Earlier this week, people in southeast Portland neighborhoods reported curious signs on the street. The signs were advertising the Oregon Department of Transportation’s Safe Routes to School (SRTS) program: a partnership between state, city and local nonprofits to make it safer and easier for kids to walk, bike and roll to school.
The only thing different from an official the Safe Routes to School sign was a statement on the bottom that read “No Camping.”
These signs – which two ODOT SRTS coordinators confirmed are unsanctioned – comes after a City of Portland ban on homeless people camping along routes designated safe for kids to get to school. Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler issued this ban shortly before the school year began this fall, barring people from camping in a very large swath of the Portland area.
Wheeler’s edict spoke to a real concern from parents whose children go to school in areas where there is a lot of street and sidewalk camping, but it provoked backlash among many Portlanders who felt it was a cruel and clumsy way to approach the problem.
People who criticized the Mayor’s decision pointed out that, statistically speaking, homeless people camping along school walking routes are much less likely than people driving cars to be a threat to children on their way to school. Instead of sweeping encampments, leaving many people with no place to go, they said Wheeler should focus on making streets safer for people traveling outside of cars.
This comes at a crucial crossroads for Portland’s homelessness policy. Last week, Willamette Week reported Wheeler has plans to announce yet another camping ban that would apply citywide. Under this plan, unhoused people would be moved into 500-person sanctioned camping “campuses” across the city – a similar suggestion to the largely-unfavored idea mayoral aide Sam Adams proposed back in February.
Last week’s news about the proposed citywide ban didn’t seem to make a huge wave in homeless advocacy circles. Katrina Holland, who directs the housing nonprofit JOIN, posted a statement on Twitter calling the plan a “pie in the sky” political ploy and telling Portlanders not to give the news too much energy.
Portland City Council candidate Rene Gonzalez, who has centered his campaign against opponent Jo Ann Hardesty on her approach to crime and homelessness, took word of the potential ban as an opportunity to weigh in on the state of the city in a manner that was alarming to many.
In a tweet, Gonzalez called Portland “overrun and under siege” and suggested jailing those who continue to camp on the streets after bans have been enforced. If Gonzalez wins a seat on City Council, homeless advocates fear his approach will gain steam and lead to even worse outcomes. In recent debates and media interviews, Gonzalez has repeatedly mentioned his concerns about people living on cycling corridors like the I-205 and Springwater paths.
Transportation advocacy non-profit The Street Trust, whose logo appears on the unsanctioned signs, tweeted a statement giving members permission to remove these signs on their behalf.
“We support only proven, equitable programs & policies to achieve safe routes to school,” TST’s tweet says.
Recent stories about the benefits of programs like Sam Balto’s viral bike buses and a growing awareness of the deadly road conditions on streets like Powell Blvd (which is home to Cleveland High School) have led many people to champion transportation-based solutions to our biggest safety problems. None of the proposed solutions from transportation advocates include conducting homeless camp sweeps.
It’s unclear who put these signs up. But the situation speaks to a growing divide among Portland advocates, elected officials and the general public about how to address the issue of people living in the public right-of-way.
Taylor has been BikePortland’s staff writer since November 2021. She has also written for Street Roots and Eugene Weekly. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
“homeless advocates fear his approach will gain steam and lead to even worse outcomes.”
Who are the homeless advocates I keep reading about? Who are you talking about?
By overwhelming numbers the public wants to ban camping. It was not even allowed until 7 years ago and the problem is about 10x as bad now, so what kind of approach do the “homeless advocates” as you call them, want?
What “outcomes” are worse than what we have now?
Since people are dying at record rates living outdoors in the city right now, I could care less what these people think.
How about you identify these people, I would like to know who thinks what we have going on right now is compassionate?
There’s a term for this in journalism: Weasel Words:
safe and effective
Homeless advocates (in my little brain at least) are people who probably work in some kind of NGO, or volunteer, or something like that working directly with homeless people. Whether or not the system the work in actually solves anything is worth considering, but I think most people who are in that line of work judge themselves to be compassionate. You clearly feel otherwise, but I reckon it’s not much work to ask someone at Central City Concern what they feel are the best solutions and things holding us back.
