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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on October 9, 2012 4:49 PM. The previous post in this blog was Fiddling with Nero. The next post in this blog is 80 more pink slips at Vestas. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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E-mail, Feeds, 'n' Stuff

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Dear Charlie

A reader whom we admire sends along this message that she just sent to Portland mayoral frontrunner Charlie Hales:

I am a third generation native and have spent many of my professional years as an attorney working downtown (although I rarely go downtown at night). Last Saturday night, my husband and I were downtown for a wedding. We arrived a bit early to grab a drink. At Portland Prime. The wedding was at Kells.

We were both STUNNED to witness the hordes of aggressive panhandlers / street kids with too many pit bulls to count harassing tourists, making rude and inappropriate comments to us when we would not give money and at one point, blocking our car door. Not surprising, Portland Prime was virtually empty. The tourists in line at Voodoo Donuts looked scared.

Downtown Portland, once the thriving epicenter of the city, is going to hell. And it's getting worse every day because the current mayor and city council are too afraid to actually back the business owners and citizens for fear of not being uber liberal/friendly to our homeless population. I was a public defender for 7 years. I assure you that many of the homeless are not from here, but make Portland part of their traveling circuit (based on the mild weather) BECAUSE OUR LAWS ARE SO LENIENT!!!

Charlie, excuse my French, but it is going to take some real balls to do something about this situation. It will mean you being attacked as unsympathetic, conservative, etc.

Are you willing to do something? If so, what? When? How?

You have no idea how much I love my city. But enough is enough and we need a drastic change. I look forward to hearing from you.

Comments (43)

She should have copied Nick Jellyfish the flake. He seems to be the city patron saint for the homeless. Fritz doesn’t have a clue either.

From City Hall's perspective, those hobos somehow became the constituency, and you are just a NIMBY.

Here is the compact in Portland: The City government will make your neighborhood worse, reduce your services, and inconvenience you. In return for this privilege you will pay higher taxes and fees each year.

And I'm really not being facetious. That's how it has been every year since I've arrived.

And that's how it is.

They're not homeless; they're bums.

I understand that there are certain limitations with the sidewalk ordinance, free speech and so forth, but the aggressive in your face panhandling has to stop. It's one thing to have a bunch of shabby looking people who smell bad laying around on the sidewalk with a cup, but it's completely another to feel threatened, intimidated and harassed by perfectly healthy hobo punks with their pitbulls when you are attempting to patronize businesses in the downtown core. People need to call 911 when this happens and press charges if they show up.

Thanks for saying this. It's ridiculous that our city leaders allow this to happen to downtown. As a visiting friend from DC asked, why are there so many bums in downtown Portland? He was not impressed with our city.

I got accosted again! today out in front of Trader Joes on NW 21st and Glisan. A street Roots guy, and 2 homeless individuals, all haranguing every customer and passer by.
In an attempt to not seem totally heartless and unfeeling I bought meal tickets from Sisters of the Road last year to give to these poor unfortunates, and guess what? I still have all the meal tickets! No one will take them!
I am sick and tired of the

Aw gee hi the wrong button!
I am sick and tired of these people!

I have always found the Street Roots people to be nothing but completely respectful, clean and polite. They are micro-business people selling a product...not begging. Don't lump them in with the aggressive lay about scum we are talking about here.

I too am third generation native. But I have not gone downtown for recreation for years. Thanks to the writer of this letter for representing my views, too.

The original author should save the message and send it to Jefferson Smith when he is sworn in as mayor in January.

If you can pepper spray students at a sit in you can pepper spray panhandlers who block your path.

I just bought a can from Walmart...there's some sort of irony there.

After 22 years in Oregon (Lake O, Tigard, and Portland), I moved to Vancouver in December for three reasons:

1. Better job/schools/government services (including freeway expansion).

2. Fewer intrusions into my personal life.

3. More reasonable tax structure.

There are exactly three intersections where I routinely encounter beggars. I never give them cash, but I sometimes give them bread, peanut butter, and pop-top veggies or Vienna sausage.

The only time I've encounter a S'panger that wasn't at one of the aforementioned intersections, it was a tweaker trying to scam people into buying a worthless gift-card inside Target: they called the Police, and he was removed from the store.

At the very least the cops could enforce *existing laws* requiring that dogs be licensed and up to date on their shots. Odds that the pitbulls belonging to the street kids are legal on either count?

At least it's "kind of" being addressed:

The reader is spot on. People who give money to panhandlers are the least compassionate people around, they want to enable addiction and worsen peoples' lives.

Portland may not win sit/lie, although San Francisco just passed its own sit/lie ordinance with Berkeley voting next, but it needs to enforce alcove camping, which is private property, strictly.

People need to be able to run a business in the city, otherwise they'll be homeless themselves.

Portland Native

I've never been accosted by Street Roots, they're a pretty responsible and reputable group. I've also seen some of their news guys and gals clean up trash outside of stores, to which, I bought a paper of theirs as a thank you.

