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City, State, PDX Pigs set typical example to PDX Children

As I write this, the Children's Garden on SW 13th and Alder, created by the children of a neighborhood church, is being chopped, burned, and cut to the ground by bureaucratic "progress." Across the street, the children who planted the garden will, no doubt, be in tears when they discover what has happened.
Like hundreds of other people, I walk past the Children's Garden nearly every day. It was one of those success stories. A place once blighted by neglect, now a beautiful garden full of healing herbs and flowers. Once, this corner was barren, eroded, and full of garbage. But the children from the Presbyterian church across the street reclaimed it for the community. They composted, enriched the soil, and planted it themselves, surprising everyone with a newfound eden in the midst of urban decay and dead plastic "gentrification."

This was one of those success stories you hear about; People coming together to create something beautiful for each other for no other reason than the goodness of their souls. This is what community building is all about. In a way, this kind of action threatens the capitalist model, because it enriches the spirit of the commmons. It shows that people are willing and able to give of themselves with no market motive. It was a heartfelt contribution to an underground gift economy that thrives even under the thumb of the invisible hand. I found this garden a joy and an inspiration every day.

Today, I was horrified to come upon it as workers in orange vests assaulted the nasturtiums, the rose campion, the marigolds and the asters. Their weapons were weed eaters, poison and ignorance. The devastation was everywhere. Green leaves and delicate branches lay dying where they had been torn from the ground. The smell of gasoline mingled with the scent of thyme, rosemary, and chlorophyl. The soft curves of drifts of flowers had been replaced by the flat, wasted finality of progress.

I still can't believe the horrific shortsightedness, the bureaucratic madness, that could have led to such a decision. I stopped to ask one of the workers, shouting above the roar of shredders and weed eaters, just what in the fucking hell was happening. He told me it wasn't his decision, but that the city and the department of transportation and the PDX police had decided to destroy the garden because homeless people had used the garden to camp. (Holy shit, let's exterminate any little eden where a homeless person might find refuge.) He gave me a business card of a man he said might be able to answer my questions. One Dan Goodrich of the Oregon Department of Transportation.

I called Mr. Goodrich immediately. First, I got a person named Matt Swann, who said he didn't know who had made the decision, didn't know when Mr. Goodrich would be back, and that he was "just the guy who answers the phones." Asked whether he could connect me with someone who knew something, he said he could not. I then called Mr. Goodrich's cell number (see below), and finally reached him. He told me that the garden was being sacrificed because the children of the church "didn't meet the permit requirement of the City of Portland." He reiterated that it wasn't his decision, that he was only following orders. Asked whose decision it was, he said he didn't really know. He said the City of Portland told his department to destroy the garden, and that "it had to do with Jeff Meyers of the Portland Police."

"Would that be the tall gentleman with the interesting hair?" I asked. He laughed, and said it was. So, the pretty officer Meyers does more than walk around talking into a tape recorder. He also participates in the destruction of community gardens. Asked why Officer Meyers would do such a thing, Mr. goodrich said it was because there had been "trespass problems." Trespass problems? In a public space? He said that the garden was a "park-like setting," and that because of that, the city was "having problems evicting people who were causing problems for people who walk on the sidewalks."

I told Mr. Goodrich, as I tell you right now, that I walk on these sidewalks every day and I have never, ever, ever had a single problem with anyone in the area of the garden. Never. Not until today, when I had a problem with people who were desecrating part of my community.

Mr. Goodrich repeatedly claimed that this was not his decision, that he only does what he's told, and that he was told to do this. I asked him again, who exactly made the decision? He gave me bureacracies -- it was the city, the state, and the police -- but would not give me any information about where, exactly, the buck stops. WHO made this decision? Who can I call? Who is accountable for this crime? The only name he gave was the lovely officer Meyers. When pressed, Mr. Goodrich finally said, "It was the kids across the street, and the church across the street." He said "the ball was in their court" and that, "They didn't want to be accountable for the liability this was causing. They were given the option to change the permit, but they didn't want to."

The kids across the street? They PLANTED the garden! How could it be their decision for these mesomorphs to tear it down? According to Mr. Goodrich, "It was their decision. They started it."

