Poster child for chaos and lawlessness

We're in the New York Times again: Portland, as seen through the eyes of a private security guard. It's truly a horror movie.

In Portland, a record-breaking number of daily emergencies has strained every part of the system: 911 hold times have quintupled since 2019, the average police response has slowed to nearly an hour, firefighters work overtime to handle more overdoses than actual fires, and each week there are no ambulances left to respond to hundreds of medical emergencies....

They were all doing their best. The police officers whose active patrol force had shrunk by 20 percent to crisis levels because of attrition, recruiting challenges and the impact of calls to defund the police. The people sleeping on sidewalks as rents soared to record highs and shelters filled to capacity. The addicts who could either wait in line at 6 a.m. for the outside chance of a spot in rehab or numb their pain with another fentanyl pill for the going price of 50 cents. They were all suffering together through the morass of a damaged society.

“Our entire first responder system in this city, according to the people who run it, is 20 years behind the ball and critically understaffed,” the mayor said last year at a City Council meeting. The city itself had increasingly turned to the same Band-Aid fix as everyone else, spending more than $4 million a year on private security guards to help protect parks, water treatment facilities, parking garages and city hall....

Forty-six minutes since the first call to 911. He dialed a number for the police bureau’s central precinct and asked to speak to the sergeant in charge, but the receptionist told him that no one was available and no officers had been dispatched yet. The central precinct typically needed at least 17 officers on afternoon patrol to keep pace with the record volume of 911 calls, but at the moment the precinct was down to just eight officers patrolling an area of 41 square miles with more than 200,000 residents....

It had taken one hour and six minutes for the police to arrive, but Echelon had managed to deliver them an attempted kidnapping suspect in severe mental distress, and now maybe something good would come of it....

“It’s not worth us getting into a huge fight to take her to the hospital,” the officer said. “We only have eight officers working until the afternoon shift comes out. My idea is if we back away, she’s going to get up and go somewhere else.”

And so they did.

The city's public spaces are no longer safe or sane, and the closer to the city center you are, the worse it gets. I hope the new police chief has a little more self-respect than the last one did. Meanwhile, extreme caution should be the watchword. 


  1. Some in Portland say these articles exaggerate the issue and are merely designed to help the police increase their budget.

    1. It’s impossible to dismiss these issues when I see them happening with my own eyes.

    2. Sure, it is one big scam. If you still merely suspect that, please go park your car near 3rd and Everett for a lovely visit to Lan Su Chinese Garden and the historic district surrounding it, then take a casual stroll up 3rd Ave to Mother’s Bistro for brunch. If you have kids, take them along for a family walking adventure into downtown. You’ll see that the reports of Portland’s decline have been greatly exaggerated. Shame on the NYT for being in cahoots with the PPB. It must be the influence of all the ex-cops on its editorial board.

    3. Extreme irony? Right!???

  2. Eight people OD at Park Ave and Burnside this morning, 4 revived and 4 go to the hospital Rene Gonzales reminds people to only call 9-1-1 in a real emergency because ... priorities you know.

  3. Just imagine how much better our emergency service response will be when we start housing druggies and nobody notices they have ODed until days later.

  4. The degradation of Portland cannot be covered enough to keep pace with the decline.
    The incompetent and deceitful people running the city have done everything wrong for so long while the citizenry ignores their foolishness that there is nothing that can be done to alter course.
    The trajectory could not be more clear and the last thing any Portlanders want to hear is it's their fault for who they place to lead and the policies they wrongly thought were good.

  5. Portland so Harlovian:


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