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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on September 21, 2007 5:10 AM. The previous post in this blog was Snatching failure from the jaws of success. The next post in this blog is Who needs cops and traffic lights?. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Friday, September 21, 2007

Transit-oriented gangbanging, cont'd

It's one thing for a blogger like me to raise an eyebrow at the crime wave currently under way on the east end of the MAX rail line out Gresham way. But when a Portland police sergeant confirms the trend in no uncertain terms, it's time for everyone to sit up and listen. From yesterday's O story about "Felony Flats":

The East Precinct's Sgt. Kim Preston attended but hardly buoyed spirits. After listening to testimonials of theft, vandalism, beatings and intimidation, Preston said there's little likelihood police will increase patrols in the area any time soon.

Even with more money, he said, pending retirements will outpace efforts to hire and train officers. What's more, he said, the light-rail extension to Clackamas along nearby Interstate 205 will probably bring more crime and spread police even thinner.

"The MAX has been a living nightmare for us," Preston said. "I would not ride it at night -- and I'm armed all the time. There are massive fights, guns displayed, stabbings, people being threatened and bullied."

Wow. That's a police sergeant talking.

If the new light rail lines are just going to make the crime problem worse, then why are we building them? It seems to me that without an adequate security plan, expanded light rail is not just an expensive amenity, but a downright bad idea.

Comments (56)

Like I have said before. Keep that crime carrying drug pushing piece of crap
out of the Couv.

Keep that crime carrying drug pushing piece of crap out of the Couv.

Aye. Out of the Couv.

We're a cut above 160th and Burnside.

we are talking about two different neighborhoods though... according to the article over the last 3 years crime has been flat. and i bet its gone down since the 90's.

is the MAX part of a trend that will bring crime up or down?

how has it performed in the past? after the yellow line was built crime went down (but is it associated?).

also, i think people are getting confused about total crimes and crime rate. lots of hoods are getting more dense around the max. total crimes may go up, but crime rates are what should concern people (thats what increases or decreases your chances of being involved).

If TriMet put some fare inspectors on the trains outside of fareless square, the Max-related crime rate would drop quickly.

(And I am not suggesting the Gestapo tactics that the PPB transit police usually employ when they set up fare stings. It needs to be a measured, durable presence.)

It doesn't matter what comes out about MAX all the usual suspects will close there eyes, stick their fingers in their ears and chant, "I can't hear you, I can't hear you".

It doesn't matter how much it costs, what is unfunded becase of it, how little transit is increased becase of it, how bad congestion gets or how bad crime is, it's full steam ahead, just like the streetcars, with more of it as priority number one.

The police should put Bankrupt Bobby Ball on the Tri-Met crime spree case.

Oh yes, we want to REDUCE crime, don't we.

Nevermind!

mass transit of this kind shines a harsh and healthy light on what's really happening in the city and suburbs.

every city that has large-scale public rail transit has the same problem--crime gets a mobile platform.

and, instead of connecting "communities", this type of transportation *disconnects* them, encouraging a kind of placelessness. those masses pushed out to the burbs for cheap housing and amenities can be pressed together and moved to the urban area.

in reality, it seems no better than wide streets and boulevards--in many ways, it's worse.

here's a radical thought--what if large amounts of large, fast urban rail transit actually cause more problems than it solves?

Security has been an after thought with TriMet since the east side light rail was built. When I was single back in the 1990s; I dated a woman who lived on the east side about a block from the MAX line. She told me as soon as the line was completed; the number of burglaries and thefts went way up in her area. Also, since the first park and rides were built; they have been magnets for car prowls and auto thiefts.

Re Total Crimes vs Crime rate: we should also not forget that crime rates are based on reported crimes, not all crime that occurs. Experience teaches us how unlikely a timely response to a report is. I've lived across the street from a drug infested house (with ties to white-power prison gangsters, lucky me) where various neighbors called the cops on them dozens of times only to see nothing happen, ever. When my car was stolen a few months ago I only got it back because someone saw it sitting unlocked in front of their house and got my name out of the glove compartment. This person wisely understood that if he called the cops instead of me they probably would have towed it off and charged me a couple bills. In any case they were hardly out there trying to find it for me. So I probably wouldn't bother calling if my car window was smashed and my radio stolen because I know there isn't any point. We're all learning this here on the east side, more and more. Naturally the number of "reported crimes," per capita or numerically, can diminish when there's a decrease in incentive to report smaller things that we know the police can't do anything about.

If TriMet put some fare inspectors on the trains outside of fareless square, the Max-related crime rate would drop quickly.

Is this true? Why would fare inspectors spend all their time in a zone that requires no fare?

When moving large amounts of drugs, a packpack on Max is smarter then a packpack in your car. Also a packpack of stolen goods never gets checked on Max.