Despite this assurance, I decided to go elsewhere to seek the responsible party so that I could register my dissent. As he had named Officer Meyers, I called Central Precinct. The lovely Meyers was out, alas. He was unavailable to answer any questions. I tried a few times, and plan to try again later. You may want to call him as well. (Again, see below.)

Since the City had been named, I called the Mayor's office. Apparently they knew all about it, because the person who answered the phone seemed to know what I was talking about. Nevertheless, she said that the mayor had nothing to do with it, that this was an "inter-bureau agreement between the three parties" [ODOT, PDX Police, and City of Portland]. When I pointed out that the City of Portland is run by the mayor, the receptionist gave me a quick civics lesson in why this is "not handled at the level of the elected official." Something about their being 5000 employees and bla bla bla. Who, then, I asked, Made the fucking decision??? (I didn't say fucking, after all, this is just a receptionist trying to do her job. But I felt like saying it.)

She replied, "I don't know." She then offered to put me in touch with my elected representative, ("because, I don't know if you know how this city government works, but you have an elected representative in charge of all this") who is in charge of parks. Wait. Didn't she just say these things aren't handled at the level of the elected representative? Well, this was different. This person might have something to do with it, but "the mayor has no authority over him." Who might that be? None other than one Jim Francesconi. This, as you must have guessed, was a dead end. I called Mr. Francesconi's office and was told that he was "not in." The person who answered the phone said she didn't know anything about it, didn't know who would know anything about it, and couldn't help me. I asked when Mr. Francesconi might be in. She said, "Well, when he's in, he's usually in meetings. He has staff people who can handle these calls. Er, I mean, who can answer these kinds of questions." Isn't that interesting. Apparently, they can't actually answer these kinds of questions, but they do an admirable job of "handling these calls."

The point of all this is that no one is willing to be accountable for the crime taking place at 13th and Alder. It's too late for the plants that grew there until this morning. They've been carved out of the earth and trampled. But it's not too late to set a better example for the children of our community who gave us this gift than the City of Portland, ODOT, and the PDX Pigs have set. Please help me do something about this.

Here are some contact people whom you might call:

Dan Goodrich, ODOT landscape coordinator: Office: 503-353-9001, Cell:503-969-7526
Officer Jeff Meyers: Central Precinct, ask for Meyers: 503-823-0097
Mayor's Office (ask for Katz, just for fun. She won't talk to The People, but you can always try):503-823-4120

We might also consider some other kind of action. I'm too dazed by the whole event to think clearly right now, but I will be thinking about what we can do. If you get an idea before I do, please post it.
Refusal to take blame 08.Oct.2003 11:51

Scott

How fucking terrible! Is the city of portland as to not understand that the homeless exist because its own inability (or refusal) to help them?

AHHH, OFFICER MEYERS 08.Oct.2003 12:00

M. Mangold

As I am sitting at work reading the above article, extreme anger and saddness fills me. It's not something I am surpised by, though. the Portland Pigs--always try and hurt, beat down, and pepper spray the smallest, most non-threatening people at the protests. Hearing that they are now targeting childrens' gardens and then blamming the church for not getting a permit or whatever they require, just because "supposedly", a homeless person might sleep there now and then. We all know how dangerous homeless people are! How patheric! it once again just proves to me everything I've always believed about pigs--that they are the biggest cowards. Everytime I think a pig can't go any lower, they always do. I don't really have much to offer, I just wanted to let you know that I know our feathery-haired, tape recorder, walking around in circles pig all too well. Thanks so much for doing all that calling---thats so great!

Officer Meyers Speaks 08.Oct.2003 12:49

CatWoman

Officer Meyers accidentally answered his phone, thinking I was someone else. Lo, the buck stops with him.

"I am the person that had it done, yes." That's what he said. Why? Because it's part of a sweeping pilot program he personally designed to deforest many public areas to cut down on crime. He feels that homeless people are deficating and urinating around the city, causing "drug-related property crimes" and by God, he won't have it.

I just wrote a long comment about this, but was timed out -- PLEASE can we fix that? -- and the article was swallowed in the morass. I haven't the time, at this moment, to rewrite it all, so I will summarize until I do. Well, I'll write what I can, but it'll be a hatchet job. Bear with me.

