Our neighbors who live near the Peninsula Crossing trail (some housed some unhoused) have faced hardships those of us who do not live near cannot imagine. Last night there was an extremely dangerous fire. This is not the first fire and if action is not taken will not be the last. Below is an email sent by one of our neighbors, who lives adjacent to the PCT, to our elected officials. Countless of these have been sent and no support has been received. This does not mean we give up. I encourage all UP neighbors to copy the text and send it to officials, media, any connections you may have. We need support for all involved to make the situation better.
"Tonight there was another large fire on the Penninsula Crossing Trail(PCT) on Housing Bureau and Park/Metro land next to the Belmont Goats just east and north of Syracuse and Macrum. At least two more trees were torched. Commissioners - each of you has a bureau that is involved with this issue. For over five years, the University Park Neighborhood Association has requested (and offered to help) the City address this situation in a holistic and humane manner due to the many stakeholders, government agencies, utilities, railroad, ODOT, Metro and private landowners as well as social agencies and groups involved and of course the @ 100 individuals living and camping between Willamette to Lombard, plus an equal number north of Lombard. There are also over 1,000 housed residents adjacent to the PCT, many are BIPOC and low income who live, but can't recreate on the PCT. The PCT has been essentially closed to recreation and commuting for over three years due to needles, weapons houseless residents tents, and motorized vehicles. So far the City, County and Metro have done almost nothing in a systematic manner to help the houseless individuals living near the PCT. The City's only consistent and tangible response has been a single portable toilet north of Lombard. Recently a private mutual aid group placed two accessible toilets south of Lombard blocking the sidewalk while knocking on doors to raise funds because the City won't provide basic sanitation services. The public safety situation is deteriorating. Large fossil fueled vehicles, many stolen, drive at high speeds and sometimes without lights along the the trail as the barriers have been removed. Cars without catalytic converters or mufflers ferry drugs 24x7 on the PCT and Macrum. Guns and other weapons are brandished frequently to the nearby housed and unhoused residents and to customers and employees of businesses on Lombard. Fires in the middle of Macrum (PBoT) and alleys have damaged nearby houses, structures and vehicles. Chop shops and abandoned vehicles are located along the PCT and on City/Metro property. The vulnerable adult residents of the Minerva Apts, almost all served by Section 8 or other public assistance programs, have effectively been made prisoners in their units by the houseless living on City property and criminal activities. Please do not repeat the mistakes made with the Sweetwater Corridor. Enlist the neighbors, houseless, businesses and other groups as well as the government agencies and landowners. Innovation is needed. People's lives and dreams are at stake and so is the future of North Portland."
Commissioner Ryan Office <[email protected]>,
Carmen Rubio <[email protected]>,
Commissioner Mingus Mapps <[email protected]>,
Commissioner Hardesty <[email protected]>,
Mayor Wheeler <[email protected]>,
Commissioner Jayapal <[email protected]>
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