Portland mayor announces plan to revitalize Central Eastside

Published: Jan. 26, 2023 at 4:57 PM PST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

PORTLAND Ore. (KPTV) - In the latest 90-Day Reset plan coming from city officials, Portland’s mayor is now turning his attention to the Central Eastside.

On Thursday, Mayor Ted Wheeler unveiled a new plan for the Central Eastside Industrial District to confront crime, graffiti, trash and homelessness.

This plan comes after a similar campaign was launched by the city in Old Town in 2022.

At a news conference to share more details on the plan, Wheeler said the city is responding to the needs of dozens of business owners after meeting with them in November.

“Employers and their employees should not be afraid to come to work, and we heard that repeatedly during our listening session back in November,” said Wheeler. “Critical infrastructure that supports our local businesses must not be threatened by entrenched criminal activity, that is unacceptable.”

Some parts of Wheeler’s plan include renewed efforts to get rid of graffiti and trash, remove encampments, and help people experiencing homelessness in campsites that are shut down by the city and connect those people with services.

“Those contacted by outreach teams are offered an immediately available shelter bed, a ride to that shelter bed with their immediate belongings, and complimentary storage for additional belongings,” said Wheeler.

SEE ALSO: Former David Douglas High coach faces 17 charges for sex abuse of 2 minors

Other action includes increasing the Portland Police Bureau’s presence in this area and targeting known criminal activity in encampments.

The mayor and the business leaders at Thursday’s news conference said all of these problems have gotten worse in this area because of economic problems from the pandemic, social unrest in recent years, and high rates of fentanyl and meth use on the streets.

For Michael Albino who owns Legacy Modern Home Furnishings on SE 7th Avenue, the news of increased efforts from the city in his area is welcomed.

“I think it’s great as far as just seeing anything happening,” said Albino. “Action, right?”

Albino is especially happy the city is ramping up the cleanup of trash and graffiti, which he says has gotten out of hand. He feels the city taking ownership of these problems, and trying to do something about it is a sign of progress.

“If we can clean up the mess and open up the walkways and really just start holding ourselves accountable to the things that we want, then I’m happy with that.”

Mayor Wheeler also announced bold plans this past fall to ban sidewalk camping, and build several sanctioned campsites in the city where people living on the streets can go and be connected to services and live in what the mayor says is a safer, more hygienic environment. At Thursday’s news conference, the mayor told reporters his office will release more details about when those campsites will go online in the near future.