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Sunday, April 15, 2012

Gangster teenagers running wild in Portland

Portland, it's time that we admit as a community that we have a serious problem with teenage gangs. Packs of kids robbing stores, beating people on the trains, shooting each other in schoolyards -- it's all happened over just the last several days. And it's not even summer yet.

Politicians making speeches and passing meaningless gun ordinances are not making a difference. The police seem incapable of doing anything -- or perhaps scared or unwilling to take serious action. The heart of the city is being lost to lawlessness and violence while we ban plastic grocery bags.

The saddest part is when you think about the upcoming municipal elections. Few of the candidates are acknowledging the depth of the problem, much less proposing solutions with any real promise. We pay a lot in property taxes. It's high time these people spent the money on something important. Like making a dent in gang violence.

Comments (42)

This post is on target. The MSM around these parts isn't pressing on this story. They don't write much about the debt problem on the sidebar of this blog either. Sad, but true.

I have ridden the Blue Line Max downtown for work for many years. I would be afraid to add up all of the hours I spent on the train because it could probably be stated in months. I normally ride at rush hour, and for the most part have felt safe. I put on my head phones and mind my own business. Over the years, there have been incidents. A couple of near fights; a couple of real fights; some loud and disruptive people, and some crazies that make you feel uncomfortable, but not too threatened.

I happened to be on the train Friday that had the incident where the 57 year old asked the black teens to quiet down and was assaulted. I didn't see what happened but all I know was there was a loud commotion and then a group of black teens (I would estimate 30-40) running around the 60th avenue platform. I thought it was what some now call a "flash mob" and then somebody yelled "he has a gun, get down" Everybody hit the floor. I was thinking how insane this is. Here I am trying to get home from work at rush hour and I'm ducking down on the train floor because somebody might have a gun out on the platform.

When this sort of stuff happens at rush hour, normal working people that pay their fares are going to stop riding the train. They're certainly not going to ride it at off peak hours. I'm seriously reconsidering my transit options after this.

And from the Albina Ministerial alliance ?


If many people starting taking the buses instead of Eastside MAX, even if it takes longer, it would send a very strong message.

It is not about race, but race is a huge component.

It is about crime prevention, pure and simple.

Address the crime problem, and by definition you are addressing the race component, since so much crime is done by minorities.

How to address the crime part?

Follow the model set by the previous Mayor of NYC. Start with the "broken windows" and the TriMet assaults, and at the same time obviously crack down hard on the gangs. That alone sends the signal that Portland has had enough.

But has Portland really "had enough" yet? Maybe Bojack and a few others on this blog, yes. But not the uber liberal "Keep Portland Weird" crowd. Portland gets what those people want. Expect no changes, because of what the "saddest part" really is!

Based on the people that keep getting elected, including the HUGE list of losers pining for the mayor's office. It's going to get even worse. Sorry, but evidently it's not bad enough for enough people to finally demand and get something done about it. Until then, the march to the bottom continues.

How can the police be effective when most arrests of minorities bring out the race card. Portland has become an entitlement city. I moved years ago, but maybe not far enough.

The broken window model is a good one.

Theres a really worthwhile book that every candidate in pdx should be forced to discuss before the election: called When Brute Force Fails, it is a research based book on how to actually make a dent in this kind of thing, rather than blundering into a Thumper Humphreys kind of response that only makes things worse. It's by Mark Kleiman.

On target. The mob of punks at Nordstrom the other day shows how out of hand it's gotten, as does the story from rider Ron. And of course, Jesse and Al are laying low.

The mayor winks at Randy and puts on his mean glasses, and may have somebody send out a strongly-worded tweet.

What are the cops going to do? If they take action, they get heat; if they do nothing, they get heat - though less of it in the latter case. Tri-Met's not going to do anything; they don't even require folks to pay to ride their crime trains.

Me, I stay out of downtown Portland, and I drive to get from point A to point B. To do otherwise is just too risky, these days.

What's really weird is that 40 years ago, I used to live on N. Tillamook (off Williams) and felt safe walking in the hood any time of the day or night. Today, I wouldn't feel safe walking to Lloyd center on a sunny day.

The area just cries out for condos.

Part of Portland, but needs attention. Remember when the Servarla Garnt High School student body offices were doing armed robberies on grocery stores?

WHY would anybody run for office? So the "progressive" media can attack you and your family for attempting to make a difference?
Weird Aint Work-in folks,

What used to be "my city" and I was so proud of it has become a scary embarrasment- How do we fix this - where do we start?

