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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on April 28, 2009 5:44 PM. The previous post in this blog was Blog-a-loo!. The next post in this blog is Fine Nate. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

I suspect it's because there are no cops left in Portland

Here's a good one -- another transit-oriented killing on the east side MAX line. And get this: "Detectives are investigating and have indicated there are suspicious circumstances." D'ya think?

Comments (23)

I rolled by there on the MAX at around 4:20pm - wondered what had happened, cops everywhere, crime scene tape blocking the streets. I think your "transit oriented shooting" comment is off the mark. I don't think this particular neighborhood is any more crime ridden than any other on the eastside, probably less so than other areas in southeast that are far away from the MAX.

I wonder what led them to believe there were 'suspicious circumstances'?

What the bleep is a "transit-oriented" killing? Body lying parallel or perpendicular to some transit tracks? I note from the photo there is a street nearby as well. Doesn't that make the killing street-oriented?

The gangs love the MAX. And the cr*p apartments it attracts.

Anybody who builds "infill" within several blocks of the MAX gets a property tax break. It's only fair that they take the blame for the "crime increment" as well.

From 105th to 188th on the Metro Area Gang Express has turned into the new ghetto...One should see the pillars of society that embark and disembark in that area....

Security is so terrible on eastside MAX as it draws away from the Rose Quarter - especially in the evenings - I won't ride it anymore.

I'd rather ride a bike all the way to Gresham.

Add to the security issues the swine flu headin' north and you might as well crawl into a dirty test tube even though you can ride for free most of the time.

Indeed. Bikes are where it's at. Cheap, fast, efficient and fun personal transportation.

Didn't look too good in last night's downpour. I'd rather sit on a bus next to a person who hasn't bathed in a month than get drowned in a thundershower with brakes that don't work at all.

Wait, I don't see the transit-oriented part. The body was found inside a house, no? What does this have to do with TriMet?

Not seeing the link to transit.... Because the house was by the max line?

OK, now I'm starting to understand how expanding the MAX can increase "transit-oriented" crime.

Yeah, that was a monsoon, and I was in it. Eh. Sh*t happens :)

There were 1,408,337 violent crimes in America last year. I suspect that 99% of them took place near a road. Were they car-related or even shoe-related crimes?

This doesn't seem to be a rant against transit so much, as it is a rant against poor people.

Crime follows poverty; this we know. And poor people are likely to use transit, especially when unable to afford an automobile.

So the way to fight crime--is to oppose transit? Or at least transit lines (such as eastside MAX east of gateway) which happen to pass through blighted parts of town? The vast stretch between I-205 and Gresham was an armpit long before MAX arrived, after all...

Much of public policy (especially of the conservative sort) seems to be the haves trying to quarantine the have-nots in various fashion. And much liberal public policy seems to be attempts to utterly smash those barriers, in an attempt to force the haves to be confronted with the have-nots's plight.

I would hope that there are more constructive approaches to dealing with poverty and crime. And certainly more constructive ideas than contained in this rant, Jack, which seems to be little more than an assault on the mobility of Portland's underclass. Your posting seems in the spirit of the late Robert Moses, who infamously designed low overpasses on several New York freeways to keep busses (and the riff-raff he believed used the bus system) from reaching the nice neighborhoods the routes led to.

(I'm all for keeping known troublemakers off the train--don't mistake me. But the fact that criminals and gangsters might use transit is not a good argument against transit--as others have pointed out, they also can and do use roads, whether on the bus or in private automobiles).

Are you done doing your little superior dance yet? Let me know when.

Every developer who builds cr*p housing within a mile of a MAX train gets a public subsidy for "transit-oriented" development. The causal link between transit and that development is usually just as tenuous as the link between transit and these crimes. And yet in Portland, the logical fallacy gets called out only when one is criticizing government, and never when one is handing out tax dollars to condo weasels. It's an interesting place.

BTW, you forgot to call me a racist.


I wasn't going to call you a racist, don't worry. I may lean left, but I'm not that predictable--I reserve the R word for those who manifestly deserve it.

If you're objecting to "transit oriented development", fine with me. But object to that on its own grounds.

When you use crime as a vehicle for complaining about transit subsidies, though, you pull in a whole bunch of baggage which you may not intend--but which is a mating call, of sorts, for a bunch of folks who ARE racists and whatnot.

Developers who build around MAX get tax breaks--like many public subsidies of the private sector, I think we agree that it's an unnecessary waste of public money (transit should attract its own development, and does in many places). This is regardless of whether we're talking slummy apartments in Felony Flats, rowhouses out in Hillsboro, or high-rise condos in SoWa and the Pearl.

In places where MAX crosses through poor neighborhoods, and there are plenty of those on the eastside route to Gresham--the subsidized housing tends to be of the low-cost variety, or as you put it, "cr*p". Not surprising, really--yuppie trailer parks like Orenco Village or Villebois are unlikely to spring up in Rockwood, as those with money are more than happy to pay a premium to not live near crime-ridden areas. (And if a place like Villebois did get built in Rockwood, we'd have lots of complaints about gentrification and such). As a result, poor neighborhoods usually attract more development of the same nature.

But I suspect MAX would have issues with its clientele from unincorporated East County, regardless of any transit-related subsidy. Lots of poor folks, and potential gang-bangers, live and have lived in this part of town long before the rails were laid down--and those folks would likely be causing trouble, subsidies or no. And I suspect that new infill housing in the area would congregate around MAX (being near transit is an asset, remember), even without the subsidy. (Which is why the subsidy is a bad idea--it's unnecessary enrichment of developers).

Bottom line--I think the connection between crime on the MAX line (which is a real issue), and the appropriateness of subsidizing development (which is also a real issue), is tenuous at best--and the manner in which you brought it up obscures two important issues which are mostly orthogonal--while serving as a bright red flag for some rather nasty elements of our political culture.

Crime rates around MAX are high. Which came first, the ghetto or the MAX?


The ghetto has been there long before MAX.

Over on the west-side of town, MAX has largely driven property values up. There are a few pockets of low-income housing along the MAX line--trailer parks along Center Street and Millikan Way in Beaverton, for instance. Many of these trailer parks and such are decades old, and were there back when the MAX right of way was a freight rail line.

I'm not aware of any place where MAX has attracted substandard housing to a neighborhood which wasn't already blighted. If anything, it is causing gentrification out here on the west side. There are numerous high-end housing developments (Orenco Station being the most well-known) along the line. Several of the aformentioned trailer parks have been closed down (with the residents being forced to move) in order to make way for more lucrative development.
Much of this went down prior to the recent housing collapse, so the trailer-park owners may be regretting the decision to evict rent-paying tenants in exchange for unfinished construction.

The biggest concentration of blight in Washington County--in Aloha--is generally south of the MAX line, and was blighted long before westside MAX was constructed.

Do crime levels go into your definition of "blight"?


I think the "suspicious circumstances" refers to a belief that the parties involved were up to no good prior to the murder itself.

(As opposed to, say, a crime of passion involving persons with no prior criminal involvement).

Thank you for sharing your vast knowledge.


My definition of "blight" is, unfortunately, rather imprecise. Crime would be one factor, certainly; property values another.

Nothing on the West Side is as nasty as Rockwood; but there are parts of Aloha which seem to feature prominently in the police blotter.

As an east-sider, and MAX rider it seems kind of funny to hear the entire neighborhood along the eastside MAX characterized here as a ghetto. It's just not reality.


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