Concrete and cinder block wall erected on bike path in Overlook neighborhood

Remnants of a wall that completely blocked the N Concord bike path to Going St. (Photos: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

There’s a bit of a border war going on in the Overlook neighborhood of north Portland.

While on a ride through the area on Sunday, someone told me about a wall that had been built on the bike path that connects North Concord to North Going Street. When I went to check it out I was shocked at what I saw: Dozens of cinder blocks toppled and broken, with bent metal rebar sticking out in all directions. As I inspected, I realized the wall had once stood about seven feet tall and it had been held together by mixed concrete. The rebar is secured into the ground and the presence of concrete means it will take a concerted effort to clean this up.

Whoever erected the wall put a lot of effort into it. And so did whoever knocked it down.

Someone who came by while I was out there said it had already been mostly cleaned-up at one point — only to have the builder return and reinforce it again.

From the person who told me about it I had gathered that this was another front in the battle between Portlanders who live in houses and those who live in tent encampments. There’s a very well-established and large community of people who live along the greenspaces adjacent to N Going Street. The wall was erected in a little cut in the soundwall where people can pass between Going and Concord. It’s an important pass-through that gives people a direct connection to N Interstate (and MAX light rail line) and Swan Island (an industrial zone where thousands of people work).

Blocking right-of-way like this is not cool — regardless of why it was done.

“Having this blocked off would be safer for everyone. Anyone criticizing this should try living on the other side of it for a week and see how they feel.”

I posted a video about this on Sunday to Instagram and TikTok. One person who saw it said she lives in a house just north of the wall. She said she supports the wall and is glad someone built it because, “Having this blocked off would be safer for everyone.”

“I’ve had people in my backyard threatening to break down my back door with my own tools, a cargo bike stolen at 4:00 am, a person break into my house and go upstairs into my kids room at 6:00 am, my hose turned on in the middle of the night and left on full blast for me to turn off in the dark (I was home alone), drugs smoked and yelling in the middle of the night for years now,” she said.

The person also said the opening in the wall is a popular site for drug dealing. “I have compassion for houseless people but this needs to change,” she added. “It’s become a brutal place to raise kids. Anyone criticizing this should try living on the other side of it for a week and see how they feel.”

I’ve heard there has been some discussion of this wall on the Overlook Neighborhood Facebook page and several people have contacted the City of Portland. But so far, it seems there’s been only finger-pointing as the wall and debris has been there for over a week.

The transportation chair of the Overlook Neighborhood Association posted to Twitter today that he’s reached out to the Portland Bureau of Transportation “multiple times” but has yet to receive a response.

We’ll keep you posted.

UPDATE, 1:25 pm: A tipster says a city crew is on-site and removal is imminent.

UPDATE: Nic Cota just posted a photo of the cleared wall:

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Chris I
Chris I
22 days ago

They used the narrow blocks and didn’t backfill the cores with concrete. Amateur hour.
FYI, you can rent an electric jackhammer from your local tool library.

Nick
Nick
22 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

Yeah no grouting, the blocks not offset, etc

At least like go an lookup a guide on how to build a wall.

Serenity
Serenity
22 days ago
Reply to  Nick

Yes. So sloppy. A cinderblock wall built by someone who’s never seen a cinderblock wall before. And I thought I was getting away. from ugly cinderblock walls by moving to Portland.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
22 days ago

That is an important access point to get to swan island from the north that needs to stay open. But there is some serious messed up mad max stuff on that going mup that needs some immediate attention. It would be great if cops would respond to citizens concerns in a timely manner and get this lawlessness under control but they are still trying to punish all of Portland for protests back in 2020. Though, less than 20% of the police force even live in the city so what do they care? They still get their paycheck regardless and their families don’t have to live around it. If even half of the cops in this town ended their blue flu strike and looked into the blatant criminal activity in some of the camps on going, people wouldn’t feel so helpless that they have to take matters in their own hands.

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
22 days ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

The “criminal activity” we’re talking about here is the building of the wall. You are using that as a jumping off point to rant about homeless people, and justify the lawlessness of the wall builders. They did not “have to” build an illegal and hazardous wall on a public thoroughfare.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
21 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

But someone felt compelled to.
And if you’re going to throw the term *lawlessness ” around, let’s be sure to apply it equitably.

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
21 days ago

If “feeling compelled to” justifies the wall, it probably also justifies whatever the wall builders were upset about. Since you want equity.

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

No one said “justified”. It is not justified. But understanding the reasons that it happened may help prevent it from happening again. And that involves acknowledging larger context, even if that’s “not what we’re talking about”.

Chris I
Chris I
21 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

How do you know that the campers didn’t build the wall? This wouldn’t be the first barrier I’ve seen to block off through-traffic around a camp, but it would be the most “advanced”.

Pdx Phoenix
Pdx Phoenix
21 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

Thing ‘A’ leads to thing ‘B’. Very few things occur without context. Lack of action by (& confidence in) CoP & PPB create the “need” for a vigilante response.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
21 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

Actually my rant was really about our police not doing their job even though we still have to pay for their salary and annual budget with our taxes.

Micah Johnson
Micah Johnson
21 days ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

I mean the police force has been rather defunded for some strange reason. It’s totally not like the PPD can hire skilled and competent officers when they’ve been defunded. Sure there are some who want to protect and serve but only so many can do that when they don’t have the equipment or funding.

Also, a large portion of the police force left their jobs after their lives and livelihood were threatened by rioters and protestors

Rain Panther
Rain Panther
21 days ago
Reply to  Micah Johnson

The issue is not defunding or lack of funds. That’s a persistent misconception.

Chris I
Chris I
21 days ago
Reply to  Rain Panther

The issue is attracting, hiring, and retaining employees. We have the lowest per capita police staffing of any major city.

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

The issue is attracting, hiring, and retaining employees. 

This is true, and the “defunding” saga is one reason we’re having this problem.

cc_rider
cc_rider
21 days ago
Reply to  Watts

This is true, and the “defunding” saga is one reason we’re having this problem.

You can find articles going back ten years talking about PPBs inability to hire and subsequent engorgement of OT funds.