Jack, this is a serious problem, thanks for hammering on it. Think Out Loud on OPB did a story the other day about the "Broken Windows" efforts made around Killingsworth and Albina. While it does help in many ways, and I sincerely support it, it also pushes bad actors elsewhere, so it isn't a total solution (as seen in east county, and as the Nordstrom story suggests). There needs to be, plain and simple, more hours by police and social workers on this issue. It will cost more money, but there is plenty floating around the city's bureaus. Maybe a WaterGangEnforcementBus?

I am in my late 20s, black, pretty decent size, work downtown, and last year reached the decision there is no way in heck I am riding the Max to work anymore. Between the packs of gang members/gutter punks and crazy people, I don't feel safe on that tin box - no matter how tough you think you are, a mob/knife/bullet will have you beat. I'm not very PC, so calling it like it is, most of the "packs" of gang member/gang wannabees I've seen have been black (though the road warrior types with their aggressive pit bulls on the train have skewed white). So, while race is part of this equation, it isn't the whole deal.

That said, the major issue to me is the lack of fare enforcement. I've never felt threatened on the bus, in large part because the get from A to B on the old #10 (now #73), you need to pay or present a pass to ride. With the Max, the only time this is enforced is the random day a fare inspector is on your particular train. Unfortunately, rather than addressing the issue, which I think could be combatted in large part through consistent security/fare enforcement, the city's answer has been gutting the bus system to force ridership on trains. As a consequence, myself and many others who can afford the gas prices (for now) have made the decision to commute by car rather than transit, those who can't, onto the Max. How "progressive" of the powers that be.

If you think the black community ignores gang and crime problems among teenagers, you are sadly mistaken. For example, Google "sei portland" and take a look at SEI's website, the Oregonian article on SEI, and the Charity Navigator page on it. Another effective program that helps teenagers, SUN, is about to get slashed for lack of money. If you guys have any extra cash, please consider looking for a way you can actually help.

At least you could quit saying no black or liberal people do anything. I'm a Portland liberal who's taught a lot of high-risk teenagers and given them a better alternative for what to do with their time and energy. You would not believe what hard workers and survivors many of these kids are. And yes, I voted for Adams, and yes, I'm disappointed, but honestly I'm not sure I'd vote for Dozono if I could do it all again.

I appreciate this blog's focus on this issue. A lot of us still feel quite safe in our day-to-day lives in Portland, but it's not OK to ignore that a lot of us don't.

The cops have been conditioned. If you contact persons of color who (in their mind) seem to be up to some possible trouble-making, you may be guilty of profiling. That kind of complaint may follow you forever, maybe even into a civil courtroom proceeding.

Best course of action; Wait till a crime occurs and then re-act if you can. Reactive rather than proactive is not a good recipe for prevention of criminal behavior.

Profiling because of race is a bad thing, but being able to profile a situation and take action before something bad happens is a disappearing art.

We usually only hear from the black community when a cop kills or beats a black kid.
We rarely hear from the black community when a gang of black kids beat up someone.

Speaking out when something bad happens is applying the "broken window" concept of crime prevention.

Staying silent is giving assent to the crime.

Wait till the white folks get robbed at the Nordstrom stores! instead of these flash robbers just taking merchandise.
Then! perhaps Nordstrom will install guards at the doors as is done in places in Argentina and South Africa or Richmond, CAI can assure everyone that I do not want to live where that is necessary.

I'm surprised there's no video of the teens released for the Nordstrom's robbery.

Mall video security cameras are quite impressive, and can even zoom in to see your credit card when you're at the checkout stand.

Lets stop letting kids ride Tri Met for free. Big part of the problem solved.

As my high school teachers might say: "Compare and contrast the PPB report as written and contrast to the report as edited for the "Oregonian". Extra credit for pointing out differences and possible motives:

PPB press release:

"Officers arrived and learned that a group of 15-20 African American male teens were being loud on the eastbound MAX approaching 60th when the victim, a 57-year-old Danny Adamson, asked them to quiet down."

As edited in the "O":

"A group of 15 to 20 male teenagers were being loud on an eastbound MAX train headed toward the station when Danny Adamson, 57, reportedly asked them to be quiet."

Followed by the "O" request from witnesses:

"Witnesses can provide information by emailing "


And no doubt the "O" spends countless meetings on determining the cause of their declining credibility and loss of paid readership.

If we keep talking about this you're going to scare off the expected hordes of prospective condo buyers in search of clean, happy, sustainable Nirvana and p*ss off the developer/politician money changers.

Remember the flim-flam mayor in the film "Jaws" who didn't want news about the shark getting out?

"...and I sincerely support it, it also pushes bad actors elsewhere, so it isn't a total solution."

This is a silly and trite argument that I hear way too much (i.e., crime being pushed elsewhere from community crime watches and what not).

