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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 3, 2012 7:58 PM. The previous post in this blog was Election over, but campaigning grinds on. The next post in this blog is Metro can't even get the elephants right. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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Monday, December 3, 2012

It's Christmastime in downtown Portland

And nothing says "Happy holidays" like a bloody brawl between the food cart operators and the street punks. Classic! Go by streetcar!

Comments (25)

A symphony by Tom Hallman. What a wonderful piece of writing.

Oh great ! One more reason to avoid downtown.
I don't get why these self described street punks have around here for the winter. It's way warmer in Santa Barbara or San Diego!
Oh yeah, the authorities in CA do not tolerate the behaviors that are common place here in hipster Portlandia.

"Cart operators said Monday night they want the police to crack down on street problems at the pod. They said they support their families by operating the carts, but the area is "getting dangerous."

Amazing that nobody got their head bashed in. Maybe so urinating for Thumper to go half-cocked on? Getting dangerous is right. Clear out the riffraff, or go out of business.

"Street youths said they just want to be left alone and not harassed."

Yep... left alone to vandalize and harrass the small sliver of public that still refuses to leave Portland.

Come on now, it is all fun and games till someone dies, then the cops will step-up .

At one time there were well enforced vagrancy and loitering laws. It proved a useful tool in keeping the streets safe, but gave the police overwhelming authority to simply toss anyone into the can without much cause. Advocates for the homeless fought hard to change those laws, claiming it was no crime to be poor. The police no longer have much authority to enforce anything down there at all, and instances like these are now commonplace. There is some good that has come from humanizing the homeless and recognizing they have rights too. But in this city we often swing at a problem so hard we end up missing the ball all together.

I maintain there still are a few things that could be enforced that would send the right message--how about checking the registration on those pit bulls they've all got, for example. Proof that those dogs have had their shots? Yeah...didn't think so. And then the dog goes into the pound, and the kids have to pay whatever it costs to get them out. The point being, there are enough small ticky-tack things that these kids could be busted for if there was the political. There's not.

Oh no! I eat at that food cart pod at least once a week, and actually was at Built To Grill today. The cart owners are really nice, talented people who deserve better.

Dave J.

The police actually did a sweep of these punks just this past summer outside of Portland Outdoor, and brought in Animal control to take some of their dogs who didn't have shots.

I had to advocate for stuff like this to happen, but this needs to happen to bring it to people's attention to get something done.

"Portland Police need to crackdown..."

All of these kids have been arrested at least once and many are on probation.

They have no fear of Multnomah County's Community Corrections program and they know they're very unlikely to get caught or prosecuted for most misdemeanors.

The PPB has been told to stand down when it comes to the mentally ill and/or homeless unless they witness a crime in progress.

It's called "depolicing">google it,.

One of the men arrested is 25 years old. Another is 23. Can we stop calling them kids? They are adults. Even if they had a tough hand dealt to them at an earlier age, eventually they have to figure things out or suffer the consequences---as an adult.

"Now Slasher! Now Crusher!
Now Basher! And Stitchen!
On Vomit! On Stupid!
And Bummer and Ditzen!
To the top of the cart!
To the top of the wall!
Now bail away, bail away,
Bail away all!"

I'm with Gibby, but I also fear giving the police more power. I used to work with those guys downtown as a social worker, and I'd go out there and cus them for harassing people all the time. They knew me so would sort of sheepishly skulk off. I was supposed to help them get jobs, but really I was just their big brother.

That was 10 years ago though, things have changed. Street vendors are far more common, for one.

I haven't been downtown in ages, but I guess I better pack my bear mace next time.

Ron - The term 'kids' has always been a misnomer used to drum up support for treating them with 'kids gloves'.

Mr. T - You gotta admit, though, there have been some pretty high profile screw ups that prompted such policy changes.

About a month ago at dusk, near the north park blocks food carts, my wife and I saw another similarly violent confrontation between 6-8 crowbar-armed food cart owners and 10-12 street kids swinging their skateboards. It was shocking. It looked like Gangs of New York down there. I wasn't prepared to protect my wife if the brawl had come across the street to where we were walking, which felt unsettling.

"One of the men arrested is 25 years old. Another is 23. Can we stop calling them kids?"

I prefer the term Homeless By Choice ("HBC"). The HBCs are mostly suburban white adults 18-25 who are not from Portland but have chosen to be here for a while due to the moderate weather and liberal population. The HBCs have a sense of pride about what they are doing that is truly disturbing.

The problem is bigger than occassion street brawls or the "sit/lie" ordinance.

How does society respond when rising numbers of offenders (HBCs, drug addicts, repeat drunk drivers) have no fear of violating the law?

They seem to feel no shame and are apparently undeterred by the threat of going in front of a judge or spending some time in jail.

Some of them may have nothing to lose, but the deterrent effect of the risk of getting caught and/or punished seems to have failed.

Mister Tee,
You are absolutely right! The son of a dear friend is just as you describe. He has no fear of jail. In fact he "survives" quite well in jail and prison. He has drug and alcohol addiction and he just rotates through the system; street, rehab, jail; rinse and repeat.
I am not sure what is going to happen to these street people, or to the rest of us who must live among them.

Mojo--you made me laugh out loud even before I'd had my morning coffee!

Mr. T--You are so right. But there's nothing to fear. These "kids" are being given the equivalent of a time out, but it's time for more serious discipline.

"How does society respond when rising numbers of offenders (HBCs, drug addicts, repeat drunk drivers) have no fear of violating the law?"

Well, NYC responded by putting Mayor Rudi in office and cleaning up the petty crime, and protecting the people.

How does (Portland) society respond? By putting Mayor Sam in charge, and then refusing to remove him twice. Sam, Randy, Sten, Vera et al are exactly what Portland electorate wanted; and the results are exactly what Portland wants: Uber Tolerance, Anti Business, Liberal Angst, etc.

Portland gets exactly what Portland wants. Always will.

They seem to feel no shame and are apparently undeterred by the threat of going in front of a judge or spending some time in jail.

Solution: Build a gigantic jail/prison/homeless camp out by the "three corners" of Oregon, Nevada and Idaho. The middle of nowhere.

Move them out there. They can create their own self-sufficient commune, off the electric grid, no cars and no pollution. They can be all the hipster they want, do all the art they want...heck, they can even light up and shoot up all the want. All the taxpayers will have to pay for is guards to ensure they stay there.

Some define anarchy as the absence of leadership. Might be why the "street kids" love Portland.

The Portland Tribune had an op/ed piece about this issue in September 2011:

http://portlandtribune.com/component/content/article?id=12640

Ask merchants in any urban business district in America about their concerns, and taxes and parking are likely to be at the top of the list.

Not in Portland, however, where the perennial complaints about tax burdens and lack of convenient customer parking are eclipsed by more immediate worries: panhandling, homelessness and public inebriation.

For all its remarkable success, downtown Portland is dogged by its continual struggles with a transient population whose presence is both highly visible to the public and oddly tolerated by the powers that be. Some Portland activists seem to shrug off the issue, describing it as a local symptom of a national problem.

But a recent survey by the Portland Business Alliance shows a high level of concern among people who actually run businesses downtown. More than half these merchants report that panhandling is the downtown area's biggest problem, and the more generic issue of 'transients' ranks as a close second. Much lower on the list are worries about high taxes and cost or availability of parking.

Erik H -

I thought Eric Sten already builtt "Digniy Village" for just this purpose, and that The Admiral has kept it open

Mayor Sam is no Rudy.


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