homelessness

Parks bureau must address homeless campers before trails can be built at Gateway Green

by on September 22nd, 2016 at 12:43 pm

BAC Bike Ride East Portland-19

Get used to more of this at Gateway Green.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

In the past nine days, over 200 people have chipped in nearly $60,000 toward to the construction of the “Dirt Lab” at Gateway Green. But as excitement builds for the first new singletrack trails in Portland in what seems like forever, advocates and partners behind the project have come face-to-face with one of Portland’s most vexing issues: homelessness.

Dozens of people who were just moved from the massive homeless camping villages on the Springwater Corridor path have found solace at Gateway Green, the 40-acre parcel of vacant land that sits at the intersection of two freeways in east Portland. That means before any shovels can hit the ground to build the new trails and riding areas, the city must address the land’s current residents.
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Street Roots’ Israel Bayer on moving Springwater camps: ‘Do it surgically’

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 22nd, 2016 at 12:37 pm

israel bayer

Nonprofit newspaper director Israel Bayer.
(Photo: Street Roots)

As the day approaches for a so-called “sweep” of everyone camping along the Springwater Corridor, one of Portland’s leading housing advocates is offering a counterproposal.

Instead of pushing everyone in these informal camps “back into the neighborhoods and downtown,” Street Roots Executive Director Israel Bayer wrote in a column Thursday, the city should (a) increase “organized camping” and (b) “surgically” target only people who are causing problems, not everyone else around them.

“If there are bad actors, get them out of there,” Bayer wrote. “If people are having an environmental impact, give them an ultimatum. Clean your camps up, or be swept.”

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Oregonian: Mayor Hales plans complete removal of camps along Springwater path

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 15th, 2016 at 9:10 am

mohawk craig

“Mohawk Craig,” a resident of a Springwater Corridor camp, in January.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

“You can’t stay here any more.”

After months of telling park rangers and police to avoid issuing that order to people living in tents along the major Portland biking path, Willamette Week and The Oregonian are reporting that Mayor Charlie Hales plans to order a sweep of the length of the corridor within city of Portland boundaries (the eastern border is SE Jenne Rd/174th).

Here’s more from Hales in a video created by The Oregonian:
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Views from campers about the future of the tent city on Springwater path

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 13th, 2016 at 9:56 am

trail motion

The Springwater Corridor near SE 82nd.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

It’s been a week since someone living on the Springwater Corridor survived a gunshot and months since it became maybe the largest single tent camp — tent suburb? — in Oregon.

Consciously tolerated by the city government under an uneasy compromise brokered by Mayor Charlie Hales and his (now former) chief of staff Josh Alpert, the encampment has gotten more and more complicated as it’s become a more common place for people without a roof to look for refuge. It’s also gotten harder for people biking on the Springwater to ignore. With Alpert gone from the city as of July 1, the camp’s future is newly uncertain.

Thacher Schmid (who I should disclose is also a personal friend of mine) is a freelance reporter based in Portland, writing in this case for his own website. He rode his bike to the camp last week and spent a few hours talking to people there about their lives and the city’s efforts to reduce, manage and regulate homelessness.

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Alleged shooting by fellow camper sends Springwater resident to hospital

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on July 5th, 2016 at 8:46 am

trail motion

The Springwater Corridor in January.
(Photo: M.Andersen/BikePortland)

A man living on the Springwater Corridor survived an early-morning “non-life-threatening gunshot wound” Tuesday near the path just east of SE 82nd Avenue, police said.

A news release from the Portland Police Bureau said the suspect also lives along the path, parts of which have become an informal home for people living in tents as local home prices have continued to climb.

The release said police “located and detained a person of interest in the shooting” but did not describe the detainee as the “suspect.”

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Two videos that will help you understand homelessness in Portland

by on May 27th, 2016 at 1:14 pm

Still from Hazelnut Grove, a short film by Kevin Neidorf.

Still from Hazelnut Grove, a short film by Kevin Neidorf.