Blaming ‘defunding’ for a problem they’ve had for years is silly.

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  cc_rider

Saying it played no role is also silly.

There may be more than one factor at play.

cc_rider
cc_rider
21 days ago
Reply to  Watts

here may be more than one factor at play.

I’d start with the obivous one. If you’ve been bad at hiring people since 2010, and you’re still bad at it in 2022, it’s probably your hiring process.

Considering PPB has basically no HR staff, that might be a good place to start. They get over 1000 applications every year, and that results in something like 25 hires.

Unless the type of person applying to PPB is overwhelmingly bad, I’d guess that its their process that is weeding out a lot of the other 975. Considering in can take a year from application to hire, that’s probably going to be the biggest factor.

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  cc_rider

I’m not in a position to judge whether there is too much screening of candidates or not enough, but the cops do a lot, and it takes a while.

It’s Quora, but this might help flesh my comment out:

https://www.quora.com/Why-does-the-recruitment-process-with-the-police-departments-take-so-long

Alex
Alex
21 days ago
Reply to  Micah Johnson

The police were never “defunded”. The reasons the PPB can’t hire people are complex and many, but it isn’t because they are lacking funding. They have had open positions for quite a while and haven’t quit hiring because they ran out of money. The problem is part police and their absolutely political response the the protests and the small cut in funding they received (which was quickly re-upped by the mayor) and part city leadership (which is mainly centrist/conservative leaning in regards to homelessness at this point). Perhaps you should also consider that the toxic culture the PPB has created is a large reason they are having a hard time hiring and retaining people. And before you say it ain’t so, I suggest you look at the federal government assessment of the PPB and how the PPB has yet to implement any of the changes they recommend.

The defunding of our healthcare system and social safety net is really the largest contributor to homelessness and the issues we are seeing. The saddest part is Portland has funding for drug rehab/healthcare, but they haven’t been successful/as active as they need to be in using that funding.

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  Alex

The police were never “defunded”. 

This is not true. Funding was cut within the context of “defunding”, then, later, that funding was restored. It is true that money is currently not the limiting constraint on hiring, but the lingering non-financial effects of the funding cuts may be a contributing factor.

I agree that the failure of our healthcare system (especially drug treatment and mental health) is a major contributing factor to the current crisis on our streets.

Alex
Alex
21 days ago
Reply to  Watts

A small decrease in funding is not “defunding” in any sense of the context it was used. It was slight decrease in a budget that had been ballooning for decades. The amount of decrease was essentially Ted Wheeler trying to play optics instead of instituting any real change. And all that being said, the funding currently is higher than it has ever been, less than 2 years later. The money was never the limiting factor of hiring as far as I have heard. We can agree to disagree as far as I am concerned.

the lingering non-financial effects of the funding cuts may be a contributing factor.

That’s a nice way of saying the cops aren’t doing their jobs because they are still protesting they had a decrease in funding and didn’t get their way one time.

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  Alex

We mostly agree; the cut was primarily about optics, but definitely fell under the “defund” rubric. We also agree that money is not at the core of the police inability to hire new cops and retain the staff they have.

You claim the main problem now is cops not doing their jobs because they’re upset. How do you distinguish this from the impacts of being extremely short staffed? Also, this does not explain why the bureau can’t find new recruits. A pervasive narrative that police are “the problem” (which also fed the “defunding” episode) could help explain that.

All that said, morale is a real thing (in any group), with real impacts, and those who dismiss it as a factor here, telling the police to just “stop being butthurt” are not people I’d want anywhere near my organization leadership.

Alex
Alex
21 days ago
Reply to  Watts

You claim the main problem now is cops not doing their jobs because they’re upset. How do you distinguish this from the impacts of being extremely short staffed? 

It’s sort of a feedback loop. The cops don’t do their job, the conditions get worse, they can’t hire anyone because of the bad conditions. Wash, rinse, repeat. So the short staffing has been happening since before they fully quit doing their jobs, but it sure seems to have exacerbated the problem – they had a very hard time hiring anyone before 2020. I think the police are one aspect of the problem, but really it’s been the system that has been the problem and not something about the police. I am sure the morale is low amongst the police, how could it not be? I know I would be pretty discouraged/frustrated/annoyed with how the organization is being run if I worked there (I don’t work there and I feel all those things).

I think a big problem here is that the police like telling other people to “stop being butthurt” and when they don’t, they cops are rather violent – again reinforcing this negative cycle.

The narrative needs to change. In order to change that, the voices at the table need to change. I think the police union needs to go away. Portland gov’t structure needs to change. The general public needs a different framework to be able to deal with different problems and maybe cops aren’t the first people to be called and brought in. And last but not least, since this has to do with homelessness, if we don’t provide no strings attached housing to people in order to help them get off the streets, I don’t really believe we have a fighting chance to even start addressing the lawlessness and drugs. We can’t sweep or arrest ourselves out of this situation; we need to treat people with as much respect and dignity as we can, even if some people don’t think they deserve it, or we are just going to keep seeing the same thing happen over and over again. I think it is a huge public health issue, it’s incredible unsafe, we have enough resources in the world to deal with this in a humane way, and it is a political choice that this is happening.

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  Alex

Again, we mostly agree. Where me may diverge slightly is in your suggestion that we need to provide “no strings attached housing to people in order to help them get off the streets”. I do agree that we need to offer everyone shelter of some sort, but I’m guessing we’d disagree on exactly what that means (and for me, it means different things for different people — I’d offer something very different to a struggling young mother than I would to a healthy and able man who just wanted to spend his days getting high).

But where we fundamentally disagree is that there is no such thing as “no strings attached” housing. Everyone has neighbors, every housing situation has rules, even yours and mine, and there will always be people who are unwilling to follow even the most basic rules.

I’m not sure what to do with those people, but I do feel quite comfortable telling them they can’t just set up camp wherever they want and victimize their neighbors (whether they are housed or unhoused).

Reinhold
Reinhold
21 days ago
Reply to  Alex

Who wants to be a police officer in a city that doesn’t help them or recognize their efforts? We have a DA that refuses to prosecute criminals, a city that has decriminalized hard drugs, a city that elects people like Joann Hardesty? Not many

Alex
Alex
19 days ago
Reply to  Reinhold

Who wants to be a police officer in a city that doesn’t help them or recognize their efforts?