Basically, he said he has been working to deforest areas of the city where homeless people might find refuge. This has "displaced" them, which is part of the plan -- people who don't conform will be warned, then arrested or "displaced." He said the children's garden is part of a long chain of greenspaces he has mowed down, and that with all the other greenery gone, "it would have displaced them to there." So, "proactively," [his word, not mine], he moved swiftly and ordered the garden destroyed.

Where will they go now, I asked? Now that they've been..."displaced." He said he believes he is forcing the homeless people to "become amenable to social services." They will all just show up smiling on the doorstep of area social service providers, who will show them the errors of their ways and help them start new lives as productive, or at least invisible, citizens.

Reminded that social services all over the state are in severe fiscal crisis and that there is no room at the inn, he said he is aware of that. But, believe it or not, he has a plan for that too. He will develop another pilot program to figure out a way to fund social services and get them what they need! Yes! You heard it here first! State legistlators couldn't do it. The governor couldn't do it. Taxpayers wouldn't do it. But he, Officer Jeff Meyers, He will solve the crisis. Wow! We need this guy in the Whitehouse!

But back to reality. I didn't tell Officer Meyers this, (tho he's no doubt reading it now), but I'm a social worker. And Officer Meyers, there is literally NO room at the inn. Why do you think people sleep in the streets? In gardens when they find them? Because there is NO WHERE ELSE FOR THEM TO GO. Displacement is not a solution. Destruction of the children's garden is surely no solution.

Mr. Meyers said we have a choice. Then he put the choice like this: "We can have a place that appears, from a distance, to be pretty, but that envelopes all kinds of evils. Or, we could have a place....I'm working with ODOT...there'll be vegetation there, and there'll be bark dust underneath."

I think the choice is clear.

At the end of the conversation, I told Mr. Meyers I think this is a decision that will come back to haunt him. he said, "Oh it won't come back to haunt me. I'm actually quite proud of it."

The gauntlet is down.

Outrageous 08.Oct.2003 12:55

Spook

I, personally, plan to do what I can to ensure that this does come back to haunt the responsible party. Officer Meyers, wipe off that ridiculous smirk and stop talking to yourself. When you mess with the children, you've gone way too far. Who do you think you are?

replant it 08.Oct.2003 12:57

seed

Well why don't folks just replant it?
If the church kids took responsibility by planting it the first time and don't want to deal with liability issues now (which i'm sure meyers must have scared them about) then the community should take over and make it a people's park. The bureacracy did nothing with this lot until it got beautified by children now they have destroyed it. Lets make this space a wonderful addition to the neighborhood and then fight like hell if need be to keep it that way.

Officer Myers: pig-fucking hillbilly troglodite 08.Oct.2003 13:24

Penwyn

"Oh it won't come back to haunt me. I'm actually quite proud of it."

If you were half the bright boy you think you are, you'd be able to see the gesture I am making in your direction, of which I am actually quite proud.

Boo hoo 08.Oct.2003 13:47

PDX

So a garden is lost? Boo hoo. When you don't own the land, this is what happens.

to Seed 08.Oct.2003 14:12

native

that's what i was thinking too. the only thing is, would we be putting our little plantlings in danger? it seems cruel to bring plants into the world if we know there's a dangerous megalomaniacal plant killing cop prowling around. maybe we need to deal with agent orange, i mean agent meyers, first. maybe we could see about sending him off the way of kroeker? i know, it sounds naive, but we could try.

Homeless man spotted in Meyer's yard 08.Oct.2003 14:15

officer clean and tidy

Calling all portland police and ODOT patrolmen! A reliable source reports that several homeless men were just spotted in Officer Meyer's front yard. I think there may be more in the back. Proactively, let's go deforest the area and make it safe for humanity.

one more thing 08.Oct.2003 14:27

saw the whole thing

Wasn't that Officer Marty Rowley (badge #8969) across the street from the garden, pepper spraying the children who planted it to keep them back as the garden was plowed under? Why, I think it was.

PROUD of it??? 08.Oct.2003 15:17

Lasso

A community garden, planted by CHILDREN, is destroyed on the orders of Officer Meyers, and he's PROUD of it? Since when did we, the people, give Officer Meyers the power to assault our community spaces, anyway? No one cleared this "pilot project" with US. If anyone had asked, I would have informed them that I, too, walk past the garden all the time. I stop to look at the calendula, I wander the paths when I have time. Yes, I've seen homeless people there, but they're my neighbors too. I have never once felt threatened by them, nor have I EVER considered that their presence was a nuisance. If I had, the last thing I would have suggested would be for Meyers to deal with this problem in the way he has. What gave him the right?