OK, I'll bite. What's a packpack?

Jack, MAX isn't bad because crime happens on MAX. You're a lawyer and understand logic, cause and effect. If there's too much crime on MAX (does anybody have hard numbers?) then fix it. Most likely more law enforcement.

Whether MAX is a good deal for us can be debated. I know it's subsidized but not how much. I also know it works. In Kuala Lumpur I paid $10 US to take their fine rail to the airport. Not surprising, ther was no crime problem that I could see. The MAX to the airport costs $2 or so. I use the MAX every now and then and I like it. Just a bit classier, faster than the bus. MAX is good; the streetcar is too little for too much money.

"I use the MAX every now and then and I like it. Just a bit classier, faster than the bus."
---------------

Portland's new motto:
"Just a bit classier!"

Do you even have the least bit of an idea of the cost differential between buses and MAX? I would bet that 10x is too low of a guess.

Do you have even the least bit of an idea of the crime differential between buses and MAX?

Buses are much more cost effective and have less crime.

But hey, Don thinks they are classier, so lets keep the billions of dollars flowing down this money pit.

I won't ride the Yellow and Blue Lines after 7 PM because of the clientele.
(And I don't like riding MAX, period.)

This "crime" thing is only ONE of the myriad problems with MAX.

A bus rapid transit system would have been much better for Portland, given its spatial characteristics and density, but a certain constellation of individuals and corporations want rail, for diverse reasons.

Don, when do you think ANYONE paid for a ride on the streetcar?
Too much money?.....Please.......
Best transit bargin in "Stumptown"!

packpack... Sorry lost my B keystroke.

Stats,Sch-mats!

All I know is when I started riding Max just after it first open in 1986/87 (I think it was) it was a non-intimidating, subsidized experience. More recently, harassment more aptly describes the experience of riding Max. Even at Lloyd Center station harassment (intimidation) of folks traversing Holladay park occurs fairly frequently. One can only believe eventually the same will occur with the new boutique streetcars. Our city council threw lots of subsidies to developers to build apartments along the Max eastside. It's kind of reminiscent of the public housing projects of the 1960/70s which later had to be abandoned. Good job city council, state reps and our bow tie DC rep. Not!

P.S If the bow tie guy and Sam-da-Tram Adams want to play with trains, they should do it on their own dime in their basements with models. It would be a lot better for us all.

Well, once again, honest observations and common sense speaks out, but will Portland and Portland Metro area listen? I fear for the career of East Precinct's Sgt. Kim Preston. Being this honest has it ups and downs.

I can't wait for Sam Adams to tell us "we need to do something about this problem I never knew about" because we have to, it's "for the children." My kids are still waiting for money for a decent park in SoWhat along the water front.

Can anyone tell me what's going on in Portland politics? So many blunders, so much money spent on foolish projects, unknown $Billions, yes $Billions inappropriately spent.

"Keep that crime carrying drug pushing piece of crap out of the Couv."

Yeah, like the Couv doesn’t have any drug pushing pieces of crap already. Been down Mill Plain recently?

There’s going to be ghetto folks on public transit in ghetto areas whether it’s a train or a bus. Maybe we should cut all transit links with Rockwood and Gresham, set up some sort of checkpoints to make sure the undesirables can’t get into inner-Portland and lower my property value.

Don,

“If there's too much crime on MAX (does anybody have hard numbers?) then fix it. Most likely more law enforcement.” What kind of lunatic idea is that? Don’t you realize that it’s the evil train that is warping people’s minds and turning them in to zombie-like criminals. Of course the same trains traveling in North Portland are casing gentrification and lowering crime, but that’s just because the overlords have programmed them differently.

I would recommend that people go to Portlandmaps.com and look-up crime in their area. You’ll find it mostly centered around parking lots. A lot of that is obviously property crime, but plenty of other bad things happen there as people are vulnerable outside of their metal shells. As people here are interested in fighting crime (not just taking retarded shots at successful mass transit) how about we campaign for every parking lot in the city to be closed. After all, if the lots are causing the crime removing them will logically reduce it and make us all safer.

Ben, if you had a boil on your arse you would blame it on MAX. Mr. Pot meet Mr. Kettle. It’s odd that Jack didn’t mention yesterday’s report about mass transit easing congestion. I know it came from the evil Texans but it had some good points.

As for the Couv. Maybe the meth dealers, child abusers, scary rednecks, and urban refugees will appreciate alternative transportation choices when it finally gets there.

in jack's defense, the 82nd street station crime problem might actually have a cause and effect relationship to the MAX. in that, lots of people think that the station itself is poorly designed and creates a good environment for crime.

in regards to the green line issue, we can hope that this design failure will not be repeated.

