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homelessness | human & civil rights

Homeless barrier constructed under highway

A fence went up on Friday 2/20 under the overpass at 16th and Johnson. It serves no purpose except to block off part of the sidewalk where some people take shelter from the rain
My questions are:

Who ordered this fence?

How much did it cost?

Are taxpayers paying for it?

Why there?

I understand that the city officials and the police want to eliminate homelessness by eliminating the homeless. But come on building a fenced off area next to a fence under a bridge. That is complete bullshit. Someone from Street Roots might want to check out this ridiculous waste of what I suspect is taxpayer money.
actually 23.Feb.2004 09:54


Is it possible whoever put it up was really just trying to help out those who want shelter from the rain? I think so. I think they meant to create a nice little walled in area (if it is chain link fence some tarps could be connected to it to further protect people from the rain) for those seeking shelter. They probably just forgot to add the doorway into the area, so I'm quite sure they will be more than happy for someone to come along with some fence cutters and add the little doorway that the fencebuilders forgot. While this is a great chance for people to get publicity for their kind deeds of door-making, I suggest people be humble and not try to "get in the spotlight" during this soon to occur act of creation.

I think this is something done by that 23.Feb.2004 11:21

Blondy Locks Cop

what's his name? Meyers or Meyerson? Some asshole that's been talked about by lot's of people
that live in the Goose Hollow area that think he's a jerk! I've read about him here before. It
sounds like something he'd do. He is, as I've been told, a hyperaggressive sort that wants to
work his way up the ladder ASAP to be chief of the bureau. At least that's what some of his
fellow BlueBoys tell>>>>behind his back, of course! Other than him, I got no idea who else?

jeff meyers? 23.Feb.2004 13:16


do you mean jeff meyers? he plowed the community garden in S.W. because he said that homeless people slept there. also, he proposed to a west hills neighborhood assoc., a plan to close the washington park MAX stop at 10pm to stop people from sleeping up there (and also to "stop" zoobomb).

ah yes, beautiful officer meyers 23.Feb.2004 16:27


He really stands out in a crowd, and does his job well. That is not meant to be a compliment.

Jeff Meyers is a Fed. 23.Feb.2004 16:45


Meyers was brought here from Tucson Az. Where he worked with the Feds on Homicide and armed bank robberies. A self described "fix it kind of guy", who was assigned to 'clean up and take care of the crime areas on and near ODOT properties'. There is a mysterious 4 yr period in his record right before coming to Portland. Prior to (dis)gracing our city he worked for a right wing politico sorry can't recall the name, in Washington D.C.

don't know if he does his job "well" as you 23.Feb.2004 16:49


but, from all I've heard of the guy, it sure sounds like he suffers from a serious personality
disorder, plus he's obviously an Obsessive-Complusive Personality.

Bad combination!

Goes to show you the degradation in recruitment standard's that took place under Mark Kroeker!

It's too bad, really, as these kind's of people can be dangerous under the strain of a severely
stressful situation.

I bet this guy is another killer cop waiting for an incident to happen?

Hopefully his hyperactivity will aid him in his quest to climb the ladder and he finds a job in
some other police department. That's one way of getting rid of bad apple cop's, just promote
their asses on out to another department and hope for the best!

This is terrible situation. But, what can we do with such stupid officials as we've got now?

REI 23.Feb.2004 17:31


The reason might be the gala opening of REI at 16th & Johnson on friday morning when the first 400 people through the door get free crap. The fence might be crowd control.

trib article: "bohemia's last stand"? 23.Feb.2004 17:45


from the portland tribune. info regarding fence in last section.

Bohemia's last stand
Shabby Slabtown gets beauty tips from nearby Pearl District
By MICHAELA BANCUD Issue date: Fri, Feb 20, 2004
The Tribune
The feral cats howl in the night. A van with a cracked windshield is home for one denizen, and razor wire curls around the top of a Cyclone fence. Gutters hang off of old brick apartment buildings, and even the rain falls in crooked sheets.
Condoland winks from just across the way, but Interstate 405's massive ramps and pillars divide the Pearl from its oddball sister, Slabtown, like a concrete curtain.
Slabtown is located west of the freeway. At one time the name referred to a large portion of Northwest Portland. These days, the name is generally used to describe the area around Northwest 16th Avenue, between
Hoyt and Lovejoy streets. A working-class neighborhood, Slabtown still has its share of old bars and saloons.
In the late 1800s, residents burned wood to heat their homes, storing "slabs" of wood in front of their houses. Factory workers lived in the small houses and worked in nearby industrial areas.
"It would have been very smoky and loud there back then," says Portland historian Chet Orloff. "It was ethnically oriented. People cooked or heated with wood. The old streetcars that ran along the upper avenues would have rattled and clanged. It may have have smelled of cooking fish."
Sixties-era urban renewal brought the I-405 freeway. Portions of what was then primarily a Scandinavian neighborhood were cut off, says Orloff.