What outcomes are worse than what we have now? Throwing people into prison with no resources just because they have nowhere else to go. That is measurably worse for the people on the streets. What happens when their term is up? They go right back to the streets, and then right back to prison. That would be incredibly cruel and unjust.
I don’t enjoy seeing people camping on the streets. I especially don’t enjoy seeing them on the multi-use paths. Better outcomes are possible, perhaps not with the leadership and policy we have in City Hall now – but frankly it can and will absolutely get worse if people like Rene Gonzalez act to criminalize being homeless.
14 homeless people have been murdered in 2022 on the streets and another 50 have died of exposure or drug addiction on the street so I would call that a WORSE outcome than prison but thats just me…
Oh but please don’t sweep these people and move them… how awful.
They are offered services first. If they refuse, then yes…maybe some sterner options are required other than “as you were!”
Our jails are currently full. The people who run the jails are (appropriately) prioritizing who gets held in jail and who gets immediately released based on the seriousness of the alleged crime. Which means that those arrested for “victimless” crimes (such as living on the streets) don’t stay in jail.
If we want to put homeless people in jail, then we have to spend a lot more money for more jail space. If we’re going to do that, why not instead spend that same money on subsidized housing? After all, jail is generally much more expensive.
So when I hear people say we should jail folks for being homeless, I think they are either (a) ignorant of the practicalities, or (b) not being honest about what is possible and what is not possible. When I hear a politician saying that, I vote for someone else.
I think the courts have made it clear you cannot jail someone for being homeless. This whole topic is a snipe hunt.
Do you have a citation for your claim that Rene Gonzalez wants to criminalize being homeless? I’m sorry, but Trump and his acolytes have used up all my patience for baseless fictions. Or will you use the word “if” as an escape hatch?
Enacting a camping ban is criminalizing being houseless
That’s only true if there is no place for people to go.
Thank you for this comment, criminalizing being poor is obviously a worse outcome than what what we have now
Vigilantes if you disagree or guerrilla activists if you agree with the unsanctioned placement of signs. Either way, Portland citizens are fed up with inaction by leaders. The benign signs may be precursors of stronger citizen (guerrilla or vigilante) activism if change regarding crime, homeless campers and the squalid conditions of the city does not become evident.
My block in SE has put up our own signs. Nothing to do w/ homelessness in this case, but just good ole’ fashioned dangerous driving. Too many fast cars driving down a street with 12 kids (including five that are <=3 years old). We’ve set up several “Not A Thru Street” ones (and to be fair, it isn’t) and “Children At Play” to date, and are considering adding a speedbump ourselves.
Us 24 caring parents might be the nicest set of guerilla activists you’ll ever meet!
To be fair on the “gov’t inaction” side of things: we did a whole email campaign last year to get a crosswalk put in at nearby street last year, and it did eventually happen. We were lobbying for a beacon situation, but at least they did something.
Quite literally a sign of the times.
Unrelated topic I’m sure, but what has PDX Transformation been up to lately?
Also unrelated, what if cavemen had Piper Cubs to help them fight dinosaurs?
they’re carbon cubs and they would buy them in Yakima
The Street Trust is apparently so worried about these joke signs that they’re advocating property theft / vandalism on Twitter:
And it’s amazing how rotted the formerly great BTA has become under Iannarone. They’re now actively opposing walkable and bikeable streets:
If you want to hear what it’s like to be visually impaired and have to navigate our sidewalks, here’s some testimony:
I struggle to see how the signs are a joke? Seems like someone has decided to take an organizations logo and messaging, modify it, and use it for their own goals.
ODOT made the program and logo, right? Seems like it would be public domain and free to re-use and re-mix. Maybe the person you’re replying to thinks it was an attempt at parody? It certainly seems to have elicited a funny reaction from the Street Trust.
