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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on December 4, 2012 9:00 AM. The previous post in this blog was Metro can't even get the elephants right. The next post in this blog is Portland police may help in elephant ownership flap. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Reader poll: Who are you rooting for in food cart-street punk fights?

The Third World atmosphere in downtown Portland has come to exquisite fruition with violent clashes between the worthless street punks who terrorize the public, and the food cart operators whose low-overhead competition precludes opening an actual restaurant in the area. Yesterday six punks were arrested (and we hear a seventh was brought in later) after a bloody late afternoon street brawl in which the food cart people say they were stabbed and hit with brass knuckles. Several of the street punks eluded police.

Last night on the news, as a reporter was interviewing the cart folks after the fight, a dude identified as the ringleader of the punks rode by on a bicycle, no doubt to taunt the cart guys.

We used to enjoy visiting downtown -- taking the kids, even -- but we don't go down there any more unless we have to, which is rare. We're tired of the food cart culture; it's depressing to think that this is the new normal for our once proud city. And we're sick to death of the street punks, who really need to be locked up and then run out of town. A creative city government would figure out a way to get these creeps to move on without violating their precious civil liberties. Some days, it's hard to tell which group we dislike more. What do you think?

Who are you rooting for in bloody downtown Portland fights? free polls 

Remember, go by streetcar! And bring your nunchucks.

Comments (24)

"low overhead competition" versus the high overhead bricks-n-motar restaurants is a good thing. Competition is good, regardless if it's schools, BBall shoes, college football teams or lunch food.

Regarding food carts, if the food is better for cheaper, and you don't get killed frequenting these places, they will succeed. Maybe part of the business model is to give up the bricks-n-motar expense, but add in a security team expense line, complete with brass knuckles and batons! I might even invest in that!

A downtown with no real restaurants isn't going to prosper. Ever.

Jack, I call that sort of choice "taste-testing dog crap". No matter which one you go for, you hate yourself for having to make the comparison, and you'll probably need to get yourself checked for worms.

None of the above would have been my choice

Tijuana on the Willamette? Doesn't quite fit.

But brass knuckles are always worth a laugh.

Maybe we can convince GIuliana to move to Portland. The current downtown problems are a result of the political climate of the city which promotes "weirdness" and progressive tolerance of miscreants of all types. Rest assured that nothing will be done that materially changes downtown's "culture". To do so would be intolerant.

The police reaction that "we're doing our best to get them (street punks) into treatment/shelters bla bla bla" is off the mark. Arrest them...incarcerate them...bus them out of town...punish them so they quit inflicting mayhem wherever they squat. Make them unwelcome. Just one more ugly blot on Portland's declining downtown attractiveness. Their liberties and rights be damned...get rid of them.

In San Diego, and other so Cal cities, the street folks are always on the move. They don't squat, except for the call of nature in some obscure place in Balboa park.

Why are we being so judgmental and not embracing all that diversity and texture? Not very PC!

Had the displeasure of going to Bridgeport Village this weekend. I'm an eastsider, but I will take Downtown Portland, with all of its warts, over bland, car-crowded, soul-less suburbia any day

Enjoy. The entry fee is now $5. But hey, no "car crowds." Indeed, no crowds of any kind.

"Their liberties and rights be damned...get rid of them."

How very American of you.

I'll take food carts over street punks any day of the week. Food carts aren't all that threatening unless you actually eat from one.

I've eaten at street carts in Portland for years working downtown--along with eating street food from New York to Mexico City to Tokyo and I've never gotten sick to my knowledge.

The places where I've gotten food poisioning from a night out are usually places like old school diners or the salad bars at suburban pizza joints...

Food carts are fine, though the market is oversaturated in Portland and there's too many places that aren't as good a value for what you used to get. But they're often the only places to find good cheap ethnic food in Portland unless you travel to somewhere like 82nd.
Street punks are just punks--they should all be beaten severely and sent back to the suburbs or wherever they came from.

Wasn't referring the the people in the "car crowds", Jack, I was referring to the nightmare parking situation inherent to malls during Xmas time. Easy on the trigger now.

Your sound bite about parking fees neglects to mention that one wastes lots of gas money sailing around the 'burbs from shopping center to shopping center. If I'm looking to get out of the southeast, I'll cough up the cash to park on the west side over suburbia any day.

I moved to Portland after eight years of living in the Philly 'burbs and I'll never move back - they have everything you need but nothing you want, with ample traffic aggravation in between.

Food carts are not the problem - street riffraff is the problem. If you don't like the food carts, you don't have to frequent them. But if you want to walk around downtown, you have to encounter these "youth". They are not just around the food carts. They are all over downtown, especially around Pioneer Square. They block the sidewalks and go out of their way to harass people.

Since downtown has morphed into a set from a low budget version of 1984 I have refused to go down. Unless it is the once a year trip to the Keller. When it gives up the Post Apocalyptic look I might decide to give it another try.

In a Food Cart/ADULT Street Punk smack down, no question I'd prefer seeing the third world style food servers prevail.

BUT if I OWNED a RESTAURANT system development fee paying, property tax supporting, regulatory complying, overhead paying, employee supporting established BUSINESS... I might have a hard time deciding who to root for.

But watching from afar... a very far afar... the scene rather reminds me of THUNDER DOME.

So glad we live in the Reno area now. The local police and casino security people get rid of the agressive panhandler types downtown; and street people are told to either move along or go to the local homeless shelter & services area. As a result, punks like you have in Portland are few and far between here. The streets are also clean here and well maintained; but you get the picture.

This is a QUESTION - so don't jump down my throat -- are organizations like Outside In and New Avenues for Youth - the reason Portland has so many HBC?

What's an HBC? Homeless youth?

I think those organizations are a response not so much a cause. Not sure, but it is widely believed that services draw the homeless to Portland. The argument is whether we facilitate homelessness...

It is plain to see locally that homeless youth congregate around Outside In and other places of service, as do all homeless.

Having worked as a social worker on 2nd/Burnside I can tell you that the reasons for homelessness are as varied as the number of homeless. None of them are happy with the situation, save for a small handful of the Carhart wearing bridge kids. Usually drugs are involved, but not always a cause, often just a symptom of a bigger problem.

It's sad when I think back on it. Just so many people incapable of getting with the program no matter the motivation.

HBC - homeless by choice. Another poster's invention. Rather liked it.

Portland has a lot of homeless "youth" but so does San Francisco, Berkeley, Seattle, So Cal, BC.

You'd be surprised. I saw some crazy street youth walking around Haight-Ashbury causing crime in broad daylight that I haven't seen in Portland. Anecdote, but still worthy,

Vancouver BC by far had/has the most drug addicted homeless I've ever seen. Maybe not the most total homeless people compared to normal people, it still was a beautiful and lively city and I'd go back.

In short, this is not a Portland thing only. The West Coast definitely bears the brunt of these issues compared to other cities. Moderate climate and easy-going attitudes.

Reading the poll, would it be correct to assume that Jack attracts some street punks? Otherwise, do the voters in favor of the street punks just hate the food carts more?


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