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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 20, 2006 3:13 AM. The previous post in this blog was Clean, wasted money. The next post in this blog is Memo to the 'burbs. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Thursday, April 20, 2006

Finally, a good reason for the aerial tram

It will be safer than walking the streets in Portland on a nice day. Gotta love those Rose City priorities.

Comments (18)

C'mon. All those shootings? Non-fatal. What's a little gunplay among fellow citizens?

I didn't know the tram was bullet proof.

There is a public safety contradiction in Portland that I can't get my head around. Violent crime really has been dropping, both over the long term (it's something like 40% of what it was in the 80s) and even in the short term over the last couple of years. Yet it seems that these really scary downtown shootings are happening more often, and it's not just Fox 12-style news coverage because shootings have always been thoroughly covered by the media.

Are the cops failing to do their jobs -- either because of lack of resources or the wrong focus? Or is it something else that's beyond the control of law enforcement?

Miles - Read GOD HELP AMERICA april 18th

This may give you a clue as to whats going on in the world

Despite city leaders spin, downtown is a creepy place to be. This recent shooting took place on the corner where I catch a bus to work every morning at 7 a.m. And even at 7 a.m. there are drug deals going on in clear sight, people simply walking back and forth in a one block area and hanging out on the street corner. None of them ever get on a bus but do use the bus shelters as their place of business. They all seemed to go away for a while after Mayor Potter announced a "crackdown" (you should excuse the expression) in the downtown area. Apparently that extra enforcement is done and now the dealers and their hangers-on are filtering back.


Read FREAKONOMICS (non fiction, on the best seller list for quite some time) for his take as to why the overall numbers are going down due to demographics of age and abortion and unwanted children, but the ones that are left there has been very little done to help.


On the one hand, I'm not going to worry that much about one, two or even three random shootings spread out over several months. They're tragic; they're stupid; but I don't think they're a fair barometer of the safety situation downtown. In a metro area of two million people in a country where people can pretty much always buy guns, someone's gonna get shot every once in a while.

On the other hand, downtown Portland is clearly a pretty troubled place these days. It's visibly stagnating, especially compared with just about every other neighborhood in the central city, east side or west. And, as an above poster noted, it's crawling with ne'erdowells who aren't shooting each other on a regular basis, but are a nuisance at best and threatening at worst for people going about their business. We need a vigorous police presence, obviously, but getting some new retail and professional business down there would do just as much as a real crackdown would.

I'm not going to worry that much about one, two or even three random shootings spread out over several months.

In Portland, there have been three in less than a week -- a day care center, Lloyd Center, and Downtown.

of course this is only one block away from the place where parole/ probation folks are supposed to report on 5th between Stark & Washington

True that, Jack. My bad.

Libertas And, as an above poster noted, it's crawling with ne'erdowells who aren't shooting each other on a regular basis, but are a nuisance at best and threatening at worst for people going about their business.
JK: That is what is known as a vibrant, walkable area. Creating such areas is the goal of the IDIOT planners that infest Portland. It is an area that encourages random meetings and conversations with strangers, another goal of the IDIOT planners. Notice that you donít need a car there, another goal of the IDIOT planners.

They want an area like this in every part of town!


Yes, Jim. Cities are evil places. Sodom and Gomorrah were both cities. Why, just the other day I rode the bus. The bus! To think that civilization somehow came about in such places.

I was recently in Minneapolis. They have a bus mallóno doubt designed by IDIOT planners. But their bus mall is full of bustling sidewalk cafes, busy shops and smart professional folks doing there thing. So it can be done, and when it's done, it's pretty cool.

Are there problems in downtown Minneapolis? Yes, there are. Compared to downtown St Paul, a howling deserted wasteland as far as I could tell, it was like Paris. I know, Jim, Parisófull of French people, having conversations with strangers. Quelle horreur!

PSóthere actually are quite a few places where you can walk around in Portland: go to restaurants, bars, shops, maybe accidentally talk to someone. They're called neighborhoods.

I have Freakonomics sitting on my shelf, just haven't read it yet. Maybe I'll start.

I personally think downtown Portland is an example of a vibrant American city. Laugh if you want, but I've lived in and/or visited a number of cities from California to New York and haven't found one yet that I prefer over Portland for downtown "livability" (and no I won't get into my definition of that for fear of being accused of being in bed with IDIOT planners). Bottom line: we always head downtown to shop or grab lunch instead of to a suburban mall or some godawful Matrix-like creation like Bridgeport Villa.

Still, there is a difference between colorful urban life -- the pierced and tatooed kids smoking cigarettes and harmlessly mocking passersby -- and threatening behavior -- the kid who asks for $10 and gets in your face when you say no. Portland has more than its share of the latter. Walk the streets of NYC and you'll see lots of urban oddities but very little that is actually scary.

So what to do? My understanding is that most attempts by the City to shut down aggressive pan-handling and loitering have been thrown out by the Oregon Supreme Court. If their hands are tied legally, what's the solution?

libertas, April 20, 07:30 PM I was recently in Minneapolis. They have a bus mallóno doubt designed by IDIOT planners. But their bus mall is full of bustling sidewalk cafes, busy shops and smart professional folks doing there thing. So it can be done, and when it's done, it's pretty cool.
JK: Interesting. So was I. I even taped a presentation by a developer who is building a rather tall condo tower on the bus mall. The newspaper touted it as a great event because it showed that people donít need cars.

The developer laughed at this and explained that the lower ten (or so, I donít recall the exact number) floors are dedicated to parking. ON THE BUS MALL!!!

There were a lot of people enjoying the sidewalk restaurants. However, I canít see how they might bring much outside money to the city like manufacturing businesses do. Like Columbia Sportswear that Katz & Klowns drove out of town. (a city canít thrive by people selling hamburgers to each other)

Almost forgot: Someone asked the developer how many condos he sold to couples with children. His response was telling for Portlandís future: NONE.

He could not remember EVER selling a high rise condo to a family with children. He also said that when owners have children, the generally move out.

Brilliant planning. Create a family hostile city.


My wife and I, with a little protest from her, walked the full length of the neighborhoods on both sides of Central Park, all around central NY down to 42nd, criss crossing east and west, dinner in Time Square, etc. and not once were we panhandled. The next day we walked all of lower Manhatten, same result. Were usually panhandled in Portland less than two blocks from where we are parked. Now for those who think panhandling is part of the "urban life", get to know humanity, I somewhat agree. But when "agressive panhandling" occurs with drug selling and use, and the resultant style, that is another matter; and that is Portland

Libertas clearly wasn't visiting downtown Minneapolis on the weekend: when the commuters leave on Friday, the downtown core (especially the bus mall) becomes deserted.

There are no downtown supermarkets (excluding Target, home of all things Kraft). By Sunday afternoon(especially in the colder weather) it looks like a neutron bomb went off: NO PEOPLE.

Minnepolis is the wrong example of a downtown we should emulate.

Again, what to do? NYC got rid of its panhandling problem by extraordinarily aggressive law enforcement. I once saw a transit cop screaming at a homeless guy in the subway while forcefully shoving him towards the exit. When two or three of us more innocent bystanders stopped to watch, frankly out of concern that the cop was on the verge of losing it, he turned on us and yelled "Move the f*** on, or you'll get a piece of this too." And so we moved on.

Morally, I find those Guiliani tactics questionable, but putting that aside, there's a legal question given Oregon's constitution. The police will tell you their hands are tied unless they personally witness physical aggression. Is there a middle ground solution that is both legal and effective?


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