I'd say "good" that crime is pushed elsewhere; communities shouldn't have to deal with it in their neighborhood in the first place. And when the bad actors do go elsewhere, let them get pushed somewhere else too by even more crime intervention and neighborhood involvement.

What's the opposite of this argument? Letting crime stay in a neighborhood instead and having community members (ineffectively) deal with it on their turf?

NEPguy: Correct: on a bus, you pay - which is why Tri-Met's constant gutting of bus services in favor of "free ride" crime-trains is so incredibly irritating.

But there's something else going on, as well, and I confess that I have no clue about it. When I lived over on NE Tillamook in '73, I was one of maybe two white guys in the whole area, and it was great. Afternoons, there'd be folks sitting out on the porches, and you always got a wave and a smile as you walked by.

2 a.m., they'd be indoors, most likely, but folks you saw as you walked back from the clubs were always cool. I could walk from NE Tillamook down Williams and over a bridge, down to Sack's Front Avenue, have a couple of brews and catch some great live music, then walk back home, and it was always safe.

Something's changed in the culture of downtown and NE - and not for the better. Sometime around the '80's, I think it was, things started getting uglier; kids started shooting things up on the inner east side, and then they started taking things downtown. Eastside light rail really kicked things up, and the place has never been the same.

Maybe it's just me, but I don't think so. We just didn't have gang attacks and fools popping caps all around the place back when Seafood Mama was singing about Williams Avenue.

Me, I think "urban renewal" and light rail had a huge negative impact.

Subway systems are better suited for densely populated cities than Portland's light rail model (especially in Portland's much lesser dense suburbs and much of even Portland). Light rail's capital cost makes it a very uneconomical substitue for rapid bus transit and the individual modes of transport. What may be just as bad about Portland's light rail model is it is way too open to anyone with bad intentions and exacts no cost for those riding it (fare evasion is almost risk free).

Light rail's subversive incubator is made even worse by Metro and other liberal oriented local and federal governments erecting heavily subsidized housing around the system. It's almost a replay of the bombed out ghettos of the failed 1960/70s Chicago public housing projects. Portland and Oregon governance needs a reset where government size is reduced and churches and charities enlisted to bring about positive change in individual behavior, bringing back belief in responsible individual behavior and being responsible for one's lot in life.

Given the juveniles (Sam Adams and Jefferson Smith, e.g) popular for running Portland city hall it probably makes more sense for grown ups to plan exiting the city of Portland than staging a frustratingly long, long generational campaign to bring about more grown up governance.

What I see is a total lack of interest in the hard work of running a city by Sam Adams and his team. They only care about "green" stuff, and "cool" shiny toys. They don't care about boring things like crime, potholes, property values, jobs, etc.

Sam is so brain washed that he would rather spend his time worrying about plastic bags and food slop buckets than real issues.

Most of the cult members running for mayor suffer from the same fault. They don't really want to run a city, they just want to play God on a couple of special issues that they care about.

Dealing with the street violence is going to take a whole lot more than action solely by the City of Portland(CoP).

Certainly it starts there, with the CoP, with "no-nonsense,arrest-everybody police activity.

But the Mult. DA's office, funded by the County and the State, and headed by a separately elected official, soon to be the unopposed Rod Underhill replacing Mike Schrunk, has to buy in, and aggressively prosecute, without plea bargains.

Judges need to sentence.

And the Department of Corrections and the Jeuvenile Authority need to keep folks in.

All that in the face of a Kitzhaber led attempt to dismantle mandatory sentencing as it is now. The Commission / Committee Governor retread put together on Measure 11 revision, without a single prosecutor or police agency head on it, tells you which way the wind is blowing among the usual suspects.

Maybe its time to move to Montana.

K.W.:...How do we fix this - where do we start?

Start by being an independent voter, do not assume that the top three "deemed" only viable candidates are going to do much fixing. In my view, mostly more of the same agenda, and that is why the power brokers, insiders are promoting them and not allowing others to even participate in debates.
Some democracy!
Look carefully at the voter's pamphlet and the other candidates that are not being promoted by the media, you may find those who are very concerned about our city and ready to work for the public interest. There are some who want to stop the city going on this downward spiral.

This has absolutely nothing to do with race, per se, but everything to do with a culture and a targeted demographic to which this culture is marketed.
In other words, as long as there is MONEY to be made this culture of criminality WILL continue.

"There is a class of colored people who make a business of keeping the troubles, the wrongs, and the hardships of the Negro Race before the public. Having learned they can make a living out of their troubles, they have grown into the settled habit of advertising their wrongs, partly because they want sympathy, and partly because it pays. Some of these people do not want the Negro to lose his grievances because they do not want to lose their jobs...There is a certain class of race-problem solvers that don't want the patient to get well because as long as the disease holds out they have not only an easy means to make a living, but an easy medium through which to make themselves prominent before the public."

