‘This is a self-rescue:’ Portlanders call for better leadership on crime, homelessness

Published: Jan. 19, 2023 at 6:44 PM PST
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PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - More Portlanders are speaking out over public safety and what they say is a poor response from local officials in confronting homelessness.

On Thursday, dozens of concerned business owners and citizens gathered in Southeast Portland at the store, Urbanite, to share their stories dealing with crime and vandalism in the city, and demanding more action from local leaders.

Signs saying ‘Help Don’t Enable,’ ‘Prosecute Criminals’ and ‘Do Better, Portland’ were front and center at the podium where business owners and residents shared story after story of being faced with crime and rampant drug use on city streets. Some business owners even said they are worried about the future of their businesses because of frequent vandalism and threats.

Thursday’s gathering was organized by Angela Todd who runs @PDX.Real, a social media account rallying thousands of Portlanders around public safety. She told the crowd now is the time to take action in order to improve livability in the Rose City.

“This is a self-rescue,” Todd told the crowd. “Unless you help us rescue you, and the rest of the community, nothing is going to change.”

SEE ALSO: Clark Co. man arrested for allegedly threatening to kill neighbors, police

Also speaking at Thursday’s event was Michael Albino, the owner of Legacy Modern Home Furnishings in Southeast Portland. Albino said he wanted to speak out to finally make his voice heard after dealing with rampant vandalism and  threats from people camping near his store.

After Thursday’s event, Albino recounted a close call he had with someone about a year ago who refused to move their campsite from outside legacy modern

“He threatened me and my employees with a knife and we had to lock the doors,” said Albino. “That’s one instance. In our previous location, someone smashed our side door with a hammer. I had to get that replaced and have an expense around that.”

Albino says, if city officials don’t bring the urgency needed to meet this moment of crisis in Portland, he is not sure how businesses like his will last.

“I’m a destination business, I’m not in a walking neighborhood,” he said. “I rely on people choosing to come here, and if I’m not getting the people choosing to come here then I can’t be in business.”

But city officials say they are hearing the concerns. Mayor Ted Wheeler’s office has recently been planning a ‘90-Day Reset’ in regards to public safety for the Central Eastside Industrial District where Albino’s business is. The mayor’s office says those plans will be unveiled next week