Neighborhood ninnies, city betray east Portland taxpayers

To the Editor:

I read your little newspaper all the time; I love it. Regarding your story about rebranding the Gateway area [“Gateway District delays rebranding in favor of wayfinding, receives four new city grants,” MCM December 2017), I ask, rebranding for what? So I can ride the MAX, get off by the [Oregon] Clinic and walk three blocks to get another bus? Is that what they’re planning on doing there? It’s ugly.

We’re being led down the path by a bunch of neighborhood ninnies out here: bike paths and wayfinding, and berms, and on and on.

Gateway beautification and storefront improvement?

I’ve looked at all those businesses on Halsey off 102nd [Avenue]. And for the last 22 years, as I drive up and down that street every single day, nothing’s really changed. They haven’t done anything with the money they were given from this concern to improve it.

This is an absolute joke along with that park they’re building [Gateway Discovery Park at Northeast 106th Avenue and Halsey Street] that every bum, indigent, drug dealer and beer drinker are going to be hanging in. It’ll be lovely.

Let me tell you what Gateway meant to me when I went to David Douglas High School before college. Gateway used to be a bedroom community—a safe zone from the “evils” of downtown Portland. Once I was out here, I had clean air and good neighborhoods. I live in a nice little neighborhood by Glendoveer [Golf Course].

It’s a great place to live, but they’re ruining it as we speak with all this rebranding, fancy benches and expensive garbage cans. Nobody cares!

And the bike path [lane]. We need the new bike path [on Halsey Street] out there like we need a hole in the head. How many bikers do you see running around out there besides the guys picking up cans and drug runners? Do you see the normal people biking? It’s never going to happen … never.

In addition, do you have any insight on what they’re going to do with the abomination on 102nd and Weidler? You know, the “lovely” garden they put up a few years ago that looks like somebody demolished a building and weeds are growing through it. [the roundabout at Northeast 102nd Avenue and Weidler Street formerly known as Windscape that was deconstructed in 2014 “Vandalism blows Windscape away,” MCM November 2014]

What an eyesore. Boy, isn’t that something to be proud of in this area? What is happening there?

How can we change this? These guys are hell-bent on doing all this goody stuff for us.

I, as an intelligent being with a college education, look at it and say, “What on earth are these people doing?” This is crazy. I don’t understand it. Maybe I should be more patient.

Craig Brustad

Hazelwood resident

Bicycles on sidewalks not illegal

To the Editor:

Unless things have changed in the last couple years, riding a bike on the sidewalk isn’t in and of itself a citable offense, except for downtown (“Construction in couplet commences in 2018” MCM December 2017). It is illegal to ride on the sidewalk “at a speed greater than an ordinary walk when approaching or entering a crosswalk, approaching or crossing a driveway or crossing a curb cut or pedestrian ramp and a motor vehicle is approaching the crosswalk, driveway, curb cut or pedestrian ramp.”

More info can be found here: and

It can be nerve-wracking to ride next to heavy traffic, like the traffic on Halsey/Weidler, even when there’s a bicycle lane. Hopefully the protected bike lanes will change that.

Klint Finley

Parkrose Heights 

Stop wasting money remaking Halsey/Weidler couplet what it isn’t

To the Editor:

[Fixing up the Halsey/Weidler couplet is] a complete and utter waste of money, time, resources and effort (“Construction in couplet commences in 2018” MCM December 2017). This area is called “Gateway” for a reason. It’s the place where drivers get off the freeway and use the surface streets to commute home on the east side of Portland. It has never been, nor will it ever be, a pedestrian-friendly area, and it was designed that way. We do not want to be another 23rd Avenue, or Hawthorne [Boulevard] or any other gentrified idea downtown Portland has. We get places by car, we shop by car, we eat out by car and we go to entertainment by car. Gateway will never support local businesses that cannot be accessed easily by car. Save your tax dollars for better roads with fewer potholes and increased police.

Paul Dekay 


Advocates, nonprofits and elected officials ignore effect homeless have

To the Editor:

The advocates and our elected officials in Portland continue to do the town a great disservice by putting forward disingenuous arguments—and not just about Wapato.

They appear to be unwilling to do anything to address the crime and other livability issues that accompany large populations of homeless people. They act like the homeless population is comprised solely of people priced out of the housing market and lump the criminals, addicts and mentally ill with people who are down on their luck, which keeps us from developing any viable solutions and helping anyone. Part of the solution to the homeless crisis is to get the criminals off the streets. If the criminals are removed from the homeless community, it would be easier to address the housing needs of the remaining homeless population.

And the homeless advocates—instead of hosting fancy fundraisers every month, like the events I get invited to held by Human Solutions—should be held more accountable.

Every neighborhood should have community representatives from homeless outreach groups that we can call to address camping/livability issues directly with the homeless individuals to get them into housing and whatever other services they need to get them off the street, which leaves the police free to focus on the small percentage of people who create most of the problems.

It’s not enough to just dump some facility in our neighborhoods, declare they’ve added some bed space or some services, have a groundbreaking ceremony to pat themselves on the back and then never check in to see how well their facility is working to address the problem. Since the Hansen Shelter opened, have [Multnomah County Commission Chair Deborah] Kafoury or any of her minions bothered to come back and meet with the neighborhood to see how things are working out?

Has [Senior Director of Programs at Transition Projects, who runs the Hansen Homeless Shelter,] Stacy Borke fulfilled her promise to be readily accessible to the community and address problems? The answer to both questions is “No.”

And since that’s working out so well, officials decided to house another 175 homeless folks right across the street from the Hansen Shelter in the new Blackburn building (“Central City Concern breaks ground on Blackburn Building” MCM December 2017).

During the groundbreaking ceremony for the Blackburn building, no fewer than 12 people got up to congratulate each other on how they’re solving homelessness and addiction while three bicycle drug couriers circled the block. The Blackburn building will have outpatient addiction services, leaving people trying to clean up to head back out on the streets and be tempted to resume bad habits as soon as they leave their day treatment. Even the homeless speaker they brought in acknowledged he used to buy drugs on that corner all the time. I’m sure it’s going to work out great, having an outpatient treatment facility in the middle of drug central.

What about for the people trying to get sober and the folks who must use that MAX stop to get to work every day? Because of course, there was no mention of increased police patrols or how they will address issues that are certain to arise when you have more than 375 homeless folks in one block.

Why use Wapato, when they can just put it all out here—one facility at a time, with no accountability to the people who live here?

Ann McMullen

Hazelwood resident

Church closing poignant and lovely 

To the Editor:

A beautiful and bittersweet story (“St. Matthew’s Episcopal Church goes out in elegant style” MCM December 2017). Thank you for sharing.

Eric Bonetti

Fairfax, Virginia

Stark Street Apartments leased to working families, individuals

To the Editor:

Thank you for covering the groundbreaking of the Blackburn Building (“Central City Concern breaks ground on Blackburn Building” MCM December 2017). Central City Concern looks forward to expanding its services in the Mid-county area. One small correction: Stark Street Apartments will be leased to working individuals and families, not to people who are medically fragile. The Blackburn Building apartments WILL serve people who are medically fragile, as well as people with transitional and permanent housing needs.

Kathy Pape

Central City Concern   n