The city of Portland plans to increase police patrols and put up signs warning against camping in certain areas of downtown Portland to address business owners’ concerns about public safety due to homeless people in the area.
The plans were among ideas announced Tuesday during an invite-only meeting at Portland City Hall for downtown business representatives, according to Michael Cox, a spokesman for Portland Mayor Ted Wheeler. The meeting included Wheeler, Portland Police Chief Danielle Outlaw, Multnomah County Sheriff Mike Reese, Multnomah County District Attorney Rod Underhill, Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury and Marc Jolin, the director of the county’s joint office of homeless services.
The purpose of the meeting was to update the business community on homelessness downtown as well as public safety and livability issues, Cox said. The meeting had no notice for the general public and “was not intended to be a press event,” he said.
The plans include posting “no camping” signs in areas that have high pedestrian traffic, more police patrolling those areas and more outreach to business owners, Cox said. He did not immediately respond to additional questions about what specific areas would be targeted, how long the increased patrols would last or how many additional officers that would entail.
The meeting comes at the eve of the important holiday shopping season for downtown retailers. And it follows The Oregonian/OregonLive commentary by Tim Boyle, the chief executive officer of Columbia Sportswear, where he revealed his company is considering moving one of their brand headquarters that relocated last November to downtown Portland due to employee safety concerns.
Boyle wrote that employees have been threatened by homeless people camping in the company’s doorway, harassed, followed and had property stolen or destroyed.
— Everton Bailey Jr.
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