I have spent lots of time on the Metro system in Washington, DC, one of the highest-crime cities in the country. A Metro car is probably the safest place to be in that city. Forget about fights and stabbings - I witnessed a Metro officer stop a noisy group of middle-school girls from boarding until they "settled down." There are uniformed personnel at every station and "floating" safety officers who hop on and off doing random checks. The vast majority of passengers are working people who have a reason to be there and someplace to go. The worst thing I've seen is panhandling. Get a clue, Tri-Met.

I have spent lots of time on the Metro system in Washington, DC, one of the highest-crime cities in the country. A Metro car is probably the safest place to be in that city.

actually, D.C. doesn't have "one of the highest-crime" rates at all.


and, the transit there is notorious for crime. here's a place to start:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-srv/metro/interactives/metrocrime/

Fed Up with PDX,

I've had the same experience in DC. The Metro stations are great, and are a fabulous escape from the heat and scary people. The system itself is very limited and built for wealthy suburbanites to get to work without seeing the actual city, which is the other reason they are safe.

The Hollywood library now seems to have a permanent MC deputy stationed there. I would much prefer he was patrolling the station.

Not fed up with PDX.

Sherwood,

Your name says it all :)

"There’s going to be ghetto folks on public transit in ghetto areas whether it’s a train or a bus."

>>>> Wrong. It is the nature of MAX--the trains have wide open access, no prepaymrent of fare necessary, and are unsecured--at least a bus has a driver. So the problem would be less with buses.

I say again: shut down MAX at night and run buses, as too much ridership is probably being lost at night on MAX.

As for North Portland, it is being gentrified anyway: look at Mississippi, Alberta, and now even Greeley, Vancouver and Williams. No MAX there.

It is just that the rail cabal wants light rail and streetcars.

This whole thing sounds like a Bernie Goetz incident waiting to happen. Unfortunately an innocent bystander will probably have to catch a stray bullet before the politicians develop any will power to take care of the situation.

All the talk about not building more light rail because of the crime issues reminds me of the discussion about tearing down a perfectly good profitable parking garage because the homeless are urinating in the stairwells. Transit police, security guards, whatever you want to call them...taking care of these kinds of problems isn't rocket science.

Some wonder why Dunthorpe doesn’t want light rail between Lake Oswego and downtown Portland.

"...keep that gun-toting, drug-using piece of crap out of the Couv."

Lars is already living in Washington state.


I know it's subsidized but not how much.

I dont remember the exact numbers, but I seem to remember Trimet's own numbers saying it costs them about $11 per rider to operate MAX. And they charge $2.


When I lived in Hillsboro I rode everyday. I never worried, and was never harassed, however I am a big guy.

One time, on my way to a PBR (Professional Bull Riding) event at the Rose garden a punk kid kept putting his hand in the door to keep it open while a bunch of his "thugged out" friends slowly made there way on to the Max. He did this about 4 times before the driver popped his head out to tell him to stop. He then did it again when myself and another PBR bound rider(about 6-3 with cowboy hat and boots) let the kid know it would be in his best interest to catch the next train.

These threads demonstrate a pacified attitude that the punks exploit. I told teenagers to get up to let an old lady sit down. (I was standing too) Do you think they argued ?... hell no. They got up and told the lady they were sorry.

It is our city and our transit system and about time we stopped whining and act like it.

It's about time to hold Tri-Met management accountable for what they are paid a lot of money to do ie. take care of the problems on their system. Everytime I try to communicate with them I get an arrogant replay, or nothing. They couldn't problem solve their way out of a wet paper bag!! It's time to clean house and get some vetrans, retired police etc who will forget the politically correct crap, and solve the problem period. The management is inbred and out of touch with Portland, those jerks would never ride a bus or max, let alone at night. Maby dreamy eyes Sam should fire the Barstads (City in Nevada).

Travis, If that 5 fot 5 Punk put a 38 Cal in your face you would have crapped your tight wranglers, 6-3 fits in a pine box just fine.

Travis, love your attitude, man!!

You make sure and don't take sh#t from nobody, and make sure those punks respect the old ladies.

But meg is right, I am surprised they didn't pull one out on you. They musta forgot their piece, and ran home to get it. I bet they are still looking for some tall cowboy dude. Can't be too many of you guys around PDX, so be sure and bring along your Colt six-shooter.

And to think there are actually people out there who want to take away a persons best means of defending themselves. How about the people who live near these problem stations and have to go out at night?

To be all counterintuitive and all:

If MAXX draws all the petty criminal elements in Gresham shouldn't that make it easier for the Cops:-) Just station some under cover guys on MAXX trains and catch and/or prevent it.

Sherwood writes: "I've had the same experience in DC. The Metro stations are great, and are a fabulous escape from the heat and scary people."

Solution- stay out of the halls of Congress.