I want to share two videos that I think will help broaden your understanding of the homelessness crisis and give you some new perspective on it. And here’s why I’m doing it:

Over the past few months I’ve gotten many emails from people who bike by homeless camps and then write in to say: “The homeless situation is out of hand and something needs to be done about it.” In part because of emails like that we’ve covered the topic several times recently.

This might make you wonder: Why are bicycle riders talking about the local homelessness crisis? Why am I reading about this on a bike blog?

Part of the answer is that when you experience a city by bike, you are physically and mentally much more a part of your surroundings than people who drive or use transit. Bicycle riders experience the street environment in a very direct way, so it’s no surprise that all this camping — much of it happening directly adjacent to multi-use paths — is on many people’s minds at the end of their commute.
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Legislators’ bicycle town hall on Springwater path will focus on camping issues, safety concerns

by on May 5th, 2016 at 10:22 am

Springwater path near Cartlandia 82nd and Harney-1.jpg

The Springwater Corridor near 82nd.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

Several Oregon state legislators will host what they’re calling an “interactive bicycle town hall” on May 14th to learn more about conditions on the Springwater Corridor path.

Interactions between path users and people who live in camps adjacent to the path reached a boiling point back in January. Since then there has been a broad community effort to address the issue. In April, local author and nonprofit director Joe Kurmaskie said he would cancel his youth summer bike camps due to concerns over the unruly and dangerous behaviors of some of the Springwater campers.

The issue was back in the headlines again this week when local news stations reported on a major operation by the Portland Police to move people out of the camps and pick up trash and personal belongings.
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Street Roots survey turns up differing priorities in mayor’s race

Michael Andersen (Contributor) by on April 18th, 2016 at 2:04 pm

Portland Mayor Debate-20.jpg

Mayoral candidates Ted Wheeler, left, and Bim Ditson.
(Photo: J.Maus/BikePortland)

Street Roots, Portland’s first-rate paper about homelessness and housing issues, sometimes asks questions about the closely related subject of transportation.

A questionnaire distributed to the mayoral candidates and published last week includes a quick window into the ways different candidates think about mobility issues.

The question:

Please place the following items in order of priority as mayor.

• Increase parking
• Bike infrastructure
• Low­ or no-fare public transit

Here’s what they said:[Read more…]

Nonprofit puts youth bike camps on hold due to Springwater safety concerns – UPDATED

by on April 18th, 2016 at 11:47 am

kurmaskielead

Kurmaskie (in rear with cowboy hat) and
campers last summer).
(Photo courtesy Joe Kurmaskie)

Portland author Joe Kurmaskie says he feels conditions on the Springwater Corridor path have gotten so bad that he might be forced to cancel his popular teen summer bike camp program.

Kurmaskie, who turned 50 this year, is known for his “Metal Cowboy” books that describe his many adventures while bike touring through the United States and around the world (including two cross-country journeys with his wife and five children). He moved to north Portland in 1998 and now lives in Sellwood. For the past four years he’s run the “Camp Creative: No Child Left Inside” summer camp for 9-13 year olds in partnership with Portland Parks & Recreation. The camp is completely bike-based and the main route used to access activities is the Springwater Corridor. This year Kurmaskie says he’s decided to put the camp on hold because of an increase in unruly and unsafe behavior from people he’s encountered along the path.
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Neighborhood meeting tonight will address homeless camp on Springwater path near 82nd

by on February 4th, 2016 at 1:44 pm

Springwater path near Cartlandia 82nd and Harney-1.jpg

Springwater path west of 82nd.
(Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

We apologize for the short notice; but we’ve just heard that the Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association is hosting a meeting tonight (7:00 pm at Brentwood Darlington Community Center, 7211 SE 62nd Ave) to talk about issues related to the large number of people living in tents adjacent to the Springwater Corridor path near SE 82nd Ave.

As we reported last month, the situation reached a boiling point when business owners, residents, and users of the path shared a variety of concerns about the impact of the people living on the path. One of the activists mentioned in our story on January 14th, Terry Dublinksi-Milton, connected with Vahid Brown, a well-known homeless advocate who has helped establish the Hazelnut Grove camp in north Portland.
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