That’s a bit of a stretch eh? I mean ODOT makes all sorts of signs, I’m sure they wouldn’t want me to modify a stop sign or speed limit sign to my own ends. It’s not “public domain” just because a public agency designed something.
It’s a bit disingenuous to claim that modifying a posted traffic control sign is the same as taking the logo for a public program, adding a line of text, printing it on a consumer grade computer printer and sticking it in the ground with a little wooden stake.
This sign is harmless and you know it. The worst you can reasonably say about it is that you disagree with it, and that’s why you’re desperately looking for a reason to condemn it.
It’s never right to mislead people into thinking something is coming from an agency, business, organization, etc. when it isn’t. Logos aren’t typically in the public domain either.
It’s also not harmless. It’s giving the impression that the signs were coming from or sanctioned by ODOT, The Street Trust, and ALTA. That can cause problems for those groups.
If unofficial/unsanctioned/fake signs become prevalent, official signs lose their power, because people can assume they’re also counterfeit.
It doesn’t matter if someone hijacking another organization’s name or logo feels there’s no harm. It’s not their decision to make.
Who was mislead by these signs? Besides camping IS in fact banned along Safe Routes to School streets, it’s not inaccurate.
If anyone’s misleading people here it’s The Street Trust.
If I hadn’t seen the headline first, I would have assumed the signs were official. Whoever made them went to some effort to make them look official. So I’d guess many people who saw them were mislead into thinking they were official.
Government and non-profit logos are not in the public domain. That’s not how copyright law works.
It’s interesting that they sent out two photos of unsanctioned activities. Are they giving folks their “permission” to disrupt both?
I am not the sign police, and, frankly, neither is the Street Trust.
Maybe they should have just given permission to line out the “Street Trust” part with a sharpie to rectify false attribution rather than giving permission to remove the sign in its entirety?
Wow. Ok now I have lost all respect for street trust.
That unsanctioned sign is abandoned property just like the sleeping bags and shelter tents people use to try to survive in Xanadu. His Honor has sanctioned widespread theft on a regular basis.
Wow. Street Trust could have taken the high road and just tweeted something like “We didn’t make these signs.”
Re: “Fake ‘No Camping’ signs” – the use of “Fake” has become too frequent in media, and often wrong. In this case the signs are real, but they are not official. They are not fake signs. A “fake” sign would be if the picture on the internet was photoshopped. I would change the headline to say they are “Unofficial” or “Unauthorized”.It would also be helpful to know if the signs were placed on one of the routes to school – if so they are not wrong, so “fake” is an even more misleading description. But if they were placed on some other street where camping is still legal, then it would be fair to call the sign “Misleading” or “Wrong”.
I’m fine with it. I bet not a single person saw that headline and thought the sign photo was photoshopped. The meaning is clear.
On the other hand, using your example, a headline about signs placed on a street where camping was still legal that described them as “misleading signs” or “wrong signs” would give me the impression that the signs were misleading or wrong because they said “no camping” in an area where camping is allowed, not that the signs weren’t official. “Fake” doesn’t convey that incorrect meaning.
“Unauthorized” is better than “misleading” or “wrong”, but it could be interpreted to mean the signs were official, but hadn’t been authorized to be installed in that location–maybe not a likely interpretation, but more likely than anyone thinking the article was about photoshopped photos of nonexistent signs.
“Unofficial” works well, but that doesn’t mean “fake” is bad. Fake is used that way commonly–when someone says, “I got a fake email”, “I got a fake call”, “I got fooled by a fake ‘no parking’ sign, etc. people interpret those statements exactly how “fake” was meant to be interpreted in the headline.
Unpermitted, therefore illegal.
This sounds like tactical urbanism.
All in the eye of the beholder. When ODOT places boulders along roadsides to keep campers away from high-speed traffic, it’s “anti-homeless architecture”. People getting killed is apparently preferable to infringing upon one’s imagined right to trespass?
Cool. Looks good to me. I am sick of people preying on, taking advantage of the good will and caring nature of the people of Portland.