They are undermining their own efforts at this point by not doing the work. And if they are doing the work, they sure aren’t good at optics.

 We have a DA that refuses to prosecute criminals, a city that has decriminalized hard drugs, a city that elects people like Joann Hardesty?

Turns out the public voted for all 3 of these things and the police are there to serve the public.

I agree, tho, I wouldn’t want to be a cop based on their reputation of mistreating people, not following recommended federal guidelines/reprimands, and continually treating the community they are serving pretty poorly. They can’t hire anyone in spite of having the necessary resources to do so. Who else can they blame but themselves?

Brian
Brian
21 days ago
Reply to  Micah Johnson

Defunding meant that police would not be the catch-all/be-all for social services. For example, instead of mentally ill being tossed in jail, they would actually get mental health involved. Same with drug rehab concerns.
Police still had funding for stopping criminal conduct and doing basic police work.
Instead, other social services were not funded and the police went “blue flu” to teach everyone a lesson

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  Brian

Defunding meant that police would not be the catch-all/be-all for social services. For example, instead of mentally ill being tossed in jail, they would actually get mental health involved. Same with drug rehab concerns. Police still had funding for stopping criminal conduct and doing basic police work.

Is that what “defund the police” means? That’s certainly not how most people heard it. I’m pretty sure that something like 98% of Americans would agree that the police should not be the sole providers of social services, so if that’s what the sloganeers meant, they blew a huge opportunity to unite Americans under the banner of common sense and reform.

I wish folks would just say what they mean.

John
John
21 days ago
Reply to  Watts

Is that what “defund the police” means?

Yes, that is exactly what “defund the police” means. But you have constant bad faith actors trying to tell people misleading lies about it and enough people didn’t look beyond the surface and just see “these people say it means getting rid of police completely, tomorrow so what am I to believe?”

Also we have a difficult to shake blind trust in police and so when they say something a lot of people just believe it / report it uncritically. Makes it hard to get any message across.

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  John

It doesn’t take “bad faith actors” to believe that “defund the police” means something different than what you say it means. All it takes is believing what people say. If they mean something different, they should say something different.

The idea that you can reduce policing then use that funding to create a new service that will backfill some of the tasks currently dumped on the police is a bit… naive. Look at how long it’s taking to get Portland Street Response up to speed; someone’s got to be there in the interim.

A better slogan would have been “Fund Street Response” (if that’s what protestors wanted); let the politicians figure out where to get the money.

John
John
21 days ago
Reply to  Watts

It does take bad faith actors though. Literally, if you take away some of their funding, that is defunding. Hence all the claims on this very thread that the Portland police have been defunded. They’re not saying the budget has been slashed to zero. So what else could they think it means?

The idea is absolutely not naive. Police do more than they should, they fill roles that absolutely should not be performed by a guy with a gun and the legal authority to kill with impunity (or their word that they felt it was necessary).

I’m sure Portland Street Response would be up to speed if they had 5% of the police budget, but they don’t. They’re like 5 people and that’s because, get this, the police eat all the budget so 5 people is all the city wants to pay for.

The issue is bigger than street response, and also it was nation (really, world) wide. Street response is a Portland program. It’s not the only thing that police shouldn’t be doing. As others have mentioned in other threads, it makes no sense to have police issuing traffic tickets, that could be done by some other organization. Let the cops do what they are actually uniquely qualified to do, not whatever mission creep nonsense we’ve thrown onto them over the decades.

Chris I
Chris I
21 days ago
Reply to  John

And there were people on the “defund” side who were actually advocating for the complete elimination of the police in Portland. Circling back to this particular bike path, “KILL ALL COPS” has been tagged on the wall here in the past.

John
John
21 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

Yeah, a very real thing that is definitely said by very real serious people. Kids can tag whatever graffiti they want on a wall, they don’t represent the “defund the police” movement.

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  John

Who does represent that movement?

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  Chris I

The idea is absolutely not naive. 

It is if you don’t account for how defunded services will be provided for the years it will take to stand up an alternative provider. I am totally on board with the idea that other people can do some of what the police do today, but not with overly simplistic ideas of how to pay for it.

And when you think about it, how to pay for something is usually the least interesting aspect of a proposal. Here it was the headline, and what is usually the fun part, building something new, was an afterthought, and sometimes not even that much. That reveals a lot about motive.

It makes no sense to have police issuing traffic tickets

It does when you consider that sometimes those getting the ticket start shooting. There are certainly things that don’t require the police, but this is not one of them.