"It will mean you being attacked as unsympathetic, conservative, etc."

Attacked as conservative? The horror! Say no more!

I can take anything, anything at all! Even being attacked as unsympathetic!! But I just can not, nor will I ever take, being called conservative! A man (or woman) has their limits!

If suckers would stop handing these freaks cash it would stem the tide.
Forget trying to get anyone in local government to do anything about the bums. No one in authority would dare be labeled...what was it? Conservative? Oh the horror.

Downtown has gone to the dogs. Move out and take your tax dollars/foldin' money with you. Get em where it hurts.

Harry wrote: Attacked as conservative? The horror!

Indeed. Perversely, it would be safer to openly identify as such in the central city. Conservatives are perceived as less susceptible to the bums' sob stories and hustles, and thus a bit less likely to be victims. They also would be more likely to pack heat. =-)

I know downtown very well, and after years of steady decline I no longer spend any more time there than necessary -- and never at night. When downtown, my wanderings are reduced to a smaller, less crowded area. Some days I just stay in.

The spouse has also experienced increasing problems downtown. If I can find a way to work elsewhere, I will. I'll miss a few things (albeit few that are revenue generating), but not enough to stay. My handle is mostly ironic these days.

I remember the exact moment when I realized that Downtown / Old Town was no longer safe. It was during the Rose Festival in 1997, when a man was killed by a stray bullet fired blocks away. He was standing at my regular bus stop.

There are organizations who offer help to anyone who wants it. Truly want it. Street people who don't want to get straight, get a job, get sober, give something helping them. Living under a bridge is a life choice for some and bleeding heart liberals in this city will not admit that.

I moved from California to Oregon in 1960.I moved back to the State of Jefferson in February 2012. Enough is enough.

dm wrote: Street people who don't want to get straight, get a job, get sober, give something helping them.

That's so true. The hard-core disruptive people are often (not always, but often) the folks who aren't interested in the charitable services, or get kicked out due to their refusal to not take drugs. Or they have a dog, or too much stuff.

Or they want to stay with their boyfriend or girlfriend. &c. Rules are just too much to take. At some level, they've made a choice to keep living this way. Fine, but do we have to practically advertise for them? Don't give them a reason to leave Santa Monica.

Incidentally, now that Old Town / Pearl has a "wet" residential shelter, I wonder how it's working? Haven't heard much about it lately. Does anybody know the scoop? I'll be interested to see if this helps, or exacerbates the problem.

I think this conversation from Pulp Fiction is appropriate:

Jules: Well, that's what I've been sitting here contemplating. First, I'm going to deliver this case to Marcellus, then, basically, I'm just going to walk the Earth.

Vincent: What'cha mean, "walk the earth"?

Jules: You know, like Caine in Kung Fu: walk from place to place, meet people, get into adventures.


Vincent: So you decided to be a bum?

Jules: I'll just be Jules, Vincent; no more, no less.

Vincent: No, Jules. You've decided to be a bum. Just like those pieces of **** out there who beg for change, sleep in garbage bins and eat what I throw away. They got a name for that, Jules: it's called "a bum". And without a job, a residence or legal tender, that's exactly what you're going to be: a ****ing bum.

What is a "wet" shelter?

I challenge everyone in Portland who really believes these panhandlers are so helpless and pitiful ,to take in at least 2 for every spare room they may have in their home. The entire 'homeless' population could be housed tomorrow if certain folks put their money where mouths are.
How's that going to work out for ya?

Pom Mom, The Bud Clark Commons allows residents to use drugs and alcohol inside the residence. The goal is "harm reduction", i.e. getting treatment to people who might otherwise reject (or be ejected from) dry shelters.

Some background:

Here's Vancouver BC's "harm reduction," except they let people inject narcotics:

If anyone's seen their infamous skid row, or been to it, it makes Old Town look like Disneyland. No joke.

I'm lukewarm to wet houses, but Vancouver's government-sponsored injection facility and lax enforcement of open air drug use is an example of failing up.

It's reduced their out of control HIV and Hepatitis C, but it's a total failure in the end.

The "compassionate" idiots who run that place want to de-stigmatize drug use are ironically killing people and trapping them into addiction.

What's even more funny are drug treatment facilities next to large drug markets, like Old town.

What's next, an AA meeting in a bar?

I feel sorry for anybody trying to run a business downtown. There's a really obnoxious group of street "kids" (guessing some are in their mid 20s) frequenting 3rd by the Bijou/Stumptown. Homelessness is not a crime, but the cursing and threats at people who won't give them money are. Same with the unlicensed, not current on their shots pit bulls they have. I'll put in a plug for Street Roots - while some of their vendors are as obnoxious as your most annoying canvasser, most of them are actually trying to get back on their feet and working for a honest dollar. But back to the main point, if you have a choice between getting gouged by SmartPark/Ellis McCoy and a pack of kids cursing at you, or free parking at Bridgeport and dealing with some snooty soccer moms, I'll take the latter any day.