It's time to pull the plug on this pilot project. I had no idea this was going on! Is any place safe? This was once a liveable city. Where did this Meyers person come from, that he could misinterpret the spirit of this community as he has done? So we pay police officers, what, to kill unarmed women, to shoot people down in mental hospitals, to pepper spray babies, and to mow down community gardens? I think their plates are too full. I'm for removing at least ONE of these responsibilities.

I can't BELIEVE this. What next? What fucking NEXT?

Mayor's email 08.Oct.2003 15:21

address

Mayor Katz can also be reached at:  mayorkatz@ci.portland.or.us. Just in case anyone is interested.

Ahh Officer Rowley 08.Oct.2003 16:26

Compostive thinker

I I know officer Rowley well. He steal property from poor people and, hiding behind his badge, claims it was abandoned property. He's a good old Irish cop is Rowley. Take graft from smarmy Wells Fargo executives and get a free backpack in the process (Good old Tammany Hall, give the bums' rush police work.) Rowley must be proud of his long family tradition of police work. I

It's simple really, you beat the working class over the head and intimidate them to keep them in their place, if you terrorize them by making an example of the homeless, you make them work harder for the managers, and the managers can suck more out of them. Very brave work officer Rowley, Officer Meyers. Nobly done. Chief Kroeker will no doubt give you a commendation. (Oh that's right, I forgot...)

We should be sorry for them really. They don't have a free hand anymore. They can't pepper spray with impunity. They can't be as freely aggressive as they used to. They actually have to answer for their actions. They must really miss the good old days.

We should let them tear up the gardens. It will allow them to vent their infantile aggressions on plants rather than human beings. Really, it's for the best.

(I keep on promising myself to stop being sarcastic, but sometimes it's just too hard.

pissed 08.Oct.2003 16:27

pink

I loved that space. It brightened my day, The officer who destroyed these children's beautiful offering to the community will have it come back to haunt him. And to have the audacity to blame the destruction on the church and children for not having a permit. A permit to beautify and better an unused space within OUR community. Please, anyone who was a witness start calling the media. Does anyone have before, during and after photos?

What next, the PoPo firebombing churches, synagogues, and other places of spiritual gathering? Because they occaisionally have homeless people there too.

The PoPo seem to want a riot here in PDX. They sure are working hard to ensure it.

another form of eco-terror? 08.Oct.2003 16:31

Dave

I remember back when Reagan was president and he made an idiotic statement about trees actually contributing to pollution. Pretty typical of a man who gained his world view through Reader's Digest.

Now we have a cop that thinks plants cause crime. I guess if trees can pollute than plants can cause crime. At least when Reagan made an idiot out of himself it was humorous. This is truly depressing. My sympathies to those who labored to plant the garden.

Meyers was to blame, Rowley wasn't (this time) 08.Oct.2003 16:46

saw the whole thing

I want to make it clear that Officer Rowley wasn't actually there. My comment above was simply sarcasm, as I'm sure he would have been there if he had known Meyers was out taking flowers from babes. But c'mon. This is beneath even Rowley. Who would have thought the lovely officer Meyers could actually outdo Rowley?

(For the record, I'm Irish.)

As for calling the media (someone above mentioned we should all do that), I just want to add that you're reading the story here, on the only real media there is. I support the spirit with which that comment was made, but I take every opportunity I can to remind people the corporate media lies and isn't worth talking to.

I think some sort of action is definitely called for, but I can't imagine what. The lovely officer is far removed from the garden, I doubt he's ever even been there to experience this gift. So an action at the former garden would be painful and ineffective, at least that's what I think. But definitely, we must do something.

fuck boo hoo hoo 08.Oct.2003 18:06

up urse

So, Boo Hoo. I guess that is the excuse Columbus gave to the Native Americans he found first occupying the south seas islands? "If you don't own it, blah blah?" As a property "owner," I can tell you that no one ever really owns property, as long as they are willing to let the pigs take it whenever they want. Wake up, you fucker!

deforesting 08.Oct.2003 18:06

blah

I fully support anyone who decides to deforest/defauna Officer Meyer's yard. That would be awesome. I'm sorry, I take that back. Destroying the plants that live near this wretched soul would be saddening... instead, we should take it upon ourselves to preform a citizen's arrest of this dangerous man, and tell him if he does not stop his "pilot project" we will go to his house and "displace" him to a desert, where there will be no plants to cause crime.