John
John
20 days ago
Reply to  Watts
  1. the police are not defunded, so we don’t actually have anything to point to with how it wouldn’t work.
  2. “defund the police” is not a specific policy proposal because it is three words. It is a guiding principal. A very clear, very concise, message about one end result that people want. An actual policy (i.e. not the job of protesters to come up with) would include addressing the transition. Some protesters want revolutionary change, but if Very Reasonable People, such as yourself or the legislators in Portland, want to avoid revolutionary change, they could you know, write legislation that has an effect that would satisfy people while not causing upheaval. You would figure out how we add services that do some of the jobs police do, and later decrease the police budget and shrink the responsibilities of police.
  3. This is just how protests work. Consistently throughout history, the people complaining about the specific slogans and actions of protesters were trying to come up with some excuse to ignore them and not change anything. That includes you. You know damn well what people are protesting, in general, when they yell “defund the police”. I believe you’re smart enough to know what that means even if you play dumb in public. You know why they’re out there and you can think of ways to reduce the scope of policing and replace it with less dangerous alternatives. So stop playing around.
  4. People start shooting in traffic stops because they know the police would shoot them if they ran. They have to shoot first, this is the logical consequence of having an armed, licensed to kill, force doing jobs that shouldn’t need that force.
Watts
Watts
20 days ago
Reply to  John
  1. The police are not defunded, but they were partially defunded, with funding later restored. Read contemporaneous news reporting about the budget cuts to get the full context, which makes the intent of those cuts clear.
  2. “Defund the police” is dead as anything but a potent cudgel manufactured by the left and wielded by the right against Democrats. Its failure will not lead to revolution. Programs like Portland Street Response will likely continue to grow because they make sense and enjoy broad support. Maybe someday they’ll be so effective we can cut police budgets, but if that day ever arrives, it will be long in the future.
  3. As someone committed to justice and ending police abuses, I marched in several of the protests. While they were an effective way for people cooped up by covid to let off steam, I don’t see that they had much lasting impact, in part because they were tainted by association with the riots, and in part because they had so few specific positive demands.
  4. I don’t even know what to make of your comment here… it is just problematic on so many levels. I think we’ll just have to agree to disagree about the proper way to respond if you’re pulled over.
John
John
20 days ago
Reply to  Watts
  1. So what? This article has a good summary with details, the budget change was minuscule and bounced right back. Look at the graph where you can get a feel for what that budget cut meant (almost nothing).
  2. Sure, nobody’s saying it anymore. And the Democratic party, in its infinite wisdom, decided that instead of addressing the concerns that caused this, they should use the protests themselves as a scapegoat. I think you miss the point about revolution (revolutionary change is what I said), but that there are multiple ways to achieve justice, one is revolutionary change (e.g. “no more police at all” which obviously goes with other changes), and another is make smart policy that has the same effect of reducing the mission scope of police and therefore budget.
  3. You took part in a walk around and then go home “protest” which is the nice quiet kind that are easily ignored. But the protests did have a very clear and positive demand to defund the police. It isn’t vague. How you get there is up to policy makers. Again you’re using a pretend misunderstanding as a way to ignore the demand.
  4. It should be straight forward to understand. If someone is pulled over and feel they need to escape, the reason that leads to shooting now is because the cops have guns and will use them. If the person doing the traffic enforcement is a glorified mall cop without a gun, a person who wants to run can just run without adding homicide to their crimes. Which should not be a death sentence, their information has already been logged. The cop with a gun being involved doesn’t help anything.
Reinhold
Reinhold
21 days ago
Reply to  Brian

Unfortunately, I think we need to enact laws that force people into treatment or housing. Leaving it up to them will keep them on the streets indefinitely. There are plenty of examples of people with mental health issues being taken to hospitals and released without anything being done. It’s a revolving door and one that needs to stop at some point. Two plus years without any improvement is unacceptable. This whole town is going to hell in a handbasket because of will intentioned but ill-informed progressives. Measure 10 was definitely a bad move.

Brian W
Brian W
21 days ago
Reply to  Reinhold

It would suck to have your free-wheeling, anything goes, stick it to the man lifestyle as a permanently homeless person taken away from you. Man! That’s some kind of freedom! /sarcasm.

Anyway, I agree with Reinhold. The campers should be forced into treatment, and forced into housing. Their “freedom” is at the cost of our safety, health and freedom to live without the crazy stuff described above.

Few of the efforts to get them off the streets by asking for their cooperation have been successful.

I’m glad to have my taxes go toward actual solutions that the campers either abide by, or get out of Portland.

Chip
Chip
21 days ago
Reply to  Reinhold

Agreed. Broken government (perhaps irreparably) system, and city of Portland being held hostage by the addicted and the mentally ill.

Dan Keeney
Dan Keeney
20 days ago
Reply to  Brian

Okay, so what does “abolish the police” mean? Or ACAB? They are other frequently used slogans of a certain segment of activists. There’s no way to put lipstick on this pig. Police in Portland have been characterized as the bad guys for a generation and we are now living with the consequences. Cops have a hard job and get little in return here.

John
John
20 days ago
Reply to  Dan Keeney

Well, different people want different things. Some more centrist liberals may say we just need to “reform” the police, so should I also throw them in the same bucket with the ACAB people? No, you would agree I’m sure that that’s silly.

Further, ACAB is a philosophy, while less widely acceptable, which says that it’s the institution of policing that is bad which inherently makes all of the people in the institution do and support bad things. And with any of these phrases, what they’re clearly referring to is the current, traditional, forms of policing as they are today. People are not actually suggesting that literally tomorrow we should get rid of all policing, it is an aspirational end state that you have to get to through steps. But starts with the acknowledgement that the institution itself causes harm.

Finally, you end with plainly acknowledging that cops are a political institution with their own interests in mind, who hold us all hostage including the people ostensibly in charge of them by refusing to do their job. I admire the truthfulness there, most of the time people on the center-right tend to lean on lies about defunding, etc. But no, Portland cops are simply refusing to do the job that we pay them to do with one of the biggest slices of our budget there is. They’re on strike / work slowdown, and it’s for political reasons (fee fees got hurt, want to be treated as heroes, etc).

Bjorn
Bjorn
21 days ago
Reply to  Micah Johnson

Portland police have never had more funding, that they are on strike is an issue but funding is not.

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  Bjorn

I’ll ask you what I asked Alex above: how do you distinguish “being on strike” from being extremely short staffed?

John
John
21 days ago
Reply to  Watts

If you believe that they show up late always (not just occasionally), ignore very real problems, and basically let the stuff happen that would piss people off the most and tell everyone who will listen that this is actually because their “hands are tied”, you’re just believing what they say uncritically.
They have proven time and time again not to be a reliable narrator. There is no reason to believe that the current relatively large spike in crime has anything to do with the not actually extreme but rather minor short staffing issue. Being short a couple people doesn’t cause that, they’re blowing smoke because they want everyone to love them and give them money.
So, being on strike is simply not doing their jobs. If they were just short staffed, they would prioritize important things. I don’t believe them, but ultimately that’s about all we have. They say they’re short staff and “hands are tied” (e.g. by DA), and I think they’re lying.

Alex
Alex
19 days ago
Reply to  Watts

We should be able to track the the crime rate per capita to answer that question and correlate it to the the # of police per capita. But even then, that doesn’t answer the question. I would say that even the cops could be increasing crime rates if they weren’t following best practices – which we know they are not. Perhaps leadership is also sabotaging them by not making optics a priority. The question you ask trying to make that differentiation could not matter at all – perhaps they are adequately staffed if they were efficient enough and worked well with others.