Here’s the Street Trust’s mission statement, in case anyone else is as confused as I am:
How does tents blocking sidewalks and bike lanes fit into that? It’s certainly not safe or equitable. In fact it hugely impacts accessibility and from what I’ve seen the associated fires and refuse are not doing the climate any favors.
Genuinely puzzled why they’re taking this stance.
I feel like this is maybe a dumb thing to say, but everyone who insists on saying things like “moving homeless people away from sidewalks and roads is good, actually”. Where should they be moved to? What are the serious options that we even have?
If your answer is jail, or “I don’t care just not my neighborhood/place I frequent” and you want to be critical of “compassionate” people at the Street Trust or whatever – maybe it’s worth reevaluating that.
I believe maintaining public access to transportation facilities like roads and sidewalks is good, and that removing tents and debris from such facilities serves that first good. So, I’d agree with the view you quoted.
While I can’t speak for others who share that view, I can personally say that I believe campers should have the option to enter treatment, rehabilitative housing, shelter, or permanent private housing, as fits each case. I’m also open to continued outdoor camping, as long as it occurs at facilities that are safely managed and offer treatment services.
My main frustration in this situation is not with the people living outdoors, but rather the bureaucratic ineptitude that has failed to scale the above-mentioned solutions. I am also frustrated at the NIMBY people who have made it so dang hard to build housing, treatment, and safe rest facilities.
Every neighborhood should have shelter in it! Every shelter should be safe and well-regulated!
I’m pretty sure most people would agree with me. There might be some people who are so triggered by camping and campers that they’d advocate for prison sentences for campers, but honestly I don’t think there are many people who hold that view.
Finally, I do think there is some conflation going on in this discussion: camping may not be a crime, but, as far as most city dwellers see, there is clearly an association between *this kind of homelessness* and other crimes such as drug selling, theft, trespassing, arson, etc. Because of that association, I believe some people might flippantly say “these people should all be in prison”. My guess is that a relatively small number of homeless people commit prison-worthy crimes… but since that’s not obvious when seeing an individual on the street, the stereotype might go a long way to explaining the sentiment.
How does this sit with you: “Forcing students to walk in traffic lanes with speeding automobiles is good, actually.” Where should they walk? We can’t just remove the tents and trash, after all…
Move them to sanctioned homeless camps or shelters.
People shouldn’t “be moved” anywhere. The question is “where should they move.”
Most people who choose to camp on the streets (rather than use one of the empty shelter beds that are available) do not block sidewalks, so it clearly a problem that a motivated camper can solve. Campers have agency and are not the helpless children some make them out to be.
As for the Street Trust’s position on this issue… well, does it really matter? They are an irrelevant organization that primarily serves as a vehicle for Iannarone. If her donors want the org to focus on policing unauthorized signage, then isn’t that what they should do? My only concern is the appeal to low level vigilantism.
I was so relieved when, at last night’s Powell meeting, BikeLoud was chosen to represent the bicycle community.
You had me until Bike Loud.
Who would you have chosen to “represent” an entire mode of traffic?
Addicts generally don’t have agency. If they did they wouldn’t be on the streets. They are not rational actors.
Does BikePortland support Safe Routes to Schools? Or does it support “camping”? The two positions are fundamentally incompatible, ask any parent of PPS students.
It’s strange and a bit eerie how this site has skewed away from bike issues and heavily toward advocacy to support our (in my opinion) failed homelessness policy. The Street Trust seems to have headed the same direction. Is there something in the water?
This is a news site. We don’t “support” one thing or another. We do have values and beliefs and we don’t try to hide behind them in the name of “journalistic objectivity” which I’ve always felt was an unrealistic notion. As publisher and editor of this site and the owner of its parent company, I can tell you that I support both of those things. I don’t see it being incompatible at all. I understand we live in difficult times and that whether I like it or not, there are people living outside. I think we need to do more to get these folks off the street, but I don’t want to live in a city that is so immature or mean that they think they can just “sweep” them all away or roll in the police to “take care of the homeless”. That’s not realistic! I’d like to see more law enforcement of criminal acts but I realize that’s a very tricky road to go down. It’s a complicated and messy issue! I want everyone to feel safe on our streets and I don’t believe we should start valuing some type of people over others simply because some of us have a place to live and some of us do not.