Who owns the lot? 08.Oct.2003 18:57

mer

If anybody's interested you can do a deed search down at city hall and find out who owns the lot. Maybe it's time for them to step forward or put the lot on public auction so that somebody can own it, beautify it, and take responsibility for the land.

ODOT owns it 08.Oct.2003 19:22

following this story

The property where the children's garden was is owned by ODOT. In other words, it's ours. Public funds pay for this land. Now, we must make it clear that we choose gardens over officer Meyers' stark illusion of safety. ODOT, the city, and the portland police have been bringing us the "sweeps" for some time now. They actually put locks and fences up under bridges to keep homeless people out.

This is really disgusting. Really. I mean, the whole thing. In regard to the "problem" of homeless people, they have grossly misinterpreted it. The problem is not the people who are homeless, but the societal conditions leading to homelessness. Displacing homeless people from one place to another, cutting off access to public land that wasn't being used for anything else, this is pathetic. A symptom of a sickness in our souls.

And the fact that ODOT, the city, and officer Meyers targeted a children's garden, of all places, to carry out their misguided plot against the homeless is completely outrageous. Haunt you it will, Meyers.

Meyers should pay 08.Oct.2003 19:36

catbird

Meyers should be "encouraged" to replant that garden at his own expense. What a shithead. I hope he has an especially "haunting" Halloween this year. Anyone know where he lives so we can TP his house?

not quite buying it 08.Oct.2003 19:50

noyb

Officer Meyers is just a bit too pretty to be the one who thought this little scheme up.

My guess - Francesconi lives nearby, saw a homeless person standing near the garden when he was driving by, and called in a favor.

speaking of Myers' little acre: 08.Oct.2003 20:12

Por Kei

Hey, I think Myers new garden will need a lot of fertilizer over the next few weeks. Anybody got a line on a good pig farm? If goldilocks thinks homeless feces was a problem there, let's see what he thinks of his relatives' shit.

Pig shit for the pig, I love it! 08.Oct.2003 20:56

A mom

That's a great idea! Multiple individuals with gallon size baggies going for a walk, hmm... Sounds like time for an AnyWho.com search...

By the way, Rowley being Irish has nothing to do with anything and the mentioning of that just sounds like you're implying something about Irish people.

On a side note, could people not call police vans "Paddy wagons"? This is very offensive and would be the equivalant of calling it a "nigger wagon", you wouldn't call it that! Would you?

Thanks to me... 08.Oct.2003 22:05

Oscar Meyer's Dick

...the world just became a little bit safer. I'm soooo proud of myself. As I always say, pepper-spray 'em and generally fuck with 'em before they're twelve, and you're more likely to have decent law-abiding citizens when they grow up.
Hi Mom. Guess what I did today!
Hi Mom. Guess what I did today!

Pucker Up Meyers 08.Oct.2003 22:21

pix

Yep, our same officer Meyers that could be seen sucking secret servix ass during the bushe handouts. me thinks this type of outrageous activity smacks of sucking up to the new chief of po-leece. Sounds like some po-leece have been "tasked" with finding ways to improve the city, and this was the best mr. meyers could come up with - in his own head (displace the homeless, then, create and take credit for a progressive new system for solving the homeless problem)....hmmmm...somewhat delusional.

Actually, it's a little like the Iraq thing...destroy then rebuild (in your own image of course).

I think the children and church signing a petition which then goes to all involved parties, and media. makes a great headline....."misguided officer destroys youth nurtured garden."

Act Now--PPD Delusional and Fucked Up Beyond Belief 08.Oct.2003 22:30

Say it ain't so

Poor oficer Meyers is clearly delusional and in need of some serious councelling. But then,social services just aren't what they used to be, so I'm afraid he'll have to go begging. And so the circle is completed...