In the end, does it really matter? We know they aren’t really doing their job well (this has been proven time and again. again see fed recommendations and the ppb responses/implementation of them). We know they can’t hire anyone because of them not doing their job well. We know they negotiate in bad faith and keep bad seeds in the force. I am not putting this on any individual cop. It’s a system. Bad in, bad out. Bad leadership, bad outcomes. There is a large amount of room for improvement from their side and they don’t seem to want to improve.

Watts
Watts
19 days ago
Reply to  Alex

“In the end, does it really matter?”

Absolutely yes. If someone working for me is doing a poor job, it is important for me to know why. Do they have insufficient resources? Are their partners not pulling their weight? Do they have the proper training? Are they just slacking?

There is pretty strong evidence that police are suffering from lack of resources, most significantly personnel. That doesn’t mean that it is the sole cause of the problem, but I strongly suspect it plays an large role in the difficulty getting the prompt responses and follow-up most of us want.

It is pretty clear that we live in a society that requires policing. Helping cops do their job better will benefit everyone. Expressing open contempt for people who for the most part are doing the best they can with a difficult job that neither you nor I are willing to do is not an effective way to make Portland a better place to live.

If the young white progressives who mostly live in the safer areas and want to defund the police would step up and help do the job themselves, maybe we’d be in a better place. But they’re not, so we’ve got to make the best of those who are willing.

alex
alex
19 days ago
Reply to  Watts

It is pretty clear that we live in a society that requires policing. Helping cops do their job better will benefit everyone. 

This here is the problem. There have been many attempts at helping them do their job. They don’t listen and fail to implement changes. They don’t take feedback from community members and very actively frustrate them.

 Expressing open contempt for people who for the most part are doing the best they can with a difficult job that neither you nor I are willing to do is not an effective way to make Portland a better place to live.

They aren’t doing their best job. That’s the point. We know they aren’t because they are listening to anyone and there have been a ton of documented feedback both from the public and the feds.

Watts
Watts
19 days ago
Reply to  alex

They aren’t doing their best job.

This may well be true. Since we’ve all got to co-exist, maybe the best thing is to help them do their job better.

Maybe it’s more oversight, more staff, more people doing some of the non-policing work the police currently do, or maybe more people like you becoming cops and helping reform from the inside rather than criticizing from the outside, without really understanding what the job entails.

What I’m pretty sure isn’t going to help is “ACAB”, “abolish the police”, and other provocations that do nothing but inflame. That’s just not how you treat people you need to live with. And it’s just not how you treat people.

alex
alex
18 days ago
Reply to  Watts

I don’t think you are reading what I am writing.

We have tried more oversight, they tear it down or sue the city to stop it.

More staff, they can’t hire because of the horrible job they are doing. This has been going on for a long time.

More people like me becoming cops? Why would I feed into a system that I think is broken?

If you think I am saying “ACAB” and “abolish the police”, you definitely aren’t reading what I am writing. You are more bought into your own narrative than you are willing to listen to anyone. And it’s just now how you treat people…

alex
alex
18 days ago
Reply to  alex

Should this be how people are treated? Or how about this? Is this what oversight and accountability looks like? Is this how police engaging the community should look like? Sure doesn’t seem like progress is happening now that we are in our 8th year of federal oversight of the PPB.

Watts
Watts
18 days ago
Reply to  alex

I didn’t mean to attribute ACAB to you, but that sort of bigotry is definitely part of the problem. Is it a fair reading that you believe the police are uncontrollable and unfixably corrupt?

I don’t at all agree with this, but that doesn’t matter, because even if the police are inherently broken, we’re stuck with them. It’s similar to arguing we’d be better off without cars. That may be true, but we’ve got them and they’re not going away.

If we’re stuck with the police, we need to focus on what we can do to make them work better, even if the concept of giving one group of people power over another is inherently flawed. That’s the entirely of my narrative.

alex
alex
18 days ago
Reply to  Watts

Is it a fair reading that you believe the police are uncontrollable and unfixably corrupt?

I don’t think they are currently being held accountable and I don’t think they are fixable if nothing changes (i.e. we don’t get rid of the police union and don’t actually allow for any change).

We are not stuck with the current form of police. It doesn’t have to look like this. It has been fixed in other cities by large amounts of reform, restructuring, and actually holding the police accountable. This is what I am focused on. Again, you seem to be ignoring anyone holding them accountable – which is what I keep saying and that the current situation is that the cops are bad faith actors. If we keep the institutions exactly the same, nothing will change and then, yes, I believe thy are uncontrollable and unfixably corrupt – but at that point I think it goes way beyond the police and into city leadership, because they are ultimately the ones controlling how we deal with that. And we know that city leadership isn’t doing anything to fix this problem – Wheeler is their boss afterall.

I didn’t mean to attribute ACAB to you, but that sort of bigotry is definitely part of the problem.

Honestly, it would probably go away or be reasonably minimized if cops actually answered to someone and weren’t allowed to behave like they have been. This is just part of a feedback loop that is fixed by focusing on the cops and not trying to silence the public’s right to free speech.

Watts
Watts
18 days ago
Reply to  alex

It has been fixed in other cities by large amounts of reform, restructuring, and actually holding the police accountable.

Now you’re talking. I’m generally receptive to any realistic reform, restructure, increased accountability. And that’s all I was arguing for — a reasonable way forward that doesn’t demonize people and pointlessly deepen divisions.

alex
alex
18 days ago
Reply to  Watts

I literally said this multiple times in this thread. Just FYI.

Brian W
Brian W
21 days ago
Reply to  Micah Johnson

Defunding DIDN’T happen. It’s just a slogan that was seized upon to gaslight you with.

Steve
Steve
20 days ago
Reply to  Micah Johnson

Portland police have not been defunded.