I don’t think it’s “eerie” at all how this site has changed our coverage. I understand that everything is connected and people living on streets has a direct impact on transportation — especially for people who experience streets on foot and bikes.
“Is there something in the water”? Ummm yes! These problems have grown in recent years and our ability to understand how to best help fix them has grown too. It makes sense in my opinion for transportation advocates to not be ignorant of what’s going on around them and to find ways to help further the conversation where and when we can.
Thanks for the comment.
I think that is slightly misstating the issue. We don’t value people based on if they simply don’t have a place to live or not. Definitely not most people in Portland, who are some of the most caring people I’ve ever met. We are just tired of being taken advantage of because of our big hearts. I hate that people just take over any public space they want, and act violently to anyone else that dares to try and utilize those public spaces they have claimed as their own. I am sick of people trashing the neighborhood like they don’t give a f.*ck I am sick of people assaulting, stabbing innocent folks just walking down the street enjoying their day. I am sick of the ex felons and hard drug users with their prison yard like behavior intimidating and stealing from anyone and everyone. I hate the mad max meth zombie cars with no licenses plates speeding though the neighborhood and on MUPs. That Midwest (Northwest) niceness that we have always been known for is being turned into east coast meanness, jaded frustration, and I hate that is who we are now.
I agree with you Jay. I didn’t mean to misstate the issue. I’m tired of the situation here too. Our leaders have totally failed us and they’ve hidden behind our big hearts to justify not dealing with the issue the way they should have. The pendulum of tolerance has swung way to far and we need to do a better job setting some boundaries. I’m sick of it too! I just think that however mad housed people get, we need to be careful that what we do doesn’t hurt innocent people. That’s one reason why this is such a tough issue.
It’s clear to me that the homeless are being used as political pawns, by the Street Trust as well as BikePortland.
Hi Jimmy T. I’d love to hear you flesh this claim about BP using “homeless as political pawns” a bit more. Really. What do you mean?
“People who criticized the Mayor’s decision pointed out that, statistically speaking, homeless people camping along school walking routes are much less likely than people driving cars to be a threat to children on their way to school. Instead of sweeping encampments, leaving many people with no place to go, they said Wheeler should focus on making streets safer for people traveling outside of cars. “
How about both?
Tents and/or garbage blocking a sidewalk force people into the street, exposing them to the dangerous traffic. Unless we are going to ban driving on any safe route to school street that has urban campers on it, the campers are the ones that need to go. I’m honestly okay with either option, but homeless advocates can’t just say “cars are more dangerous than convicted sex offenders and drug addicts” and be done with it.
It’s amazing that such a tiny, tiny ask of our homeless advocates of “make sure kids can at least walk to school without having to walk in the street because of camps” is met with this kind of response. Gaslighting, whataboutism, etc. It’s very telling.
Homeless man murders someone for asking him to move (located half a block from a primary route to Grant HS:
3 loaded guns recovered in tent of Portland sex offender:
If homeless advocates think they can convince parents that cars are the greater danger and this whole thing is a big nothingburger, I think they are going to have an uphill battle.
I live in South Tabor. We have a route that crosses Division up 80th to an elementary school. It used to be super dangerous to cross there. Now they have lights, cross walk, super nice and convenient. Clearly a large investment right there by PCC, no doubt it’s safer.
Then we had a junkie move in with one of those extremely difficult to move white huts. He brought in trash, there were needle caps everywhere.
Kids have to walk past this to access the cross walk. Who knows who’s living in this hut. At least a house or apartment has a paper trail.