The PPD as a whole needs to spend some serious time in reeducation camp. They've been allowed to behave irrationally and in opposition to this community's desires ,as loose cannons, for long enough. This needs to go much higher than poor delusional Officer Meyers. I suggest letters, email, etc. to Chief Foxworth and her honor Ms. Katz, who is in charge of the whole bloody bunch of 'em. The pressure needs to be constant and relentless. This is only the latest in a long string of atrocities the PPD has committed in this City.

Officer Rowley's name mentioned? 08.Oct.2003 22:38

'av 'nother pint mate?

Rowley's an ex-drunk, that's where his anger comes from. Read it in the police union newsletter, I did. Gave his pager number, too, so he could help talk you out of hittin' the sauce if you were a cop craving a little nip, it did.

Why am I not surprised? Fucking arrogant neanderthals...too bad they don't even have clue one...robotic tools of the fucking business class, afraid of anyone who dissents or is different in any way from their masters...yet slaves themselves...

Similar to PPD Action on Zoobomb Bikes 08.Oct.2003 22:42

burr

This is the same sort of action against nonconformity that led to the POPO confiscating the Zoobomb bikes last month. It won't end until the people insist that it end, and take action to ensure it ends!!! Portland Tea Party, anyone???

has the point been missed? 08.Oct.2003 23:00

mom

The devestation of a garden is always sad --- the reasons behind this one call for more than lament. The pilot plans (there seem to be several at this time) to permanently remove the homeless men and women who have no where to go in this city is horrifying. Yes, they are being chased out like so many unwanted dogs or cats. Take away their places to sleep and ticket them if they lie down on "public" land, deforest the land if they --- God forbid!!!__ need to pee and don't want to do so in front of the world, and give them tickets or take them to jail if they have the unacceptable reaction of anger....
Has anyone watched the sweeps of homeless peole in southeast? is anyone aware of the take down of several camp sites or the requirement that businesses post no trespassing signs even if they have agreed to allow homeless people to sit, lie or sleep on their private property?"
there is something horrible going on in portland and the take down of a garden is only a teeny bit bothersome in relation to the motivations and pilot projects behind it.

When you don't own the land... 08.Oct.2003 23:21

LeftFielder leftfield@post.com

"When you don't own the land, this is what happens."

More properly: when we lack control over the decisions that affect us, it is undemocratic. If a government destroys a public good without our consent, it is not democratic.

Of course, when a private firm like PGE loots the people of Oregon millions a year, that is also undemocratic. It is not private property which solves social problems; popular power, yes. Want to stop this from happening? Create more public power -- social movements which are large, popular, and capable of disrupting business as usual.

If your movement lacks any of the above ingredients (size, popularity, disruptability) then you will not win.

In solidarity....

yes, a photo of the place (pre-desecration) 09.Oct.2003 00:13

maybe somebody from the church

can provide one. When all seems grim, at least Schvartzeneger ain't out gov!

Indymedia's Most Wanted 09.Oct.2003 00:28

asodeon

Portland Indymedia needs a "Top Ten Most Wanted" and I am sure Meyers would be near the top if so. A picture could be posted and crimes below, for example destroying gardens and pepperspraying kids would be listed for Meyers among other things. This would also help protesters be fimilar during an action with the most fucked officers. Hey they have files on us why not we make examples of them.
Just a thought.

Before/After 09.Oct.2003 01:19

Bee

I remembered the garden, took notice of it whenever I walked by it, and live nearby, so earlier tonight I went out to see the damage. Now its just two big piles of dirt. SHIT.

Suggestion 09.Oct.2003 08:07

PDXCitizen

Hey Officer Meyers,

Um, how about putting a few port-o-potties up around the city? Or go the whole way, and actually have some public bathrooms built. We all have to heed nature's call, even you. The fact that you have your own neat, tidy little bathroom to attend this need in has jaded you to the needs of homeless people.

I have found Portland extremely lacking in this regard myself, and I live and work downtown. When I'm out walking, it's very hard to find a place to go.... My point is, I'm sure there are easier, more creative, and far less offensive ways to address homeless people deficating and urinating than plowing up gardens.