Booker T. Washington


Educator, Author, and Civil Rights Leader

Until this is addressed - nothing will change.

The bottom line is that there is no REACTIVE fix for this. Community building from pre-school up through a broad web of wholesome participatory programs is the only answer. There is absolutely no other fix. NONE!

SEI does a great job, but can only do so much. Summer parks and youth sports programs have been cut by 2/3 or more since the '70s -- more victims of TIF rake-offs. Gang activity fills a void left by wholesome community activities that have been scrapped in favor of all these sexier boondoggles.

The solution is obvious! What we need to do is pay the "development community" to build more condos on the public dime! (Oh, sure!) That ideology is pushing Portland straight into Chapter 9, under which banks and bond holders will get paid before current and former public workers. The scramble to commit lots of $$ to more PDC condo projects before the current council turns over says it all. Building a broad web of wholesome community activities in all neighborhoods is the last thing on the pols' minds. It is all about giving the real estate sharpies the last three pieces of pie before the kitchen is shut down for four generations.

But, don't worry, they'll be leaving the Portland "brand" in great shape, and we all know that is more important than anything, right?

The first home I owned was up in Northeast, somewhere between Woodlawn and Vernon. We moved in just after the last drug house burned out, and were fortunate to enjoy relative peace for five or six years.

It really was lovely up there most of the time. I felt safe, and at home. Then things started to turn sour, even as the economy was going full steam ahead. Fights on the bus. Shootings ramped up More car break-ins (including mine).

Finally, two shot dead within view of my window, and then we sold. It's still pretty up there, but it wasn't home to me anymore. All the quirkly little shoppes in the world don't change the fact that the underlying community is rotten...

Prophetic words by Mr Washington.
Remarkable the insight he had over a hundred years ago.

I dunno, think anything like this might be part of the problem?

I think this issue can't be laid solely at the feet of politicians or the police. Rather, you have to back up and look at the parents as well.

I could go on about the roles of parents, or the impact of society on the family, etc., etc. I'm not going to, because we all know the arguments.

It just bothered me that everybody is calling this a political/government issue and ignoring the role of the family as well.

What Michelle said. But just a couple of the arguments: Babies having babies; single parents with no parenting skills; and the parent on drugs and/or just out of jail.

I agree that the family role is critical. I also think that the society we live in,
it has become more difficult for the family role importance.

Government, Vera Katz and others brought the education reform legislation (CIM/CAM) that many do not like.

The political scene here with the URA's has hurt the money needed for schools and public safety needs. The political scene here with the UGB and density has made living conditions within the UGB worse, especially in some neighborhoods.

The corruption and lack of stellar leadership in our country/community has in my opinion brought a pallor of negativity that I believe does impact all the way down to the family and the young adults and children. That does not excuse awful behavior, but I believe much of this is an extension of a system not working. How can young people have any respect, when they are mired in a rotten system?

Why are people surprised at the breakdown in the family when Uncle Sugar replaced being a responsible parent that takes care of their family ?

Casey Foundation grant money has directed the philosophy of our juvenile justice system for many years.

Bad enough we have financial mismanagement by elected officials, but government intrusion of social behaviors parallel is perhaps more than a community can withstand.

I used to ride the Maxx, shop and visit downtown. Now I go down once a year, if that. I drive from Hillsboro to Gresham everyday and would if gas was 10 a gallon and if I could I would drive around Portland, not through it. The roads suck, the thugs suck, the bums suck and no seems to be in charge and if they are they do not seem to care about fixing items 1,2 or 3.

As I have said on other online comment pages, racial descriptions mena nearly nothing because people described as "African-American" can range in shading from a shade darker than Jack to coal black. Additionally, multi-racial, East Indian, Polynesian, Hispanics are often mistakenly identified as black, Like I say, if you're Tiger Woods or Halle Berry you are biracial, if you just held up the liquor store you're black.

Racial identification is pretty much useless, except in terms of racial stereotyping.

We can't have it both ways. On one hand folks talk about not wanting to see color, and how were all the same however the same folks are quick to refer these kids as needing help from their "own communities" when bad things happen.

Most of the pathologization of the black community goes unchallenged in Portland. Here are some national facts though:

Doesn't take action? That's the worst what can they do. If people see that teenagers can roam the town freely the situation will just get worse! I mean no punishment or anything. Imagine their situation they do bad things but nobody cares or acts.
I think this article may be a good extra for this one.


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Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
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Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
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Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
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Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
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Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
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The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
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: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
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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