Kurt
Kurt
20 days ago
Reply to  Steve

Which is why they were not.

maxD
maxD
22 days ago

The camp just down the hill from this is out of control! There have been a dozen wrecked/dismantled/burnt out vehicles removed from here. There is an area thousand of square feet with nothing growing on it from all of the driving and camping. The people squatting there now appear to be running some sort of business from the sidewalk. I have had my life threatened by people driving down the MUP simply for trying to walk down the MUP while they drive behind me- I am not being hyperbolic- they were literally screaming that I should die. I cannot imagine how hard it would be live next that level of anarchy. Based on the level of disruption and construction the camp in this area has done over the years, I assume this wall was built by the campers to further isolate themselves from scrutiny. Maybe is a neighbor that is fed up, or a parent from nearby Beach Elementary school. My child went to Beach, and I know this area well. It was a safe place place to walk through, but it is no longer safe. The people camping here are dangerous people who disregard laws, engage in reckless behavior (drive on paths, threaten people, open fires, dangerous trash (broken glass, needles, etc, rotting food and human waste). I don’t feel that the description in the article (There’s a very well-established and large community of people who live along the greenspaces adjacent to N Going Street.) captures the chaos and dangerous behavior of this camp.

FDUP
FDUP
21 days ago
Reply to  maxD

If the campers themselves built the wall, that would throw a huge monkey wrench in Chezz’s argument now, wouldn’t it?

Reinhold
Reinhold
21 days ago
Reply to  maxD

A wall is nothing. I’m surprised people aren’t taking more active measures to drive the homeless and criminals out. Calls to the police in the city result in nothing.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
22 days ago

Tactical urbanism in practice!

RipCityBassWorks
RipCityBassWorks
22 days ago

Man, there’s some truly delusional people in this city. Blocking a pedestrian/cyclist right of way somehow makes you feel “safer”? I guarantee the exact same people would flip out hard if barriers were put up to prevent drivers from speeding through the neighborhood…

SolarEclipse
SolarEclipse
22 days ago

Do you live in that immediate area? I bet the answer is a “no,” so presumptuous of you to presume to know what the people feel that do.

I guess everyone should feel exactly as you do about every situation otherwise, we’re “delusional” right? Pot . . . meet kettle.

RipCityBassWorks
RipCityBassWorks
22 days ago
Reply to  SolarEclipse

Just because I don’t live in the area doesn’t mean that I support someone trying to block the already insufficient cycling infrastructure in this city. You would probably feel the exact same way if I put up a barrier to block the neighborhood street to car traffic.

Z
Z
21 days ago

Insufficient? Portland has one of the best bicycle infrastructure in the USA…!?!?

qqq
qqq
21 days ago
Reply to  Z

If my dog got hired as a surgeon at OHSU, he’d be the best dog surgeon in the USA. But if you needed surgery, would he be sufficient for you?

Chip
Chip
21 days ago
Reply to  qqq

Depends on his breed.

Serenity
Serenity
21 days ago
Reply to  Z

One of, yes. But that’s not saying much for the bicycle infrastructure in the USA.

Pdx Phoenix
Pdx Phoenix
21 days ago
Reply to  Z

And yet…it *could* be so much better.

Chris I
Chris I
21 days ago

Seems like a form of non-violent protest to me.

Bryan Morris
Bryan Morris
22 days ago

I hope the wall is rebuilt until the city actually starts doing its job to protect law abiding citizens.

Tomas Paella
Tomas Paella
22 days ago

Our paths are a complete disaster. It’s not acceptable to keep ceding more and more public resources, public property, personal safety, etc. to people who blatantly abuse it.

We have already seen the chilling effect of our failed policies:

https://bikeportland.org/2017/01/13/metro-hits-pause-after-crime-fears-fuel-gresham-mayor-opposition-to-40-mile-loop-project-213291

https://www.koin.com/news/oregon/farmers-rally-in-opposition-to-yamhill-county-multi-use-trail/

I doubt we’ll ever see our network of MUPs expanded now. Some of us can remember about ten years ago when our trails were safe and clean; when there was not the constant presence of vehicles being driven and dumped; when burning garbage and defecation wasn’t the backdrop to an otherwise pleasant car-free experience.

We’re at a crossroads. We are the only people who can work to right the ship and save Portland from getting worse.

Brittany Connors
Brittany Connors
20 days ago
Reply to  Tomas Paella

Exactly this! We are the only people who can right this ship and we can’t count on the government to do it and we can’t wait any longer! We need to start organizing. I think it must start with a town hall type meeting. Hell, invite the people living in that camp! If they’re legit, they’ll show up and try to do something to change how they’re perceived and post their own grievances. But WE have to do it. No one is coming to save us.

maxD
maxD
22 days ago

I hope they remove all traces of this wall and restore the full public function and connection. I alos hope they remove the illegal structures along GOing and take measures to exclude cars from abusing the bike ped path along Going. I also hope they remove the cars and camps on the path along the river on Swan Island. I hope they prepsare teh sooil and reseed the areas trashed by illegal driving and parking to prevent erosion from damaging migrating Salmon. I hope they replace art in the park just north of this that was removed after being repeatedly vandalized. I hope they replant the stormwater planter that was trashed by campers. I hope they replant the trees that were killed by campers along Going and along the river on Swan Island. I hope they remove the literal tons of garbage on the beach at Swan Island before the river level rises. I hope they replace the bollard on Greelely to protect people who bike and walk there from people driving on the path. I hope they restore all of the public spaces to full public use instead of letting it be commandeered and damaged.

Bryan Morris
Bryan Morris
22 days ago
Reply to  maxD

And I hope Oregonians finally get tired of all this and do something about the drug addiction epidemic that is fueling all this. Too many people falsely label this as a homeless problem. It’s not, it’s a drug addiction problem.

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
21 days ago
Reply to  Bryan Morris

Even though that’s contrary to all serious studies, you’re going to go ahead and insist on it?

Pdx Phoenix
Pdx Phoenix
21 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

While one *can* debate the cause, the results are the same. A seemingly overwhelming insistence on the rights of a small minority of homeless, drug users,, & the mentally ill ( in nearly consentric circles in. A ven diagram , seemingly) over the rights of the rest of us to not be harrassed, intimidated, threatened, assaulted, robbed, burgled, & murdered (not hyperbolic either if one watches the news re their behavior)… reality or not, that is the perception that needs addressing.