Music to their ears

Portland rock band the Dandy Warhols memorialized Slabtown in a CD titled "Tales From Slabtown Vol. 2." Singer Courtney Taylor still rents an apartment in the divey Bjelland Apartments on Northwest Lovejoy for a song, despite the fact that he's pure pop gold. Neighborhood regulars call his building the "Rock Dorm" because so many occupants are musicians; the smaller apartment building around the corner is "Rock Dorm Jr."
Taylor, on tour in Australia, writes in an e-mail that Slabtown has been "a high for our clique of artists for about five or six years. The area that we now refer to as Slabtown is the last few square blocks of Northwest Portland that are still a dump."
That's a compliment in gentrification-shy Portland.
The video for the Dandys' hit "Bohemian Like You" was filmed at Cal-Sport, a bar now under new management and called Slabtown.
Matt Simons and two partners bought the business from Magar Magar -- who owns the building.
Simons worked at Cal-Sport for two years.
"It was all crusty, dirty and weird in here," Simons recalls. "There were times it got really awful. Now it's just honest and clean."
Most of the staff are members of Portland's rock music scene. "We call ourselves the Portland Varsity All-Stars," Simons says.
Le Happy, a creperie-nightclub, opened on Northwest 16th Avenue just as the Portland streetcar made its debut three years ago. Owner John Brodie has noticed small changes in the neighborhood.
"It was quieter here three years ago, but it's still a quiet little nook," Brodie says. "The freeway will always be there and give it this distinct feel. We started calling it 'the bucket' around here when nobody knew where it was. We felt it needed a name."
Now, ways to connect this section of Northwest Portland and the Pearl are being explored.
John Carroll, developer of the nearby Edge Condominiums and REI store on Northwest 14th Avenue, did a land swap with Retriever Towing, located under -I-405. The lot will be used for employees of the new REI store, which opens Sunday.
Two neighborhood associations, Pearl District and Northwest District, are working with Carroll and another property owner, Al Solheim, to spruce up the dark corners under I-405.
Standing under the ramp on Northwest Johnson Street, Pearl District association Vice President Patricia Gardner says: "We want to create a place that's a connection between the two areas, not a barrier. There could eventually be many uses for the space under here -- from sports to artist spaces."
Gardner is the landscape architect for the project, which was financed by grants from the two neighborhood associations. Some $40,000 was awarded for improvements on Northwest Kearney and Johnson streets. A second grant from Metro paid for the lighting.
"Both of these areas are evolving at the perimeters," Gardner says.
Says Carroll: "In the interim we want to make this an asset to the neighborhood."

Crossover customers?

The ivy-covered grounds along the sides of the freeway ramp were cleaned up in time for the opening of the REI store. Battered wooden slats were removed from the Cyclone fencing. The barbed wire that enclosed the former Retriever Towing Yard is down, and lighting has been added.
***Eventually, a wrought-iron fence with signage will be erected that narrows the sidewalk and discourages homeless people from camping beneath the freeway. The fence will be lengthened block by block.***
"In the short term, we'd like a safer place," Gardner says.
Artist Eva Lake has kept a gallery-studio in the ActiveSpace building since 1999. "It was a no man's land before," she says. "But I've always liked the isolated parts of Portland." Lake recently started to decorate the window space in the former auto supply shop, now called the Standard Arts Building, across the street from her studio.
Other businesses are bound to pick up as more people venture from neighborhood to neighborhood.
Radio cabbies gravitate to Yur's Tavern, a cavernous bar and former cellar. Carlos Juarez started cooking here about seven months ago, preparing homemade Mexican food from scratch. He painted the restaurant walls and added other touches to improve the low-slung space.
Juarez's cousin owns the successful Cha Cha Cha on Northwest Glisan Street, which at times seems a million miles away. "But I know there are a lot of people coming soon," Juarez says.
Sheila Scott owns the Emanon Cafe, a restaurant at the corner of Northwest 17th Avenue and Lovejoy Street that's been open a little over a year. She approves of the changes.
"The area was always on the rougher side, the seedier side," but that's changing, Scott says.
"We're in the middle of these two really thriving areas," she says. "It has to come alive."

i met jeff 23.Feb.2004 18:00

a philapelphian

i've no idea if meyers is in any way responsible for the fence, but he's been real friendly during demonstrations - walking the crowd, with no gun, smiling and asking people where they come from. nice guy.