So I took action into my own hands. Tired of it. I drive by this spot everyday. When I didn’t see someone inside, I assumed it was abandoned. I checked inside, the odor was overwhelming, essentially a mini flop house on public property. Then I screwed the hut shut with several wood screws and wrote in big letters on the outside, no longer in use. I reported the hut and it was removed two weeks later.
Did someone come back to the hut, probably. But it sent a message, not in this neighborhood.
I have removed several tents and belongings from our neighborhood again, not in our neighborhood.
If the person homeless was a mother and children present, I would do everything to help. But they’re always single entitled men so they get tough love and a reset.
If these homelessness folks want to test parents, go on ahead, parents become grizzlies when fear begins to creep in.
So, which is more dangerous and less desirable:
Adding the words “no camping” to a sign
Blocking pathways, burning and otherwise destroying vegetation, leaving trash and needles all over public lands, defecating and otherwise polluting the land and water?
I think the answer is clear, so go ahead and count me among the uncaring. I’m sick of having lost access to so much of the public infrastructure.
I really don’t feel the “lost access to public infrastructure” thing that I hear a lot of folks on here talk about. I mean, I’m a regular person who walks my dog around the n’hood a lot, rides around the city a bunch, hikes in Forest Park, and drives around from time to time and I don’t really have an experience of street campers restricting my movement much at all. That’s just my experience I guess.
I think you are mostly correct except on some MUPs where it can get sketchy, especially if young and or female.
I rode across the new 7th bridge yesterday, you passed me on your Ebike on 7th politely BTW…
However just before the new nice bridge coming from the east is a very sketchy street with disturbing signs and it would not feel safe to people not use to riding or walking through this scene.
That is the introduction to our new infrastructure…if you were from anywhere but here……..
What’s worse, “blocking pathways, burning, etc.” or me writing a letter to the mayor about that and signing your name, or maybe writing it on The Street Trust’s (or Nike’s, or the ACLU’s or whoever’s) letterhead because I think my message will have more clout if he sees it’s coming from you or one of those groups?
Is your answer still that that’s clearly fine, because it’s less dangerous and more desirable than the camping impacts?
To pick a real (and realistic) example, a neighbor of mine erected a very authentic looking speed limit sign (with the correct speed limit).
Is that problematic? Should I ask the Street Trust for permission to remove it?
Yes, that’s problematic in my opinion. Not that I think there’ll be any negative impacts from that sign, but because private parties shouldn’t be making decisions about when it’s acceptable to erect signs that fool people into thinking they’re official. PBOT would be right to demand that they remove it.
If they put up a sign that clearly wasn’t an official sign but had the correct speed limit–say one of those plastic “slow down” turtles with the speed limit on it–I’d feel differently. That message clearly would be coming from the neighbor, versus tricking people into thinking it was PBOT’s.
To use another real example, I turned in someone who put up official looking “private drive”, “no public access”, etc. signs to stop people from standing in the public street to take selfies in front of his house that had been in a movie. PBOT removed them.
The main issue I see is that while your neighbor’s decision isn’t likely to cause any problems (and could have benefits) another neighbor may decide to privatize a public street (example above), reserve public parking for themselves, or put a stop sign that creates confusion and danger. I don’t think a free-for-all where people are putting up signs that trick people into believing they’re official–deciding what those signs say and where they go–is a good situation.
I don’t see the relevance of your Street Trust comment. Why would you ask the Street Trust for permission to remove a sign your neighbor put up? On the other hand, if your neighbor put up a sign on public property that purported to be from the Street Trust, but wasn’t, I wouldn’t fault the Street Trust for removing it.
I don’t see what the problem is.
Camping on public right-of-way is not legal.
Camping on a Safe Route to School is specifically banned.
Where’s the lie?