Dwk
Dwk
21 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

Contrary to what studies?
The surveys that have been done by NPR and others show more than 50% admit to be addicts.
Have you done a study?

*** Moderator: deleted a couple sentences, don’t get personal, argue the ideas ***

John
John
21 days ago
Reply to  Dwk

A survey asking if people do drugs doesn’t say anything about why they are homeless. Could be being homeless drives one to take any escape they can. Could also be that mental illness paired with homelessness does the same. The issues are all related, not having a place to live, drug use, mental illness. Sometimes the cause is one way, sometimes the other.

I don’t have any studies in front of me, although you didn’t cite anything either. I’m just saying, on the face of it, the fact that many homeless people use drugs doesn’t mean that drug use made them homeless.

Bryan Morris
Bryan Morris
20 days ago
Reply to  John

Denial runs deep in this one.

Reinhold
Reinhold
21 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

I could share pictures with you of people shooting up in Laurellhurst Park. It’s dangerous to take pictures of them. What studies are you referring to? Do you honestly think people are going to be open about the fact that they are camping out and using drugs? We never should have decriminalized under measure 10

Chip
Chip
21 days ago
Reply to  Reinhold

Word, Reinhold. I see numerous people smoking fentanyl & meth every day on the streets downtown. EVERY SINGLE DAY. Harassing people, threatening people, fighting with people, destroying public property, treating the streets and sidewalks as public dumps. It is rampant and out of control, and I would welcome Governor Kotek declaring a state emergency in Portland and sending in the National Guard. This needs to happen sooner rather than later.

Chip
Chip
21 days ago
Reply to  Bryan Morris

Well put, Bryan. Agree 100%!

Brittany Connors
Brittany Connors
20 days ago
Reply to  Bryan Morris

Yes, this is not the Unhoused doing this, it’s the Unhinged.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
20 days ago

Or the Unheard.

Micah Johnson
Micah Johnson
21 days ago
Reply to  maxD

That’s a lot to hope for, now you just need to figure out where to get the workers, how to get the funding, where to move all these squatters, and who will keep these places safe. The PPD has been defunded. The city may be slowly adding funds back, but it will take years to make it effective. They can’t have officers constantly patrolling this area, they just don’t have the funds or time to have officers dedicated to patrolling a single trail. I’m not saying the wall is effective good in any way, but people should be able to feel safe in their own homes.

Brian
Brian
21 days ago
Reply to  Micah Johnson

Then police don’t have funding? Hunh. I thought they were still one of the biggest line items in the city budget and that the defunding was too allow for other social services to deal with issues that police were not best suited for.
Ie, they got plenty of cash to do actual police work

maxD
maxD
21 days ago
Reply to  Micah Johnson

Micah, this is leadership vacuum.The police are funded (but understaffed). We need a solid plan and commitment to keep our public openspaces and ROW’s clean and safe, and back it up with some IGA’s and a clear chain of command. We need some temp shelters to push people with major addiction problems to make a change. I get that communities can develiop in this places, and that community is a critical support, BUT those communities do not trump the greater good. There are rights and responsibilities for all citizens, and we have created a new class of citizen with extraordinary rights to claim and occupy public space with fewer corresponding responsibilities to obey traffic laws, littering, burn bans, tree protection, etc. The transition may be painful, but if our leadership is committed to providing support, I believe it will be for the best. Our parks, beaches and openspaces can be used for safe recreation, our ROW’s will be available for all users. THe homeless indicividuals will be compelled to move- hopefuly intoa temp shelter with services to help address addiction, mental health, identification, etc while they connected to more permanent housing and work. People that cannot or willnot accept help will have to rely on their own resources to find housing.It should not be a right nor an expectation for a person to be able to develop a community wherever they choose and expect no interference.

John
John
21 days ago
Reply to  Micah Johnson

The police have not been defunded. You have repeated that bit of propaganda in multiple comments on here and been immediately corrected. Their budget is as big as it ever has been and they have plenty of funding for open positions.
I’ll give the benefit of the doubt that you went through and made a bunch of comments before reading any replies.

Brian W
Brian W
21 days ago
Reply to  Micah Johnson

This bears repeating: PPD HAS NOT BEEN DEFUNDED. Let me say that another way: The Portland Police Department has enough funding to be effective.

Z
Z
21 days ago
Reply to  maxD

Luck with that…very more pressing issues happening in Portland right now.

Reinhold
Reinhold
21 days ago
Reply to  maxD

I hope I can ride my bike through the city without having to weave through needles and trash, constantly looking over my shoulder to make sure that someone isn’t going to jump me. The city needs some tough love shown to drug addicts and homeless people that can’t get their acts together…. I kept my mouth shut for 2 years but I’m getting really sick of this

Granpa
Granpa
22 days ago

This city continues to display its failure. Feckless leadership who are completely out of touch with the citizenry. Law enforcement slow walking through their duties in resentment of the dithering “leaders” who don’t support them. And the spiking crime rate twines with the burgeoning homeless population like a double helix angering this city to hell while “leadership” watches.

Dwk
Dwk
21 days ago
Reply to  Granpa

Same leadership over the DA who just released 2 adults that tried to burn down Mt. Tabor.
Unreal.

Granpa
Granpa
21 days ago
Reply to  Dwk

Right. More than just watching, leadership is enabling Portland’s slide into lawless squalor

Pdx Phoenix
Pdx Phoenix
21 days ago
Reply to  Dwk

Wouldn’t that have been the judge …for allowing bail/release? While DA could object, that’s still up to the judge…

Dwk
Dwk
21 days ago
Reply to  Pdx Phoenix

Prosecutors asked for no bail because trying to burn down a city patk surrounded by homes was not a
Threatheing ior dangerous act the said.

Chip
Chip
21 days ago
Reply to  Dwk

Chesa Boudin was the first to go. Mike Schmidt will be the next.

Steve
Steve
20 days ago
Reply to  Dwk

The DA released them?

Mark in NoPo
Mark in NoPo
22 days ago

“Blocking right-of-way like this is not cool — regardless of why it was done.”

Agreed! The city needs to stop letting individual people run roughshod over public right-of-ways. Sweep every wall and tent in the way.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
21 days ago
Reply to  Mark in NoPo

That’s some equality we can all get behind.

