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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 28, 2010 8:48 PM. The previous post in this blog was Read all about it. The next post in this blog is The pennies project. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Sunday, February 28, 2010

On another front

While its fatal shooting of an unarmed man in the back has dominated the local headlines, the Portland police bureau has also been generating tension with street people and their advocates in other ways. Lately police have been hassling Sisters of the Road, a recognized charity that is trying its best to help with the city's chronic homelessness and mental illness problems. Complete lack of trust between the sworn officers and the citizenry is fast becoming a Portland trademark.

Comments (10)

Aren't the police reacting to calls about the nuisance's as measured against the good neighbor agreement? This shouldnt be made into a bad cop story.. We have good neighbor agreements in our neighborhood and its the complaints from the surrounding neighbors that cause police involvement...

As Ive stated in the past, I think the police do more good than not.. Im glad theyre there.. Times are going to get even tougher economically and I suspect crime will rise... I hope I never need to call the police, but if I do I want to know they'll respond and the situation will be handled..

What happened in the Aaron Campbell (and the other cases I see on this board) is the exception not the norm..

Who else you going to call for remedies? A teabagger? Your gun crazed relative? Youre smooth talking neighbor? A lawyer?.. when public saftey is involved, I want to know my call to the police for assistance/help will be responded to.. Can you imagine what it would be like if they werent there?

Our heroes in blue need to come to grips with the reality that Sisters is a soup kitchen. Homeless people hang out there. They have all sorts of issues. It gets messy. The cops are going to have to be called a lot.

If Sisters weren't there, their clients would be hanging out in many, many other places, making the police bureau's work that much harder. It's insane that the cops would get themselves in an adversary position with a charity like that one.

I share Robert's view, it is a thin blue line. But doesn't the Sisters have the same right to rely upon the police as anyone else in need of assistance when confronted with illegal activity. There is no suggestion that the organization promotes or encourages illegal activity. And they can't reasonably be expected (for financial,legal and mission purposes) to field their own "police" detail on a city street, simply because the charitable need they serve draws some unwanted behavior on the adjacent sidewalk. I suspect the neighboring businesses that are stirring this pot.

Jack, I used to volunteer at another kitchen in inner SE.. we provided about 250-300 meals a day.. for the most part, the guest are orderly but there is much mental illness in that sector of our society. I had a folding chair thrown at me once and another time angered a guest because he wanted to wipe down a table that I was. In fact, there was a period of time when the facility was put on notice because of so much mischief being caused by the guest from public unrination, vandalism, intoxication to just plain intimidation. The police treat these facilities just like they do a bar with ongoing complaints.. they are expected to clean up the problem.. in our case, I think they hired a private security outfit to keep the peace. It worked and the city backed down.. They would have been closed by the city if the problem hadnt been corrected.

I think everybody should volunteer at one of these type facilities and see the spectrum of people that are served.

On a different note, that methadone clinic on Belmont seems to be more of enabler than a potential cure.. Just about anybody who rides the #15 bus downtown, especially during the hours the clinic is open, can attest that many of those clients openly discuss how they are going to meet their dealer after they just got their dose at the clinic.. The clinic is supposed to drug test their clients but I suspect if they did, their client base would dwindle and they wouldnt make as much money. I suspect people recieving services there are getting it through some form of entitlement program, so is that service really providing the remedy its supposed to?

Looks like its time for Randy's HIT squad to start pushing these people. THey got rid of the fur guy and the Greek Deli,s o it would be more effective.

They are waaaaaaaaay too close to what's left of the Pearl District.

I think the police do more good than not.

Well, most of us here have a higher standard in mind than this. "Protect and serve" comes to mind, for example.

uh-oh! I spotted immediately what's wrong with this picture. When the words "Mark Kruger" was in the cited article, I read no more as there you have it in two words. The guy is a Nazi-clothes aficionado and a Nazi Reinactor--some say he's a Neo-Nazi--and with such "strange" attitudes it no stretch of imagination to see where a guy like this would have little regard for anyone mentally ill or homeless, as after-all, his "role models" had none. PLUS, not to be forgotten: he's a PPB Officer! Enough said!

I wonder if there is a property nearby that some developer wants to renovate, and the "homeless" would keep condo-buyers away?


Who else you going to call for remedies? A teabagger? Your gun crazed relative? Youre smooth talking neighbor? A lawyer?.. when public saftey is involved, I want to know my call to the police for assistance/help will be responded to.. Can you imagine what it would be like if they werent there?

Oh, your call will be responded to. And someone in your family may die at the hands of the PPB. As for what would happen if they were not there....my guess is James Chasse and Aaron campbell would still be alive.

Jon,

First off, don't you live in Beaverton? How many social service agencies are in your neighborhood? You might have a different opinion and perspective, if they were as numerous in your suburban neighborhood as they are in the inner city...

And..

What about all those other calls they respond to that don't make the news (probably 99.9% of them)? I still say the PPB does more good than harm...


Who else you going to call for remedies? A teabagger? Your gun crazed relative? Youre smooth talking neighbor? A lawyer?.. when public saftey is involved, I want to know my call to the police for assistance/help will be responded to.. Can you imagine what it would be like if they werent there?

Robert,

It's important to remember that when seconds count, the police will be there in minutes.

A couple of years ago, I was visiting my parents on the south Florida Gulf coast, and we had dinner at a nice little place with an expansive deck and a floating dock below to accommodate boaters - common in the area. A nicely-dressed group came out and were seated railside, above the dock.

It was surprising, then, when an argument broke out over there, and one gentleman leapt from his chair and broke a full bottle of beer over the head of one of his companions. Blood and beer flowed freely amid a moment of pandemonium.

Suddenly, the assailant decided to leave. Not one of the other diners moved. Me - well, nothing messes up a nice steak and shrimp dinner like this sort of thing. I hate that. So I intercepted the guy and told him to return to his seat. He threatened to do the same thing to me that he'd just done to his "friend". By now, restaurant staff were running about, and the situation was deteriorating pretty rapidly.

I told the guy that he was welcome to try, but that he wouldn't be happy with the result. I also noted that I wasn't able to guarantee that he wouldn't hit the dock before he hit the water.

He returned to his seat; I returned to my dinner. Right on cue, about five minutes after the excitement was over, the cops arrived. They took the perp into custody, but were polite enough (or perhaps too busy taking notes of the scene)to wait until after we'd finished dinner to get into the presentation of identification, questioning, and so on.

Of course, my parents were horrified. But hey, when it's obvious that nobody else is going to take any action in such a situation, I can step in for a bit. I'm not a "gun-crazed relative". But I have confidence in my ability to read and respond to a situation in an appropriate manner. In the first place, a restaurant is a weapons-rich environment. In the second place, fortuitously being outdoors on a deck with a fifteen-foot drop to the dock/water strengthens my position. And in the third place, I dealt with the individual with respect and a degree of logic.

Even he could see that the odds were against a successful run. Had he chosen to escalate, the array of available weapons doesn't work in his favor. With his back toward the rail, flipping him over would have been trivial.

I don't expect police to be there to defend me or my interests; I just expect them to show up and clean up afterward. They are excellent resources in that context.

As for our Portland cops, I agree that in general they do good work in a stressful environment. At the same time, as with any chosen occupation, there will be those who aren't really an especially good fit. And there really needs to be a reliable mechanism for ejecting those.


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