Saturday, March 4, 2017

NW Flanders and Camping in Portland: An Update

(most recent postings at end of this blog post)

This is the continuing saga of NW Flanders Street in Portland Oregon and the last of my pictures documenting the life surrounding me.  I live at the corner of NW Flanders and NW 4th Avenue.  Here is what I have learned:

What most of the camps and individuals sleeping in doorways have in common is this:

Vacant building or vacant ground floor retail space (above) or
on sidewalks running along side surface parking lot and/or covered 
parking lot.  So neighborhoods with a surfeit of either or both are likely to be 
home to people sleeping on the street and campers. This is the case with NW Flanders 
between NW 4th Avenue and NW 3rd Avenue and may also be so in other parts of our neighborhood. This is what I see every day upon leaving my apartment. 

In earlier blogpost I thanked the City for cleaning up our street of the campers.  Days later campers returned.  NW Flanders at NW 3rd Avenue intersection. This blogpost documents the pattern of "sweeping" that results in one group moving out and another group moving in, or maybe same group, hard to tell.

This is camp around corner of Flanders and NW 3rd Avenue across from the Chinese Garden, a cultural asset that attracts visitors and tourists. This photo and the one above were taken yesterday on March 3, 2017.

Basically Flanders was not steam cleaned despite being a campsite. Garbage remains.

Across the street, days earlier on March 1st, a temporary home for an individual in a doorway of a building that has remained vacant for at least a year maybe two years. One looses count. At one point it was to be a "Gentlemen's Club" until neighbors complained.  See post and position paper on the topic of Sex Clubs.

Landlords are not required to maintain their buildings when they become vacant.

Sidewalks/doorways around the building or parking lot are not maintained. Snow, ice, dirt, trash. That includes buildings and parking lots owned by the Portland Development Commission (PDC). 

It would not be a stretch to think the person standing at the corner of the building is a drug dealer. 

Drug dealing has increased at the intersection of NW 4th Avenue and Everette. 
NW Flanders at NW 6th is a hub of drug dealing so this may represent an expansion of the business that goes on in broad daylight nearly every single day as shown in the photo below.  It's across from a bus stop, down the street from Union Station, and on the route tourists often take to get downtown from the train station. 

I think you can understand why it is difficult to take photos of such activities. I do not recommend taking photos of campsites or active drug dealing corners even though our City fathers call on us to do so as some sort of "proof" and way to go in and clear out campers only to have a return of campers in days.   

Update March 13, 2017

Campers back, but not on sidewalk on street. 

Update March 23, 2017

Situation back to unacceptable. Drug use, blocking of sidewalks, a camp-in on NW Flanders and on NW 3rd Avenue across from the Chinese Gardens. Again, on the path from their parking lot to their front door.  The sad part is that "sweeping" is considered somehow a solution or better than nothing. 
We need to stop an endless cycle that only disrupts and treats people as trash, sweeping them away but to where?

NW 3rd Avenue, corner of NW 3rd Avenue, across from Chinese Gardens

Around corner on NW Flanders

Update April 2, 2017

Flanders between NW 4th Avenue and NW 3rd Avenue

Four campsites, looking East from NW 4th Avenue, my front door.

April 9th the encampment grows and expands towards NW 4th Avenue.

Update, April 11, 2017

Letter to Mayor's Office, April 11th, 2017

Hello Seraphie,

You may remember I wrote the Mayor on February 21st about how the "one point of camping program" was not working very well. I would say it is not working much at all for my neighbors.

Why would the City not be on a continual quality improvement process until it either works or doesn’t?  Disfunctionality reflects very poorly on the City and contributes to the anger and frustration we hear at meetings from citizens especially meetings addressing homelessness.

So, I decided this morning to go look at some reports on the one point camping program that I saw available on the site. Here is what the reports document for February through to April 2nd, the most recent report posted.

NW 3rd/4th and Davis/Flanders Referred to Clean & Safe (March 27- April 2)
NW 3rd/4th and Davis/Flanders Referred to Clean & Safe (March 20-26)
NW 3rd/4th and Davis/Flanders Referred to Clean & Safe(March 13-26)
 NW 3rd/4th and Davis/Flanders Referred to Clean & Safe(March 6th - 12)
NW 3rd/4th and Davis/Flanders  Referred to Clean & Safe (Feb 27th - March 5th)
NW 3rd/4th and Davis/Flanders  Referred to Clean & Safe(Feb. 20 -26)
NW 3rd/4th and Davis/Flanders  Referred to Clean & Safe (Feb. 13-19)
NW 3rd/4th and Davis/Flanders (2) Referred to Clean & Safe (Feb 6-12)
NW 3rd/4th and Davis/Flanders (8) Referred to Clean & Safe (Jan 30 - Feb 5)

Since February 21st the campsites on NW Flanders between NW 4th Avenue and  NW 3rd Avenue was “swept” once in fact shortly after I reported it - what was I am sure just a coincidence, although I emailed back and thanked you (February 24th). 

So, guess we are special here in Old Town. I feel so special. We are dependent upon the Clean and Safe Organization, a quasi police and clean up organization that saves the City tax dollars (as understand it the landowners pay them, which in this case involves an enclosed parking lot, The Royal Palm - both on Southside of block - and a surface
parking lot to the North that I believe PDC owns and leases out -a  99 year lease.  

I would suggest the Clean and Safe organization is NOT delivering what I would call a fair return on our tax dollars for us residents here at the corner of Flanders and NW 4th Avenue. Is it the same with police services as well around the drug hub on NW Flanders and NW 6th Avenue?

What exactly is the role of Clean and Safe in our neighborhood and to whom are they accountable? The street has not been cleaned up after the campers exit to my knowledge at all.  Are they are waiting for us residents to happily join in on the annual “clean up” sponsored by our business club, The Old Town Chinatown Community Association that is scheduled for April 22nd, EarthDay.  The Community Association and its business members, including the Chinese Garden, have been nearly as ineffective as I am at getting to this problem, which involves the  Royal Palm Hotel, a program for those homeless who are diagnosed with severe and persistant mental illness, and one of our supposed  “good neighbors,” 

Here is NW Flanders looking East from my apartment door on NW 4th Avenue as of yesterday and after countless, mindless documentation on this blogpost.

April 10, 2017, NW Flanders at NW 4th Avenue, Portland, Oregon

I think it has come time to look at this situation in more depth and to inform our neighbors what the future holds for us and how are we to hold Clean and Safe accountable for non-action and what is the idea of using residents to “clean up” neighborhood streets when they are in this shape and most of the clean up is in front of businesses, parking lots and abandoned/neglected properties?
I am posting this letter on our building’s facebook page as folks have started to post notices that read like this one posted in our laundry room:


Ruth Ann Barrett

Clean and Safe cleaning stats for February (latest posted)

February Cleaning Stats:

  • 2,888 graffiti tags removed
  • 3,969 bags of trash collected
  • 672 citizen cleaning responses
  • 4,434 items of drug paraphernalia removed
  • 511 restroom inspections and cleanings
  • 225 clean-up calls by special projects bicycle (all requests responded to in under 30 minutes)
  • 629 bags of leaves removed

Update April 19, 2017

Clean and clear as of April 17th but it will take some diligence on the  part of Clean and Safe with prodding from City Hall to keep it that way.

Photographed on April 19, 2017

In the process of looking more closely at the Royal Palm Hotel at the far corner in this picture, NW 3rd Street it is interesting to note the following details:

The owner is the 

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