Outrage 09.Oct.2003 08:17

Gardener

Officer Meyers could have saved so much heartache if he had, at the very least, let the community know about his awful plans. At least we could have gone in and rescued the plants. We would have been free labor (wonder how much they paid all those workers with weed eaters to do their deed!), and the plants would have been spared.

Officer Meyers' callous approach to living beings is absolutely frightening in anyone, most especially an armed police officer. I would have been happy to adopt some of the lovely plants that the children so tenderly gave to the city. Officer Meyers is a thief, a murderer, and an ass. This deed will not go unpunished.

pee-in 09.Oct.2003 08:32

guy

The PPD doesn't like homeless peeing in the parks. Now that they apparently have this crazy-pilot project to of all things keep the homeless from using bushes as facilities, it leaves us with only one choice for where to do our "business": right in front of the Pdx. Police Station, or City Hall.

go pee! 09.Oct.2003 09:26

drippy

A pee-in sounds great! Women: wear a skirt for an easier getaway! That's a little trick I learned working for OSPIRG. Sit on the curb, no one will know what you are doing until you're done.

Disgusting 09.Oct.2003 10:25

Varro

But typical of Vera's Portland - destroy any effort by the citizens to make the city a better place to live.

Remove community gardens and replace them with garbage and crack-pipe-strewn vacant lots.

Remove local small businesses and turn the land over to chains and Vera's developer buddies.

Remove homeless people, punks, and lefties and replace them with Bobos who will shop, shop, shop.

Push the poor and minorities east past 82nd, north into Washington, and south into Tigard.

Mayioral Wannabe 09.Oct.2003 15:05

Listener at the Gate

Pressure Francesconi, he needs the support of the voters if he wants to be Mayor of PDX
turn the screws until he screams or runs.

Property owner 09.Oct.2003 19:56

Jack

If you are so worried about a fucking garden, then buy your own property and build one. It seems to me that the city of Portland owns that property and is free to do what ever they want with it.

Reclaim the Commons 09.Oct.2003 22:07

A. Citizen

Fuck Francesconi, he won't do anything for us, he's just going to be another scumbag pol that's beholden to the special interests that fund his campaogn. And whatever happened to the commons, instead of private property? We need to reclaim these unused PUBLIC spaces again and again, in our name...

PS--If that property belonged to ODOT, then it truly belonged to all of Oregon's Citizens...

how easy it is 10.Oct.2003 00:25

citizen

It is so easy to slip into acceptance of totalitarianism. What happened to governments requiring the consent of the governed? When they move beyond the goal of the common good for the citiziens, isn't it time for a new government? I would sugges that it is.

Governments are instituted among Men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed, --That whenever any Form of Government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the Right of the People to alter or to abolish it...
- The Declaration of Independence of the Thirteen Colonies

If you want a garden... 10.Oct.2003 09:09

skeptic

If you want a garden, then buy your own land and plant one.

But this is ridiculous. I have yet to hear from a member of the chuch group involved. All I see here is a bunch of police-haters trying to stir up resentment by exploiting this issue, and you aren't even a part of it.

When it's your garden on your land, then you'll have a gripe. But when it's someone else's garden on yet another parties' land--in this case, the government's land--well you've got nothing to cry about.

And yes, land owned by the government belongs to the people. ALL of the people. That means those of us who support our police and elected officials too. If you want a say in things, vote or get jobs and buy property/pay taxes. But quit whining from the cheap seats...you don't even have a seat at this table.

to skeptic 10.Oct.2003 10:05

skeptical of you

Officer Skeptic, I feel so sorry for you. Indeed, I weep for you.

But to answer your vitriolic question, this IS our property. It is public property, belonging to the people of this city and this state. It is NOT officer Meyers' property, nor is it "private" property. Go forth and learn, and then return with more intelligent debate.

Oh, and the table you've bought a seat to? It's on fire.

ignore Officer Skeptic 10.Oct.2003 10:52

highIQ

Pleeze! Back off on poor ol' Officer Skeptic. He was one of those "Lefties" recruited by the Kroeker regime. You know...
...those have IQ's to the left of the normal bell curse distribution of the mean (aka: the double digit boys). Thus, he just
can't help it if he isn't able to successfully debate an issue. It's all in the numbers. Depending on how low, some of
'em do well to remember their names, let alone being able to debate successfully. The best way to deal with Officer
Skeptic and his ilk, is to simply ignore 'em...scroll on past their little meaningless postings and get on to substance!