Steve Cheseborough (Contributor)
Chezz
21 days ago

Actually no, many of us do not “get behind” those cruel, violent actions called “sweeps.”

Mark in NoPo
Mark in NoPo
21 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

Do you oppose all sweeps, always?

No exceptions for sites in wooded areas powered by extension cords run from nearby electrical poles? Or sites where cars regularly drive up pedestrian paths and then decay in grasslands?

Or should we let the camps nearest this wall continue apace, until a wildfire takes out the homes above, anyway?

Pdx Phoenix
Pdx Phoenix
21 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

***violent***? Curious, how so?

John
John
21 days ago
Reply to  Pdx Phoenix

Sweeps are violent. You and I may not like the camps, but forcibly kicking people out and often confiscating and destroying what meager property they have is quite violent.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
21 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

violence is what goes on IN the camps.

Watts
Watts
21 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

Actually no, many of us do not “get behind” those cruel, violent actions called “sweeps.”

End the wall sweeps!

Reinhold
Reinhold
21 days ago
Reply to  Chezz

No violence by people sweeping. I think you’re referring to the people that they are sweeping.

Kyle Banerjee
21 days ago

Wondering how many people here actually used that path before it was blocked?

I pass through this area all the time but haven’t used that section for years and never used it at night — I’m not that nuts. I’d much rather take my chances on the roads

maxD
maxD
21 days ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

prior to the camps and the threats from them being allowed to take over Going, I used that weekly. It was never heavily used, but it was regularly used. I rode up going and clambered over that wall on Friday. If Going and Greeley were free from motor vehicles, that would offer an attractive bike route, especially in the winter. Currently, both paths are so super sketchy I am hesitant to ride them in daylight, and I will no longer walk on them. The people I know who regularly used these routes no longer use them. The occupation of Going and Greeley has removed transportation and recreation options for many people.

Ted Buehler
21 days ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

I use it once a week. Or more. Very handy connector.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
21 days ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

That’s how one gets down to swan island on bike or foot from north Portland, so many many people use it

Reinhold
Reinhold
21 days ago
Reply to  Kyle Banerjee

Correct. For all intents and purposes, that shortcut has been annexed by the homeless. People, rightly so, believe it’s no longer safe. And double unsafe at night. Do you want to get jumped by someone having a bad meth experience?

JF
JF
21 days ago

Right or wrong, I can sympathize with the frustrations of anyone who still has to live in urban Portland. I’d probably build that wall if it was in my neighborhood. What a sad nightmare Portland has become. You gave your city away.

Jay Cee
Jay Cee
21 days ago
Reply to  JF

the Police gave the city away to the criminals because they got their fellings hurt in 2020. the citizens on Portland are the only ones doing anything to help right now; from volunteer trash pickup to social media groups that focus on crime watch and retrieving stolen goods. Cops are MIA and the city public works are pretty much missing too

Bryan Morris
Bryan Morris
20 days ago
Reply to  Jay Cee

The citizens of Oregon gave things away when they voted for Measure 110 and other drug legalization ballot measures.

Steven Smith
Steven Smith
21 days ago

I was riding there a week or so ago, heading east on Going and intending to use that cut-through to continue south (on the overcrossing). Workers were installing it when I was there. They said they were doing it as part of a city contract. Maybe that was true. Maybe not. While the cut-through is a nice connection, it was easy enough to continue up to Interstate and go around to access the Going St overcrossing, which is what I did. It was clear from the general scene in the area why people living nearby would want that wall in place. The statement from the neighbor also made that pretty clear.

Kenneth Garrett
Kenneth Garrett
21 days ago

Whether it is vigilanteism or vandalism, it’s simply more physical evidence of the deeply eroded tattered trust that people have in our city to do anything about this stuff. It’s what happens in the classroom and schoolyard when there are no rules and the bullies run the show.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
21 days ago

Personally, I hope we see much more of this. Every time the city has to “fix” something, it’s an admission of their failure in the first place.

Reinhold
Reinhold
21 days ago

There are plenty of ugly boulders a all over town that accomplish the desired outcome.

Brian
Brian
21 days ago

Not familiar with that specific location, but biking the 205 trail has given me understanding why area residents might want to build such a wall.
My last ride on the 205 trail had 5 people doing drugs in visible sight. I had to cut my speed down to walking speed to avoid trash and obstacles several times

The Raindeer Emporium
The Raindeer Emporium
21 days ago

You people want to elect a Republican to city council or elect a fash as governor? This kind of neglect of homeowners will do it.

Middle of the Road Guy
Middle of the Road Guy
21 days ago

Nah, we want to elect the same people enabling the same problems. I’d settle for a common sense moderate.

Watts
Watts
21 days ago

You people want to elect a Republican to city council 

If charter reform passes, right-wingers will only need 25%+1 of the vote to get elected. You can be sure more than one will be able to meet that bar.

Chip
Chip
20 days ago
Reply to  Watts

Sure hope so! The one thing we do know is that the current government structure does not work. At all.

John
John
21 days ago

I don’t live in that part of town, but have friends who do. They are getting mighty fed up with the side effects of the homeless situation. I’d like to see Bike Portland advocating for access while also advocating for safety

BettyBoop
BettyBoop
20 days ago

Definitely on side of homeowners. This access was some lazy beaurocrat ”s answer to providing access to strangers into neighbors’ yards & neighborhoods. These people are entitled to privacy & safety. This is further compounded by more lazy bureaucrats’ non-action on VERY serious & dangerous problems. Millions of dollars are allocated to these addicts & criminals & yet the problems worsen astronomically. Obviously the approach is wrong. PDX is enabling these parasites, they refuse help over & over, but want all the freebies & “free” lifestylelifestyles of drugs & criminality. Many mentally ill are deliberately not taking their prescribed medications + illicit drug use leads to mental illness
A different access for the bicyclists needs to be created without endangering these honest, hardworking folks who live within the law &, by the way, pay taxes that are meant to be used to protect them & allow them to enjoy their law-abiding lifestyles. Yes, the law-abiders also have rights! What a concept.