I’m a little mystified by the question of ‘what do we do about the homeless’ or ‘where should the homeless go’. I have some experience in this so I can pretty much guarantee that if you went up to anyone living on the street and slapped them with a ‘notice to appear’ for a competency hearing seeking to place them in either/both a guardianship/conservatorship the following would happen: There would be a proceeding in a Superior court; the subject of the guardianship/conservatorship would appear in that proceeding well dressed and well represented (the hearing could not occur without representation). The individual would stand up and say the following: ‘I am the one in charge of my personal and financial affairs, i am fully competent to make decisions in every regard to my affairs, i am responsible for my circumstances.’ Now, knowing this, why does anyone here think that they, or someone else, or society, is somehow on the hook for ‘doing something about the homeless’ or ‘where can we move them to?’ Are there laws about camping on the street; laws about blocking access for the disabled? Enforce those laws.
I suspect that kids are not graduating from Lincoln High, or Grant or any other high school here in PDX and hitting the streets with their tents. What I do think is that the homeless in Portland are TRANSIENTS who come from elsewhere, many from rural areas of the Northwest and California. That suggests homelessness is not a ‘Portland problem’. It is a regional challenge and it deservers both money and services at the state level. Transients come here for two reasons: there are services and there is anonymity.
Portlanders, let’s get away from the fiction that there is somehow a debt, an obligation we owe tent people.
No doubt, these signs are a cause for public concern.
Meanwhile, how many people in southeast portland reported curious, drugged-out, screaming scroungers piling trash in a bike lane?
BP used to be about improving biking, now it’s a lot of craftily veiled “values and beliefs” advocacy in direct odds of that.
Please take the drug addict advocacy out and the bicycle rider advocacy back in.
Seems the most vocal proponents of drug (and alcohol) use are the ones that are already addicted. I don’t mean that they are non-functional addicts but addicts just the same.
Can’t count the number of times I’ve had to deal with peer pressure (growing up and now in the workplace) because one just can’t possibly have fun without taking drugs or alcohol.
How does children being forced to walk in the road effect the statistics on their risk from motor vehicles?
I personally don’t care if the signs are “unsanctioned.” The unsanctioned camping is by far the bigger problem, and any sign that prevents unsanctioned camping is a good thing, IMHO.
Also a question for Taylor: What does your dislike of these signs have to do with cycling in Portland? It’s a cycling blog, remember. Aren’t we cyclists in favor of keeping Safe Routes to School unobstructed by unsanctioned camps? I thought we were. This is an example of you and JM letting your personal opinions about unrelated issues take over the site. Please stick to cycling issues. Thanks.
I disagree. The signs have everything to do with cycling. They reference a program aimed at safe cycling routes. They use that program’s logos and state sponsor (ODOT) to try to fool people into believing they’re official. That’s certainly a cycling issue.
They also hijack the names and credibility of one of Portland’s major cycling advocates (The Street Trust) and a nationally known private bicycle/pedestrian planner (Alta) to give credibility to their “no camping” message. That’s certainly a cycling issue.
Many readers have strong opinions about ODOT and The Street Trust, and certainly about safe routes and people who obstruct them. Without this article, many people (including cyclists and BikePortland readers) who see the signs might be unhappy that one or more of the three groups on the sign are putting up “No camping” signs. The article helps prevent that misconception and anger towards those groups.
Conversely, other cyclists and readers might see the signs might be thrilled that those groups are putting up “No camping” signs. This article helps prevent that misconception and inaccurate good feelings towards those groups.
The article also shows The Street Trust’s reaction. That’s useful information whether someone supports or opposes that group.
Also, you claim Taylor dislikes the signs. Maybe so, maybe not, but the article stays fairly objective and tame in regard to any criticism of the signs. It doesn’t even mention that they’re almost certainly illegal. It doesn’t mention–let alone get a reaction from–Alta, a private company who could lose business and credibility if people believe the signs are official. Nobody contacted ODOT, either, who I’d guess doesn’t like private individuals tricking people into thinking a private sign or message is an official ODOT sign or message. Any reporter who really disliked the signs could do a scathing–but objective and factual–takedown of them.
Finally, the article has generated over 70 comments. Clearly it’s of interest to readers. And the many comments directly addressing the signs touch on important “do the ends justify the means in cycling advocacy?” issues.
This is exactly the type of cycling-focused article I appreciate.