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Saturday, August 26, 2006

Portland, the Gang Banger City

Another shooting spree downtown last night. And now we have mobs of armed teenagers throwing rocks at cops and trashing cars.

Hey, Chief Potter, when are we going to admit we have a crisis on our hands here and start doing something other than business as usual at the Police Bureau?

We're too busy with streetcars and real estate scams, I guess. But hey, when you get hit by a stray bullet, you will soon be able to send the cops a free e-mail for help via the city's wi-fi cloud! Maybe Flexcar could get into the ambulance business...

Comments (1)

Because shutting down city construction and mass transit progress would help the police eliminate crime and rap-show after-party violence?

I don't feel that a few shootings a year constitues a 'crisis'.

Take a few deep breaths mister. I was there that night as the shots rang out and the police responded accordingly - removing funding from sustainable transportation alternatives to increase police coverage isn't an answer. There was PLENTY of coverage that night. Reponse by city police was a matter of seconds.

Posted by: Lynn at August 26, 2006 11:49 PM

Sure. It's safe. Everything's fine. We don't need more gang intervention in Portland. Let's buy more toys.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 27, 2006 12:11 AM

The world isn't a safe place; and creating a police state with 1 cop for every 10 'citizens' isn't a solution.

I didn't say everythings was safe, but your catgorization of the downtown crime rate as "a crisis" is propoganda to further your political opinions. It's nothing more than scare-mongering.

How about we put some meters on every four blocks of the downtown area whare you can put in $1.75 for 2-zones of gang pervention for two hours? (sniggle) Would you feel safer?

Posted by: Lynn at August 27, 2006 12:24 AM

I don't feel that a few shootings a year constitues a 'crisis'.

Reading his blog entry, the incident sounds almost like a spectator sport. Or maybe a TV show. "Come for 'Centipede", stay for the gang violence!". Makes me want to pull up a lawn chair in Old Town on some random Saturday night just to see what happens.

Here's something else not to worry about. Afterall, getting stuck over I-5 will only happen once in a while.

Posted by: Chris Snethen at August 27, 2006 12:35 AM

In the past week or so we've had a riot with 100 gangster wannabe's at Skidmore and Kerby, a shooting between two more in the Lloyd Center parking lot in broad daylight, and another pitched gun battle outside "da cluuuub" -- the latter is getting to be a semi-annual pro-am event. By Portland standards, that's a crisis. And where are your heroes, Sten and Adams? Utterly out to lunch.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 27, 2006 12:54 AM

"removing funding from sustainable transportation alternatives to increase police coverage isn't an answer. There was PLENTY of coverage that night. Reponse by city police was a matter of seconds."

I agree, BUT the streetcar and TRAM are not "sustainable" transportation alternatives. At best Tri-Met and its busses require two tax dollars for every fare dollar collected to operate. The streetcar and tram many times that. Transportation alternatives may be enviromentally friendly, but most folks outside of City goverment feel that to be truely sustainable the "Triple Bottom Line, economic, environmental and social" needs to come in to play, ie you have to look at cost effectiveness.

When there is a limited pool of tax dollars, and the parking revenues, etc, have been diverted to operate for these "trendy" transporation amenities, and thirty years worth of TIF bond payments divert $60+ million annually from Police, Schools, and Social Services, then it forces cuts in Programs like SUN Schools, and other afterschool activities that kept kids occupied and out of trouble.

Police are treating the result of the City diverting money from social programs, schools,and Parks and ignoring the Triple Bottom Line, focusing on enviromental and ignoring the social and economic factors in effecient and effective operations.

Posted by: John Capradoe at August 27, 2006 02:40 AM

Plus a group of 12 "homeless youth" (and their dogs) that were mostly dressed in black (except the dogs) and hanging out on the corner of the new Pioneer Federal Courthouse facing the MAX.

It's kind of intimidating when an 18 year (or older) kid ask you for spare change, and 11 of his closest friends are standing/sitting there behind him, looking at you like you're the reason they're starving (instead of drug addiction, or just plain laziness).

