Portlanders address city commissioners about safety concerns in downtown area

Portlanders address city commissioners about safety concerns in downtown area
Portlanders address city commissioners about safety concerns in downtown area(KPTV)
Published: Feb. 2, 2022 at 12:42 PM PST
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PORTLAND, Ore. (KPTV) - Commissioners heard from Portlanders who are fed up with crime in the city, saying their employees aren’t safe working in the downtown area.

The comments come just days after the Portland Business Alliance released the results of a new poll by Portland voters. Voters said the city is getting worse and going in the wrong direction.

The poll showed three main issues of concern: crime, safety and the homeless crisis.

On Wednesday, commissioners heard from employees who work for the federal government. One person who spoke works for the US Geological Survey, which is located at the south end of the Portland State University campus.

“We are forced to begin a move to a safer location outside of Portland,” said Dar Crammond.

Crammond said they occasionally dealt with the tragedy of houseless people before, and occasionally crime. But things have changed.

“In the last two years, those sad realities have grown into intolerable conditions. We’ve had two burglaries at our offices. We’ve had at least two sets of camps at our office and at our secure parking facility. When at last they were cleared out, dozens returned and resettled. Last year, propane heater explosion on our sidewalk, blew out windows in the office. A person was seen shooting into traffic on I-205. Drug dealing is rife, and we often have to step over discarded needles and people sleeping in our doorways to get to work,” Crammond told commissioners. “Our employees have had many dangerous and threatening encounters with unhinged residents of these camps. Trash and human waste are everywhere.”

As a result, Crammond said his employees are suffering from traumatic stress. To try to help, they’ve instituted a buddy system, conducted safety training, and spent $300,000 on security.

Certainly not the work technicians and scientists with the US Geological Survey signed up for, but Crammond said that’s the reality of the situation.

Portland City Commissioners listened and sympathized, and said they’d like to work with Crammond on the complex problems.

One other finding from the recent poll from the Portland Business Alliance, 81% of Portland voters said they did not trust elected leaders to effectively provide public services.