Yuppie paranoia + sans bohemia = wonderfulness!!!!!!!!!! 23.Feb.2004 18:33


Thanks for posting the Trib article, I was just about to go look for it.

from the above article:
"The ivy-covered grounds along the sides of the freeway ramp were cleaned up in time for the opening of the REI store. Battered wooden slats were removed from the Cyclone fencing. The barbed wire that enclosed the former Retriever Towing Yard is down, and lighting has been added.
***Eventually, a wrought-iron fence with signage will be erected that narrows the sidewalk and discourages homeless people from camping beneath the freeway. The fence will be lengthened block by block.*** ........"

Yes the Portland privileged of the Pearl and 23rd st. are "sprucing up the place"

He's dreamy! 23.Feb.2004 18:45


He's not only interested in where you came from, but where you are going and who you are with. Typical white guy, red neck, and blue uniform. That is a gun in his pocket and he's happy to see you! I doubt that Meyers has anything to do with this, but you never know. Sounds like the fence can work in a miriad of different ways for a few creative folks. Walk softly and carry a not-so-big pair of bolt cutters (sm. 16" pair should do).

did the "philidelphan" who meet "jeff" 23.Feb.2004 18:50

ever consider

that this "jeff" was merely wearing a false face when "the p-man" meet him? To base evaluation
of a man based on such "chance meeting" is rather childlike, don't you think?

meet this Jeff cop once, and I thought he was 23.Feb.2004 20:18

a sneaky person

and not what I'd want in a "community policing"-type police officer. That how I
see it! Sorry to burst any baloons!

I can tell you who is NOT paying for it- 23.Feb.2004 21:50

Red Suspenders

Those fancy condos- big developer types. They all get a ten year property tax deferment. Some asshole moves up from California, pays $400,000 for some "condo" and something like $110 in property taxes for a year. Theyre not working here, so they dont pay income tax either. Just mooch off the state services, enjoying our parks, streets, libraries and emergency services while us ordinary knuckledraggers are paying three grand a year in taxes in rundown old houses all over the county.

Granted they live in a dump- Old town and the adjacent neighborhoods of close-in NW portland is one of very few parts of Portland in which I personally feel uncomfortable wandering around at night. Granted they're going to royally lose thier shirts when they go to sell thier "condo" to some other ignorant shmuck. Meanwhile, the smooth-talking developers take the money and move to Hawaii or back to california. But these people are driving up our taxes and rents and housing costs all over town while getting a free ride.
As for the fence- Not only is it inhumane to deny shelter to the folks sleeping outside but it is counter productive to making the place look and be "better" anyhow.

Don't know about anyone else out there but I think the drunken assholes spilling out of nightclubs cause a thousand times more damage than anyone living under a bridge.

regarding the cop (Meyers) who needs a 24.Feb.2004 04:25


and his 4 years missing gap in accountable time---it's "rumored" he was with the
CIA and washed out for whatever reason, and then bounced around and ended up in
Portland at behest of Kroeker/Katz for some reason. He was a failed-CIA joker,
a CIA-wannabe, if you like, and is now plying his trade here. Beware of this guy.

Update 24.Feb.2004 07:19


Ok, now I've seen the fence on corporate news and a 16" pair of bolt cutters will not do. A good samaritan is handing out hacksaws-no lie- and that will do. Saw it on KATU news Mon. night.

Portland Mercury "Portland's Most Rotten Cop" reader poll 24.Feb.2004 09:23


The current issue of The Mercury has a poll to decide "Portland's Most Rotten Cop". The lead contenstants are Jeff Myers and Mark Kruger:


(This link won't work for this article later when the feature is replaced by the next issue's.)



and it's only this myers and that neo-nazi crazy kruger? mccollister would win!

Hacksaws 24.Feb.2004 10:10

Little Wing

I saw the same tv-news story WendyB mentions. A copy of the video can be found at their website. A neighborhood activist passing out hacksaws and the man who put the fence up are interviewed.

The video is titled "Fence keeps homeless out" and is directly below the weather report box.


dear ever consider 24.Feb.2004 18:13

a philadelphian

WendyB had the right idea. next time i'll bracket my comment this way <<sarcasm>> he's a real nice guy <<sarcasm>>

Eyeful 26.Feb.2004 09:26


I looked at the structure carefully this morning on the way up to school. It has no entrance gate - so trash, debris, etc. which goes in will stay in, at least for a while until someone comes to haul it out. Bad design.

Both the posts and gates are bolted on with what looks like what a 1/2 inch lug wrench could easily undo. I wouldn't bother with a hand-driven hacksaw. You'd be there all day.

There's a small sign within the compound which indicates there is video survelliance.

There are eight or nine motion detecting lamps attached to the posts, which cast light upward toward the ceiling - or the underramp of the freeway above.

It's greatest sin is it is ugly, expensive and pointless.