If there were any of Portland's finest within sight, I would have politely suggested that they're are several "we're hiring signs" at the Market of Choice and two restaurants in my neighborhood, and tatoos/piercing seem to be tolerated by many employers.

But blocking sidewalks or begging for money isn't illegal anymore, is it?990

Posted by: Mister Tee at August 27, 2006 06:34 AM

Perhaps Lynn will share her prescription?

Posted by: Abe at August 27, 2006 06:48 AM

Really Lynn stop buzzing our harsh.

Posted by: Tom at August 27, 2006 09:01 AM

While the Police Bureau is comparatively understaffed -- Seattle, for example, has 20% more police per citizen -- the policing model chosen by the City exacerbates the problem. The adage in the business is that community policing demands roughly 2.5 officers per 1,000 persons. Portland would need to hire 350 officers to get to that standard.

Community policing's great, but it demands all sorts of special programs. Every officer assigned to a neighborhood response team, a gang team, or other specialized unit is one less officer on patrol.

Policing models, police staffing, and the allocation of tax resources are all policy decisions made by city councils. In some cities, frustrated citizens have taken those decisions out of the hands of their elected officials by amending city charters to call for minimum levels of policing.

Posted by: Will at August 27, 2006 09:49 AM

as an actual eyewitness to this "riot" on skidmore, i can tell you that it was no different from any sort of out of control high school party that i went to in my upper middle class white high school.

except the 100 or so kids were all black.

when black kids gather its always a riot.

anyway, pointing out two crime annectodes proves absolutely nothing.

Posted by: george at August 27, 2006 09:54 AM

"pointing out two crime annectodes proves absolutely nothing."

Besides there were two crimes which involved a lot of people in a public place whic is more than an anecdote.

When does this become a real problem? I mean if people want to attend a concert, but dont because they feel crime may be an issue, isn't that casue for concern at all?

Or is the answer going to be we are not as bad as "fill-in-the-blank" city? I was hoping for better from our elected officials.

Posted by: Steve at August 27, 2006 10:01 AM

Your categorization of the downtown transportation alternatives as "sustainable" is propaganda to further your political opinions.
Much of the money to further these boondoggle transit and density developments comes from basic services.
$65 million this one 05-06 FY alone.
The resulting reluctance to fund jail space and provide the incarceration rates the public wants is a crisis indeed.
A crisis of lying politicians who can't tell the truth about what money they spend and how they spend it.
I was nearby with my wife about that time. Out for an evening and stayed downtown. (Lucia)
At around one we were sitting on the sidewalk having a nightcap at Saucebox on Broadway across from the Benson. Had we been over on Couch a few blocks away we would be now reconsidering our semi frequent evenings downtown.
Unfortunately city politicians won't be reconsidering anything as they continue to dole out countless millions to everything but the needed jail space.

Posted by: Steve Schopp at August 27, 2006 10:51 AM

it was no different from any sort of out of control high school party that i went to in my upper middle class white high school.

Really? Did you throw bricks at the police, assault bystanders, and trash cars? Were a large percentage of you carrying handguns?

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 27, 2006 11:52 AM

"creating a police state with 1 cop for every 10 'citizens' isn't a solution."

That's not scare-mongering? Can you give me any solution besides some extremes and smart-ass retorts?

Posted by: Steve at August 27, 2006 01:00 PM

The transit mall has descended to a cesspool of drugs and panhandlers. Eleven times in six blocks I was asked for cash or offered drugs.

Lloyd Centre is filled with roaming gangs of kids just waiting for the slightest provocation - I saw mall cops trying to pull one group of kids off of another outside Joe Brown's Carmel Corn about three months ago (that was the last time I went there).

The last time I parked downtown (about six months ago), I was right near the Galleria on a Saturday in broad daylight. As I was walking away from the car, a group of kids driving by hurled a rock into my car window, as they yelled "fag" and "queer".

