Monday, January 8, 2018

Portland's Caring Community: Old Town Chinatown

Website and Portland's Caring Community (download pdf) is a guide to the housing landscape in Old Town Chinatown. It paints an accurate picture of how the housing in Old Town reflects the healthcare sector in terms of not only housing, but employment. 
57% of all housing units are dedicated to the homeless and their recovery.  It is comprised of two types of housing - supportive care and shelters. 
Healthcare is the major industry and is one of five economic clusters prioritized by Prosper Portland based on “local employment concentration, historic and future growth, global reputation and brand, and middle-wage job accessibility. It is the primary sector in Old Town Chinatown. 
This might all come as news to people who think of it as the entertainment district and are surprised to learn that people not only work here, but rent apartments and own condominiums in our neighborhood.

Safety First Campaign

There is a special report on the Safety First campaign launched by two residents and digital marketers, Ruth Ann Barrett and Katherine Fischer. The primary reason for raising the red flag of safety is straightforward and personal.  

With the existing 365 bed cluster the crime rate is over the top (22% of drug/narcotic offenses and 6% assaults). Resources such as the Police Bureau’s Behavioral Health Unit*, like the Police Bureau, is significantly understaffed. Our neighbor Jacob Shroyer was brutally murdered in the lobby of our apartment in May of 2017 and since then there have been five stabbings in a few blocks and a second murder around the corner. Residents and our guests tell us they do not feel safe.  

Safety First raises safety concerns of the residents and employees adjacent to a cluster of shelters at the North End of the New Chinatown Japantown Historic District where there are plans to add 200 low barrier beds to the existing 365 beds. Residential properties most impacted to the South include the condo, Old Town Lofts, and affordable housing units in Pacific Tower, Fifth Avenue Place, and Fifth Avenue Court.

The many supportive housing units and other residential units in the area North of Everett including Everett Station Lofts may also experience safety and livability issues as it is estimated that the sheltered population has a sizable share of persons reporting mental illness and drug use issues: as high as 71% of the unsheltered reported that they have one or more disabling conditions according to the Point In Time Study, 2017.

To the North of the shelter cluster and across the railroad tracks, the Yards at Union Station and the McCormick Pier Condominiums, two large residential properties, may find an increase in shelter beds creates more safety issues for both renters and condo owners.

Download Safety First report here.  

Call the Opinion Line at City Hall 503-823-4127 and insist on Safety First when it comes to locating another shelter in Old Town Chinatown. 

*This is the unit that coordinates the response of Law Enforcement and the Behavioral Health System to aid people, city-wide, in behavioral crisis resulting from known or suspected mental illness and or drug and alcohol addiction. 

Ruth Ann Barrett,, January 7, 2018, Portland, Oregon.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Crime, Homelessness, Shelter and Gatekeepers

Four papers offered with the purpose of educating our residents on public safety issues here in Old Town Chinatown.

(1) What We Need to know For Our Safety, Incident and Crime Stats, Old Town Chinatown, October 2, 2017,  download here.
Crime report for August 2016 to August 2017 time period and incident report, September 2016 to September 2017.

(2) Overview Homelessness in Our Neighborhood, October 3, 2017 download here.  (

Information from the 2015 and 2017 Point In Time count of unsheltered homeless folks about the homeless population.  Overview of relevant information regarding the proposed 200 bed, low barrier Shelter at 320 NW Hoyt Street here in Old Town Chinatown.  

(3) See also position paper, Point of View,  September 12, 2017, on proposed siting of a 200 bed shelter, low barrier, in the North Gate area entrance to New Chinatown Japantown Historic District, Portland, Oregon.

(4) And read about Gatekeepers Chinatown
a proposal for providing improved safety in the doorways of our residential and commercial buildings where access to the building has proven to be difficult to restrict. 

Update October 5, 2017
About Workers/Industries in Old Town Chinatown Area

1,332 workers with 287 (21%) in construction, 286 in professional/scientific and technical services (21.5%) and 289 (22%) in health care and social assistance.

White, 30 to 54 years old, 55% earning more than $3,333 per month.

Download here.

Wider area, a look at 21,399 workers by industry, 
largest group professional/scientific/technical at 23%, Finance and Insurance 10.4%, Health Care and Social Assistance at 10.4% (2,223)

Download here.

Ruth Ann Barrett, October 4, 2017, Portland, Oregon,  
Bio information at 

P.S. Latest update here on Fong Chong Sex Club at NW 4th Avenue and Everett. 

Thursday, July 13, 2017

101Dogs Project for a Neighborhood Dogpark

PDXdowntowner, the citizen activist channel, is sponsoring a project to photograph 101 Dogs and their Caregivers as an opening to petitioning the mayor and commissioners for a dog park in our neighborhood, Old Town Chinatown here in Portland, Oregon. Our neighborhood is home to over 4,000 residents and another 6,000 employees or day timers who if they don't bring their dogs to work, love dogs.  Known as an "entertainment" district it is often overlooked as not only a commercial district, but a neighborhood with citizens from all walks of life and a lot of dogs (and cats).

Please visit us at our site at, meet some dogs and their caregivers then support this project by liking us on Facebook. You can also help out by following PDXdowntowner on Twitter and Instagram. They are dog channel as well.

And this is not all just for the dogs. We need a place for neighbors to meet one another and a dog park provides the context for important and necessary community building.

You may want to add your name to our sponsor list by emailing me. My email address is on the website. You will be listed on our site with a link to a personal and/or business Website.

Our first sponsor is entrepreneur John Black of Rainy Dog Walks who has been an inspiration to me and my source for all things dogs.