MW

I know the whole idea runs in the absolute opposite direction from Portland's hilarious obsession with classic, by-the-book Marxist redistribution of wealth, but...

...how about those controlled access train platforms, with turnstiles and hard-ass, no-BS transit cops, and maybe even fares that more honestly represent Tri-Met operational expenses ?

Seems to me to be simple, common sense.

Here we have a Police Sergeant re-iterating in plain language the same observations that myself and anyone else who spends a significant amount of time along the Eastside rail slum corridor at night has made. How much more Korean prisoner-of-war style brainwashing can the citizens take before they get fed up and say, you know, if it walks and talks like a duck...

Then again, just think about what that other police officer said a few weeks ago on here...that part about the heavy-handed, deliberate pressure from METRO and Tri-Met on Law Enforcement to downplay and even obfuscate the easily observable effects of the Eastside MAX on crime and violent crime in particular. Sgt. Preston would do well to re-evaluate his career path after courageously speaking so plainly about the subject so many Portlanders willingly ignore.

For years, my son saw a myriad of crimes committed on a daily basis at the MAX station in Beaverton. It's a magnet for assaults, break-ins and drug deals.

Churls like Sherwood will continuously defend the status quo even when facts to the contrary are staring at them in the face. He should run for Metro council.

Thank god my son now drives and isn't forced to patronize that insipid train.

that insipid train

vapid transit?

Chris,
I'm not contemplating a run at this time but thank you for your support.

Lacking critical thinking skills, you'd be perfect. The next Chris Smith.

Jack,
That I must nominate for some annual award. Whew, that was sharp. As is cutting.
Nice shot pal.
Short jab of the year perhaps.

I shouldn't have said that. I'm just so weary of the whole direction this place is going...

If MAXX draws all the petty criminal elements in Gresham shouldn't that make it easier for the Cops:-) Just station some under cover guys on MAXX trains and catch and/or prevent it.

And do what exactly? They arrest some drug dealing thug on the train, and the witnesses will probably just say the guy was trying to "make a living" or some crap. You know, "keep Portland weird" and all that. No wonder they ignore it.


In regards to comments about the Washington, DC Metro system:

"The system itself is very limited and built for wealthy suburbanites to get to work without seeing the actual city."

- Really? Did you ride the Green Line?

"the transit there is notorious for crime"

- I wonder how it compares to Portland per capita? We're a pretty small city with a very limited number of trains, yet an armed police officer wouldn't ride here at night. Wonder why.

Hot in off of the taxicab MDT :

FLT MSG: AVOID E BURNSIDE/160TH;
POLICE HAVE CLOSED AREA DUE TO
RIOT(23:17:30)

Well, back to work, but not out there, no way, not tonight...

Putting undercover cops on MAX trains at night would not be worth the cost because of relatively light ridership--after all, this is not the NYC subway.

Controlled access to MAX platforms will not work, since the system is at street level.

The solution to the East Side problem is to shut MAX down at 7-8 PM (like the Seattle bus subway), at let people ride buses, as there are bus lines nearby that go from Portland to Gresham.

Remember, this crime problem is only one of the myriad shortcomings of MAX.

Many, many more people are killed by drunk drivers each year [i]per capita[/i] than are physically assaulted on mass transit. Does this mean we should quit building roads?

The existence, or not, of crime is not a reasonable factor to consider in evaluating the social benefit of any given means of transportation over the over. Crime exists in both and the crime tends to be more lethal on the road. So, people can over-react and go into hysterics or they can discuss a more reasonable solution.

Travis - reasoned or nuanced discussion on internet blogs? The possibility of grey areas instead of black and white? C'mon buddy. That simply doesnt exist.

What timing:
150 in Portland street brawl overnight
http://www.nwcn.com/statenews/oregon/stories/NW_092207ORN_street_brawl_KS.fc64b0c3.html

"A massive fight forced police to shut down a road and a MAX light rail stop in East Portland Friday night.

Police responded to reports of between 100 and 150 people fighting in the area of 162nd and Burnside.

They shut down the nearby MAX station as a precaution.
"

Looks like Chris Smith filed for commissioner last week: http://www.portlandonline.com/auditor/index.cfm?c=27114&a=168041#Commissioner1


Still waiting to learn just who is it that's causing the all the problems and why are they gathered in this particular location?

If its an apartment complex it can be closed by the City/County.

Its simple and very effective.

Another unexpected result from narrow-minded vision. Mass transit, converting local communities into uncontrollable cancerous masses, feeding the ills of the large body into remote regions of the body, to be ingnored until the symtoms grow so large that they effect the whole body. Live local, work local, buy local,know your neighbors.


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Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
Fyodor Dostoyevsky - The Brothers Karamazov
Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
Brian Selznick - The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 115
At this date last year: 21
Total run in 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269


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