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Friday, June 10, 2011

Where have all the lowlifes gone, long time passin'?

A reader writes:

I work downtown and go for regular lunchtime walks. Typically there is a big horde of bums, punks, and other low lifes hanging out in Pioneer Square by the Courthouse MAX stop. Well guess what? Now that the Rose Festival is here the bums are not there and are scattered around and not such a visual and smelly blight for visitors.

So if the City can move these "people" for the Rose Festival, why not for the rest of the year.

Is there in fact something seasonal going on? Perhaps a reader in the know can enlighten us.

Comments (13)

Downtown offers one great equalizer. It has become increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the low-life punks and the few poor shlubs who actually still have jobs down there.

With an almost complete inability to commute there any longer by vehicle, we remain only a few short years away from total core area decay.

Only the mass transit employees will still be working down there in the long term. However, you can expect in time those poor streetcar and max drivers are going to need to be caged in protective bullet proof glass, if they are to carry out their missions safely.

The "planned new urban community" is just as likely to wind up needing a wall like settlements in the West Bank.

Nothing has changed. There is a typical spring clearing of the homeless camps under the main downtown bridges for Rose Festival, but I doubt there is any concentrated effort to keep people off the sidewalks or away from the square.

They're now at the north end of Waterfront Park, to be closer to their carny brethren.

Isn't Burning Man coming up?

I've been out of town.

There's a hord of "legalize hemp" people demonstrating at city hall just now. They're pretty smelly.

"Isn't Burning Man coming up?" You sir/madame obviously don't know a darn thing about Burning Man. For starters it's at the end of August, costs $400 or so to get in, and portions of it are populated by "RV's" that cost twice as much as my house. Yes, there are a few grungy douchebag hippies here and there, but I get the impression that half of them are trustafarians.

As I said. They definitely aren't going to South by Southwest, because that's already done, and the faux homeless are couch-surfing their way back to the West Coast as I write this. It's like watching the migration of musk oxen, only without the inherent charm.

I have noticed more beggars in the south downtown area around PSU - wondered if it was due to Rose Festival, or street folks were hoping to capitalize on soon-to-be-out-of-school PSU students.

Weird stuff going on in the North Park Blocks this afternoon. The veteran picnic/live band was nice, but there was a crazy mix of tourists, sailors, and the usual riffraff (myself included).

They seem to have moved across the river - there were dozens of them hanging out between the convention center and Burnside today.

I work at 5th and Salmon and it was unbelievable walking the gauntlet of aggressive panhandling today. The problem is much worse than usual. I don't know if it is because the weather has been nice or the Rose Festival. Either way it is unacceptable. I watched a guy get up off his seat on a bench and urinate on into a grate in plain view of everyone at the intersection. No effort to conceal his public uriniation to the smart-park elevators/stairwell or the jillion dollar portland loo like a normal bum.

The clients that we had in town staying at the nearby Hilton were horrified with the city. It was embarrassing and not good for business. Totally unacceptable Portland. Your policies of non-enforcement suck.

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