homelessness

Comment of the Week: Moderate position needed on safe cycling and homelessness issue

Avatar by on May 15th, 2020 at 2:46 pm

“If we want Portland to be taken seriously as a pedestrian and bike-friendly city, we need people to feel safe walking and biking, wherever they may be.”

Riders navigate around a person’s tent on the I-205 multi-use path. (Photo: J. Maus/BikePortland)

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North Portland neighborhoods request clear paths in homelessness statement

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

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

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

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

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

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

PBOT Commissioner Chloe Eudaly’s statement on I-205 path conditions

Avatar by on March 25th, 2019 at 4:56 pm

(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

Last week I highlighted conditions on the I-205 path at NE Sandy Boulevard. The response to the coverage here and on Facebook was overwhelming.

My intention was to make people aware that this path and others have become dramatically impacted by our homelessness crisis. Not only was the path full of personal belongings and discarded items, many of our fellow Portlanders have become so desperate for a place to live that they built shelters directly on the path — nearly blocking it in some sections.

The comments here on BikePortland were mostly productive and I think overall we’ve all learned a lot about the various issues at play. Facebook was a different story. Too many of the 1,300 or so comments were useless and mean. So, after over 220,000 views and 2,500 shares in just four days, I took the video down and posted a note to explain why.

On Saturday, City Commissioner Chloe Eudaly, who oversees the Portland Bureau of Transportation, left a comment on that post that I think merits more attention. I’ve pasted it below:[Read more…]

Conditions on the I-205 path are unacceptable

Avatar by on March 18th, 2019 at 3:44 pm

With so few safe and direct alternatives, the I-205 multi-use path in east Portland is a crucial backbone in our transportation network. Unfortunately it’s been rendered nearly unusable due to an abundance of trash, personal belongings, and makeshift homes that have been built upon it.
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Comment of the Week: A woman’s fear of riding on the I-205 path

Avatar by on March 18th, 2019 at 10:46 am

Southbound on 205 path where it goes under Sandy Blvd.
(Photo: Jonathan Maus/BikePortland)

A comment written by Roberta on March 9th touched on an issue that we’ve addressed several times in recent years: People who live on and adjacent to multi-use paths.
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Guest opinion: I’m disturbed by anti-houseless bigotry on BikePortland

Avatar by on November 14th, 2018 at 9:39 am

“Commenters on BikePortland used this incident as an excuse to take potshots at our unhoused neighbors.”
— Andrew Riley

This was written by Andrew Riley, an east Portland resident and longtime community organizer. He wrote this to me via email and gave me permission to post it as an opinion. — Jonathan

I’ve been reading the site since 2007. I’m writing as an East Portland resident, as a cyclist, and as someone who lives near several tent camps along I-205.

When the story on the I-205 “booby trap” was published, I was disturbed – but not surprised, to be honest – to see BikePortland commenters immediately blame houseless campers for this assault.

Literally the first comment on the post linked the two:
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Parks bureau must address homeless campers before trails can be built at Gateway Green

Avatar 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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