Don't comment often. But we go into Portland even less. Exactly for reasons cited.

Last Sunday had business in NW 21st area. But it was early afternoon, so we thought about a late lunch downtown. After a half hour of being re-directed, mis-directed, and hit up for money at lights, we thought the better of things. Both my wife and I made a vow: no more of our money will be spent - not a dime - in downtown Portland. We've had it. And I am native, just like the guy that wrote Hales.

Up in Seattle the Visitors and Convention Bureau is asking business owners to send pictures and descriptions of "unsafe activity" to city officials...good for them, hope it leads to some response!

I feel sorry for anybody trying to run a business downtown.

Don't worry, between the subject matter in this posting, and the business-surly policies and practices of the City of Portland, it's a dwindling set of people that you are declaring compassion for.

How many years ago was it that Michael Powell (Powell's Bookstore) spearheaded virtually the same campaign?

Downtown Denizen:

It's too narrow a focus to think that there are only two types of homeless people who have substance abuse problems: those that want to get out of that life, and those that don't. Everyone who eventually seeks help, at one point did not seek help. Everyone who is a substance abuser chose to use; until they choose not to, I think we should do what we can to encourage them to make that choice to get help.

It wasn't the first homeless "Plan", but in 1984 Mayor Bud Clark started The Homeless 12 Point Plan. Now we've worked up to the Homeless 10 Year Plan instituted in 2004. We're close to the end of that Plan.

What will it be next? I'm sure Fish and other commissioners will think of some new name with the same results.

I don't even have to see the reply (if there is one) from Charlie to know what it'll say. "Dear So-and-So. Thank you for sharing your thoughts about some of the challenges facing our downtown area. For the past year, as I have campaigned for mayor, I have received the generous input from thousands of people, from all walks of life, and from every corner of our city, all of whom want to make our city a more prosperous and enjoyable place to live. The next mayor of Portland will face many challenges, but I am grateful to know that I will be able to count on the experiences and skills of so many of our fellow citizens. Thanks again for your comments, and I look forward to the chance to represent you as Mayor for the next four years."

Etc. etc.

Well, we have homeless ending with Clark Commons, right? At a cost of over $280 thousand per room. Will Fish's next Plan have the "Fish House" at over $380 thousand per room? Or will already existing laws be enforced?

From City Hall's are just a NIMBY.

This is very likely true. And many of City Hall's most fawning constituents would characterize complaints like the ones aired in this blog's comment section as "ridiculous" or "not well thought out."

I was recently accosted by a troll/"Young Creative" on Twitter who used that exact language to marginalize my (very valid) issues with certain local cyclists.

We are expected to like crap service, declining culture and crap government, and if we do not, we can easily be written off as "ridiculous." Or "conservative."

I don't like all the street bums for two reasons. First, many are kids and we show no concern or compassion for them by allowing them to throw their lives away. Their lifestyle benefits neither them or our country. Second, their behavior and appearance is offensive to me and insults my work ethic while I pay for all of the things that support their lifestyle. It's a screwed up mess and when I retire, I am moving back to a part of the country where this nonsense isn't rewarded.

35 years ago, I lived in inner NE Portland (Tillamook, off Williams). I walked everywhere, at any time, day or night - no worries.

25 years ago, I lived in NW (Marshall off 23rd). Same deal.

Back in the day, I could hike down to Last Hurrah, Sack's Front Avenue, and other venues without ever once encountering an issue.

About a decade ago, I stopped going into downtown Portland. I won't spend a nickel there, nor any time there. Not due to fear, but disgust.

I wonder if the rich getting so much richer and the poor getting so much poorer, Bush whacked, could have anything to do with it? Nah, it can't happen here.
And if it did it couldn't have any actual personal effect on people's character, people are born the way they are born. Some choose to enrich themselves and some don't, it just is what it is.
Maybe the banker jamming of lending and borrowing and politicized finances hogties businesses trying to make jobs except in the military industrial complex. Heck, those bums could always get a job: Join the military. Fight wars and die for no reason except it floats the stock market boat. But the military is honorable enough, and the pay is family-wage or better -- it's good money, murder pays well.


Not addiction, or laziness, or the fact that an itinerant "job free" lifestyle appeals to a small minority of twenty-somethings.

At what future date (2050?) can we stop blaming George Bush?

Mister Tee: funniest Bush-blaming is in the book I am currently reading: The Cursing Mommie's Book of Days. It is also the funniest book I have ever read.

Thanks, Sally.

I'll get it from the Library soon.

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
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
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
Apaltagua, Envero Carmenere Gran Reserva 2013
Chateau des Arnauds, Cuvee des Capucins 2012
Nine Hats, Red 2013
Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
Roxy Ann, Claret 2012
Januik, Merlot 2012
Conundrum, White 2013
St. Francis, Sonoma Cabernet 2012

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: 8
At this date last year: 0
Total run in 2018: 10
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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