While your here visit his site as well. Like Rainy Days on Facebook.

Thanks in advance for your support.

Ruth Ann Barrett, PDXdowntowner, July 13, 2017, Portland, Oregon.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Update to Unsafe

As to safety, a person was assaulted and stabbed multiple times within the lobby of our building on May 8th.

Jacob Pedro Shroyer suffered traumatic injuries and remains in serious condition at a local hospital.

We have moved from the neighborhood to the lobby in facing just how unsafe we really are. It happened in the evening and no one knows the why of it.  Here is the OregonLive story.  We are all holding Jakob Pedro Shroyer's recovery in our hearts. There is a fundraiser for Jakob here.

I have been writing about the drug traffic and camping on our street and circulated the latest statistics available from  For the last several years there were no crime statistics available. I found first person accounts were minimized and branded as anecdotal.  Residents receive suburban style advice to report, to report, to report, etc. etc. etc.  As drug traffic is a daily, ever expanding situation as is camping one has to wonder what will it take to have our elected officials be accountable to us for a change and stop with the excuses.

As mentioned in today's post on camping we are in what is called a Clean and Safe District. It is not clean nor safe.  There will be a meeting in our building on May 17th at 6:30 addressing safety. THAT ought to be interesting. Will report back. So far I feel as if I have been whistling in the wind.

Download crime stats here.

Camping Update May 11 2017

May 11, 2017
The New Chinatown Japantown Historic District in Old Town

NW Flanders between  NW 4th Avenue and 3rd Avenue is enjoying a moment of being nearly clear and clean. As it turns out our neighborhood is part of the "Clean and Safe District" which is also an organization. The Clean & Safe District "encompasses a 213-block area of downtown and is one of the oldest, largest and most successful business improvement districts in the nation. Businesses within this area elected to pay a fee to raise money that supplements publicly-financed services for neighborhood improvement, including cleaning, security, community justice services, market research and retail advocacy." Their accountability to people who live in such a district is unclear.

It turns out that all the reports on camping made to the City's One Point of Contact Campsite Reporting system had all been forwarded to Clean and Safe where they apparently landed in the garbage can. Finally, attention was turned on the organization and they finally responded by not only removing the campers but steam cleaning the street!  
A call from a landowner to the Mayor resulted in talk about a camp and loitering free zone being established with promises from Clean and Safe to keep the area clean and safe.  These photos taken this evening suggest it will  take diligence to keep the area clean.

All of this activity on the corner of NW Flanders and NW Third Avenue are around the Royal Palm Hotel owned, managed and operated by Cascadia Behavioral Healthcare. The Royal Palm admits homeless individuals as residents once they have been diagnosed with a severe and persistent mental illness.

On the block where I live on NW 4th Avenue between Everette and Flanders the building that stands empty and neglected (it was once a Chinese restaurant) is also a home to folks.  Last year we fought off efforts for the landowner to rent to a Gentlemen's club.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Public Safety and Livability at NW 6th and Flanders

Person Crimes

The corner of NW Sixth Avenue and NW Flanders is critical to addressing public safety issue on Sixth Avenue and Flanders as well as surrounding blocks that include NW 5th and NW 4th Avenues and cross streets from Davis to Hoyt and the Greyhound bus terminal.  Think of Katrina’s as the hub.


Society Crimes also signal a kind of neighborhood that does not represent Portland’s Healthy Connected Neighborhood Strategy for even  the most basic activities such as walking, sleeping, and grocery shopping.  Many women who live and work here carry pepper spray. Friends from other neighborhoods hesitate to visit.  Most of the decision makers (community association, City agency staff, elected officials, business owners, developers) don’t live here, but may work here.  The Portland Development Commission offices are here, just around the corner from me on NW 5th and Everett.  

And hang on to your belongings, lock your car, and be careful who has access to your building.  Many of us live in buildings with lobbies that are not staffed during day hours - only late hours on weekends if at all. 

Back to the hub at the Corner of NW Sixth and Flanders. The corner store continues to deteriorate. 

Historical buildings contribute to the blight of our neighborhood. The City lacks any ability, despite programs and investments of the Portland Development Commission - not to mention URMs as this is one - to even stem the tide of blight and crime.  
See my video on the Story of U here on my blogpost, right column.

Across the street is P:EAR a program to creatively mentor homeless youth and a bus stop.  

It’s a popular corner too and across the street from the hub.

On the whole these folks are uninterested in non-buyers and can be courteous even. They are role models for our young homeless youth? Really.

As noted in a previous blog post on NW Flanders and NW 4th Avenue, it’s not uncommon to have men posted at corners, sometime two or three.  This is Nw 4th and Everett. The building is vacant and vacant buildings, historical and otherwise, parking lots, and empty retail space attract campers and drug dealers. It’s on the same block as my apartment. I pass it daily.

Getting off the Max at Sixth and Davis recently there were five people standing around on the NE corner and another four or five people at NW Sixth and Everett, an increasingly popular streetscape as many cars use Everett on their way out of the City which can also be viewed as a flow of customers.  I was not able to photograph the crowded corners and at Everett two women were fighting on the corner and in the street so I quickly turned and walked over to NW 4th and to my apartment.  Shouting, yelling, fighting. I don’t go out much in the evenings. Too scary.

It is complicated. Our first person accounts have been discounted, statistics and trend reports are unavailable, and the City as a whole is short on police officers.  A new look at the PDC’s role in our community would help and before the remaining amount of the $58M in funding (Five Year Action Plan) gets spent or is moved to the post office project. 

I might add this is the neighborhood where young adults from the suburbs come to be entertained. They park on and all around NW Flanders late at night.