was a big fan of that stuff. But what if a driver is experiencing houselessness? Are they unfairly burdened by that speed bump or roundabout? Should they have the right to ignore it or circumvent it?
Glad to see a great dual purpose installation done by a private company. It would be really nice to see the city respond positively.
John this is straight up yellow journalism. Idk what your motivation is, but this story is clearly opposed to what the property owner is doing. Local reporting on local issues is a public service and this is a bastardization of information . Come back when you’re ready to cover issues objectively.
Touché Schnitzer, or who ever instigated this action. For a website where one typically finds applause for creative guerilla tactics aimed at addressing problems the city can’t or won’t take on, the disdainful tone seems hypocritical. I also don’t understand the disdain toward People for Portland that I’ve come across in stories, comments, and forum discussions. They don’t take positions directly related to mobility, other than the need to keep our streets and MUPs clear, clean, and safe, so why the animosity here? The dark money preface could just was well be applied to the ACLU, Planned Parenthood, Sierra Club, MoveOn, etc. Assuming the owners BikePortland make political contributions and don’t publish their list of donors, should we now say the advocacy found here emanates from the dark money group BikePortland?
I think all agree that no one is satisfied with the state of Portland these days, and while we may differ on solutions, can we please respect those willing to challenge the status quo, rather than insult them.
So hostile? Because it doesnt have a meter for your revenue?
A few observations:
– The term “hostile architecture” correctly applies here.
– An article that covers Jordan Schnitzer and his relationship to Portland’s homeless crisis really, really should mention the fact that he personally funded of one of the region’s newest homeless shelters. The omission is not up to the normal journalistic standard I expect of Bike Portland, and leaves the characterization materially less accurate and less complete.
– I help manage a local nonprofit with property on a quiet street on the east side. The last two years have been hell. A lot of us just want to keep our heads down, follow the rules, and see homeless citizens taken care of by the professionals that our increasing tax dollars pay for. But in the absence of that longed-for professional response, we should expect to see citizens try to protect their own properties as best they can. Rich or poor, everyone is just worried about losing their home or business to a campfire, being attacked by a person in crisis, or having trouble attracting clients to a business surrounded by tents. I believe we are lucky we haven’t seen more outright attacks against homeless people.
– There are a lot of hot takes in the comment section, and, yeah, the feelings are valid. But we’re all in this crisis together (well, not David Hampsten), and some compassion would serve us all better than the desire to score points.
I agree with all your points. I intensely dislike the Schnitzers and find the Wapato shelter concept noxious but the omission of the fact that he’s trying solutions that nobody else is bears mentioning in this article.
Good for him!! Citizens are fed up with these incompetent “leaders”.
So what. The city is a mess and they’re worried about bike racks?
Good job! Bike Portland is in favor of hostile architecture regarding cars, and I see no problem with this architecture to dissuade private takeover of public space.
This issue only appears divisive because of a small, vocal group of commenters. In reality, 99%+ of people who support safer streets and accessible sidewalks celebrate this type of tactical urbanism.
While I disagree with what I interpret as the underling gist of you comment Brandon, kudos for making me laugh! 😀
Bike racks are better than uncoded structures that block ADA access to sidewalks and serve as open air drug markets and chop shops. Why are we letting perfect be the enemy of good over and over again in Portland?