In the shadows of Portland, Oregon’s vibrant streets and condo construction boom, mylar-wrapped men sleep in doorways, throngs of youths — baggy, pierced, tattooed, defiant — lord over park benches, sellers of pot, meth and heroin scan the faces of passers-by for potential customers, and panhandlers beg the change from your pocket, says the Oregonian. Mayor Tom Potter is trying to address the problems. “This is all about the fear and the perception of crime,” said police commander Dave Benson. Lawbreaking has gone down citywide and the scariest attacks — killings, robberies, rapes and shootings — have ebbed.
Potter has started a mid-evening curfew, promised stricter enforcement of rules against behavior that restricts quality of life, and increased officers downtown. For many shopkeepers and visitors, the move couldn’t come soon enough. Public drinking and urination are common. A fatal downtown shooting last Christmas put a damper on last-minute holiday shopping. Six shootings this summer, two of them deadly, have elevated fears.