From a member of the church 10.Oct.2003 14:36

Eric Schrepel eschrepel_at_earthlink.net

I won't dignify Skeptic's trolling remarks with a direct response, but will explain what a loss this is.

I attended First Presbyterian Church for several years, during which time the idea for the garden and its implementation took root. The concept (lost on Officer Meyers) was that a space filled with flowers and beauty was safer than dirt and trash (as supported in studies of crime rates and community gardens in NY and elsewhere). It made the walk across the 405 bridge feel safer and more welcoming to reach the other side full of flowers. It gave a lift both to the church body and to the greater community. It was in line with the church's general urban mission of making downtown safe for everyone (residents, church members, the disenfranchised).

Another of the garden's effects was in bringing people together, where older experienced gardeners taught us young folk (30s) and children a lot about transforming nothingness into beauty. Every year there were small festivals to celebrate the re-planting of the garden. In the midst of several blocks of concrete, freeways and buildings, there stood this glen of color and peace.

The fact that homeless may have enjoyed it during "off hours" is completely inconsequential. Perhaps they felt safer there than in less hospitable public spaces. If they occasionally used it for a bathroom, they seemed to do so discretely and with respect for the space, as there weren't concerns about it within the church. Certainly, church members never felt that the garden was attracting the wrong crowd--quite the opposite.

So I've left my messages with Officer Meyers and ODOT, I'll call the church to find out why there wasn't a stronger fight to stop the destruction, and maybe a letter to the editor to highlight how our "culture of fear" drives the sense out of decision-making. In the meantime, a thing of beauty is uprooted to discourage a few homeless. As in Iraq, it's easier to destroy than create.

Thank you, Eric 10.Oct.2003 17:16

Gardener

You put this so well. I hope you don't mind, but I lan to re-post your response to another article higher on the page dealing with the same topic. Thanks for responding, and for doing what you can.

Property Owner 10.Oct.2003 19:07

Get back Jack

Hey jack(off)
did it ever occur to you in a more lucid moment, that WE are the City of Portland, and therefore, that WE own the property? Of course, not exactly-it is ODOT who now claims ownership, even though a Portland City Thug (Officer Pretty Myers) ordered the destruction of the garden which was created by the real owners, the people, in lieu of any proper stewardship by our designees, the Department of Transportation. Get a fucking clue you jackass.

Take Action? 10.Oct.2003 21:48

Ira

Sounds like something worth acting on. Possible things to do:

1) talk to the people at the church who actually care about the damn garden and see how they feel and what they are doing to hold the police accountable.

2) Hook up with the folks in Portland's police accountability movement: pdxcopwatch, rose city copwatch, and portland copwatch. Alliance for Police and Community Accountability.

 http://www.portlandcopwatch.org/
 http://www.pdxcopwatch.org/
 http://www.rosecitycopwatch.org/
 http://www.sistersoftheroadcafe.org/crossroads/LateNews.htm#091503-AMA

3) Talk to progressive and other media-- KBOO and especially the Portland Alliance might be interested in this story. www.theportlandalliance.org; www.kboo.fm.

Phil Busse is on the case... 11.Oct.2003 11:13

Varro

I emailed him the link to this story and he's started his own story for the Mercury.

Rest assured, even the "corporate media" is interested in this example of out-of-control Katzism.

Not surprised 11.Oct.2003 16:26

Ms. Oop

I am not surprised that the streets/roads people (bureaucracy) was in volved. Unlike the folks at the Parks Department, they will be the folks you see spraying herbicide by the roads, even on windy days. Also, unlike the folks at the Parks Department, you will get about as far trying to talk to them as you do trying to talk to Katz without money/PBA/elite credentials.

KBOO will cover this story 12.Oct.2003 06:35

Andy Seaton general@kboo.org

I report for the KBOO Evening News. I just found out about this story and I will be doing a piece on this for Monday's newscast. I'd like to talk to someone at the church about this, along with the perpetrators listed in the story and comments. This is a travesty.

503-231-8023 x203

Warning 12.Oct.2003 14:56

All of us

Big Brother is watching........ Little sister is watching back