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Saturday, September 15, 2012

Pay phones? Portland still has pay phones?

Apparently so, according to these agenda items for an upcoming City Council meeting. But who uses them, besides maybe drug dealers? They bring in $19,000 a year in fees to the city, but how much of a headache do they create? Is it time to bury those dinosaurs?

Comments (18)

What headaches? They come in mighty handy if you lose your cell phone. Drug dealers using pay phones? What year are you talking about 1985? Of all the things to complain about.

Coming up from San Jose on Thursday, I was surprised to see a waiting passenger use one while waiting at the gate.

I cannot recall the last time I used one.

/snark on
These are essential conveniences at neighborhood street corners, and in front of the local Plaid Pantry and 7-11s in the metro area. /snark off

Pay phone booths are a good place to get out of the rain for a few minutes if you forget to take an umbrella.

Some of us don't like to use cell phones and don't deal in drugs.

Some of us know that cell phones compromise the blood/brain barrier and create tumors.

We are therefore willing to withstand the scruffy looking company that might be found among payphone users and laugh as you stare at your I-Shepherd blinders thoroughly disconnected from the world around you.

I didn't have a cell phone recently when I broke down in Gresham. It was a terrible ordeal. I walked for over an hour, finding 3 pay phones, none of which worked correctly.

I don't see many pay phones around, but they likely still serve a useful function for some folks. It might be possible to forego the pittance in fees and order them all removed, if we jack up the water rates a bit more so we can give free cell phones to the pay-phone users.

Where are the pay phones in the right of way for the city of Portland?

Sweet deal! The late fees demanded from the telcos are a better deal than we get from the water bureau! I like that the city puffery points out that excessive rates are bad, does not make the applicant state the rates, and then the city takes its cut. Yeah, SamRand must be allowed to wet its beak.

The are convenient at the airport for being a good place to make a cell phone call with a bit of privacy.
In some of the seedier areas they also serve as emergency urinals.

City council no doubt thinks that everyone has a cellphone and everyone prefers to use a credit card rather than cash. Anybody who doesn't want to - or can't afford to - fit into those parameters will find themselves marginalized, like the folks who prefer to do their taxes by hand and mail them in and those who were happy with their free analog television and couldn't afford - or were renting and not allowed - to upgrade to digital.

Still annoys me anytime I see someone on the news or in print say, "for more information, go to our website at www . . . " just assuming that everybody either has a computer or access to one. The worst time was a couple of years ago when there was a heat wave in progress. One of the major local TV news folks described the cooling centers that were available to low income or elderly people and then - without providing a phone number or any addresses - said "visit our website for more information"! To the part of our community that is least likely to have easy computer access.

Portland surprisingly has lots of pay phone locations. Personally, they junk up the streets terribly, and are a nuisance that are unmaintained, just like the abandoned news stands (really just unofficial trash cans).

Here are a few:







That streetview at 7th & Knott pairs the pay phone booth (try urinating in that one, Dave!) with another endangered species, the mail box.

A pay phone sure came in handy after I lost my cellphone in a river in my haste to get back home for a family emergency.

In the agreement with the city the pay phone company must maintain the phones. They may be ugly but they are worth keeping around.

Hey Mike! My family used to say that about me, too.

If I lost my cell phone and had to use a payphone I am afraid I wouldn't know the correct numbers to dial. All of my contacts are in my cell phone and I don't know most of them by heart.

There's a good, old-fashioned phone booth on Foster just east of I-205. It's in front of a tiny strip mall/convenience store/restaurant.

I marveled at it when I noticed it. My kids probably thought I was nuts.

Other than the occupiers laying around on the sidewalks likely living off of somebody else's money, not everybody has a cell phone.

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