If this is the level of civility which can be found these days in the central part of the city, then you can have it. There's no way in hell that I'll set foot in downtown anymore - *especially* after dark. I'll be over at Bridgeport Village if you need me.

Posted by: Hinckley at August 27, 2006 02:47 PM

As long as we are talking about city financial waste, here is a little story that should either scrae the beejesus out of us, or make us feel extremely fortunate:


Posted by: dr at August 27, 2006 04:22 PM


A campaign debt that is not retired at the conclusion of a race can and should be construed instead as a wholly complete campaign donation. The whole notion of debt collection makes a mess of future exercise of free speech. On the flip side consider how oddball it would be for the former-possible-independent Governor candidate to now demand payment on some very substantial unpaid pledges?

The city could have one, and only one, megaphone on reserve at Pioneer Courthouse Square and a signup sheet. Candidate and non-candidate would get equal billing to vent. Total cost: 100 bucks.

The kids could trump the Council's 3-minute per month speech rule (excluding private time with special folks as per the lobbying law) and make the "candidate" feel just as left out as the kids may feel; by signing up. Speech is supposed to be an escape valve . . . precisely to make resort to violence to get one's point across unnecessary.

Beggars with suits actually cause more aggregate harm, in my opinion. Their tin cups are tin trucks.

Perhaps the megaphone could have a microphone attached that piped the oral fury into the offices of the Mayor and City Council members with the same sort of charm associated with elevator music. Surely there is at least one guy that would relish this alternative. (And, the pipe could feed the voice/noise to a web site for anyone to access.)

Would anyone wish to argue that Rap is NOT political speech?

Posted by: Ron Ledbury at August 27, 2006 09:59 PM

Is downtown a bit troubled? Yes. Is the average person in danger? No. You probably run more risk driving from your home suburb to Bridgeport Village and navigating that Taj Mahal parking garage than you would if you walked all the way across downtown at 2 am.

Posted by: libertas at August 28, 2006 09:12 AM

yes believe it or not- white people trash cars! and they get in fights. all the time. they use baseball bats to smash post boxes for fun. they get arrested and bailed out by their daddies.

its just called "vandalism" when white people do it. it makes the police blotter in the paper. at best. no one predict the end of the world. and people dont make non sequitor arguments that somehow we need to defund public transportation because of it!

now, the throwing bricks at the police.. yes, that was pretty out of control. but, looking at my experience in high school, the difference is that when cops would come to break up parties, they would show up and say, "hey kids, break up the party". and there would be serious hemming and hawing, and the a-holes smashing stuff might end up in the back of a car for a bit before they get driven home. if they end up in jail, they are bailed out by daddy and the charges are dropped.

sadly, in portland there is a far more adversarial relationship between the police and youth. when the police break up parties in north portland, they do so with guns drawn. and when they grab the a-holes out of the crowd, they end up in jail.

probably a good idea as a lot of kids carry guns here, but on the other hand, it sets up this relationship that has its consequences.. like a thrown brick.

crime sucks no matter where it happens.

but seriously, i mean, how long have you all lived in portland? crime in north portland is WAY down. if anything, the fact that these kids had a party that got out of control and some property was destroyed, as opposed to what happened here 10 years ago (there would be guns, AND shots, AND deaths)- this should be reported as some amazing progress for the city. a sign that the city is doing something right.

Posted by: george at August 28, 2006 10:28 AM

But the real question is "Anyone know where Zach Randolph was during these incidents?"

I'm telling, the Moral Turpitude clause will be our way out for Both him and Miles...

Posted by: Eric at August 28, 2006 01:58 PM

yes believe it or not- white people trash cars! and they get in fights. all the time. they use baseball bats to smash post boxes for fun. they get arrested and bailed out by their daddies.

I really don't care what color these punks are. They're way out of control, and the cops seem to be scared of them.

Posted by: Jack Bog at August 28, 2006 11:55 PM

[Posted as indicated; restored later.]

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