Bayside at rock bottom: Portland neighborhood is under siege

May 10th, 2018 by admin Leave a reply »

Rough-looking crowds gather on street corners. Alcoholics drink openly on public sidewalks and addicts slide needles into their arms and legs. Others in drug-induced stupors slump over in doorways and entryways. Some slip into alleyways and private driveways to relieve themselves or engage in sexual acts. And tempers flare, leading to arguments and fights on city streets.

It’s springtime in Portland’s Bayside neighborhood. As the leaves and grass begin to grow, so too will the throngs of desperate, vulnerable people drawn to this area just two blocks from City Hall by the city’s overnight shelter on Oxford Street and an array of services just two blocks away at Preble Street.

After decades of coexisting with this population and the service providers who try to help them, many Bayside residents say they’ve had enough. They’re pressuring the city to do something, and they’re raising questions about the activities and impact of Preble Street, which serves about 400 people a day at its resource center.

In response to that pressure and mounting interest from real estate developers seeking to invest in the neighborhood, the city is planning to revamp and relocate its homeless shelter from Oxford Street to another part of Portland – an effort that could take years to come to fruition, if it does at all.

And Preble Street, one of the city’s most venerable and influential social services agencies, stands at a crossroads. It faces decisions about whether to follow the shelter and whether to

Article source: