There was a recent “I Anonymous” in the Portland Mercury, in which a long-time resident was lamenting the (paraphrasing here:) influx of Lululemon-clad, stroller-pushing residents who have slowly nudged out the day drunks and meth-heads that once were more abundant in the neighborhood.
I laughed. I even empathized. And I, too, may have quietly cursed the new wave of residents that are making the neighborhood slightly less edgy. But I also wondered where this person lived, because the tweakers…they’re still here. The scrappers…them, too. And on my street, stretching between Powell and Foster, we have both. And more than one of each.
Sure, this neighborhood is a drastically different place than it was 10 or 15 years ago. But it also hasn’t shed all of its seedier elements (some of which I hope never get shed). And some of those elements—drug houses, people shooting up in the alleyway, the bike-trailer patrollers looking for anything in your yard that can be redeemed at the scrap yard or on the bike black market—still make neighbors uneasy. And if you live in close proximity to one of these hotspots, chances are you may feel unsafe, too.
It is this unease and concern for safety that has prompted an online discussion on Nextdoor.com (registration required; free to signup). The discussion has revolved mostly around a few known drug houses that have recently seen an uptick in police calls, medical emergencies, and property crimes in the vicinity (car prowls, stolen bikes, etc).
After reading through the discussion thread, it became obvious folks are feeling hamstrung. So we thought we’d pose the issue to you, the readers…
Is this something that affects you? Have you experienced the late-night screaming episodes in the middle of the street, stolen property, or random people coming and going next door to get their fix? Does it even bother you? Is it merely part of living in an urban environment, and should we just tolerate it before we’re all priced out and miss the good old days?
We want to hear your thoughts.