Sneak it into Buckman

I felt another wistful smile coming on when I read this story. Multnomah County is putting in a new residential drug treatment facility at East Burnside and 16th in Portland (run by a nonprofit, of course), in what's currently the relatively new and seemingly hip Lolo Pass Hotel. But the bureaucrats were trying to do it on the down-low, presumably to stop the neighbors from questioning the appropriateness of the site, and for who knows what other nefarious reasons. The deal was so on the q.t. that the hotel has still got a website up inviting us all to book a room

The neighborhood in question is Buckman. Burnside is the northern boundary of the neighborhood. I lived in Buckman 27 years ago, when the county pulled off the stealth siting of a methadone clinic next to the Vern Tavern on Southeast Belmont Street. Nobody knew about it until the addicts – it was heroin back then, good times – started pulling up in their cars at 5 in the morning for their daily shot of the juice. The place first opened for business during the week between Christmas and New Year's.

After the initial outrage at the sneakiness of the siting wore off, the neighborhood tried its best to put on an adult face and reduce its outrage to "Hey, we're getting more than our fair share of high-impact social service facilities." The hope was that the county would spread the burden of these joints around. Dunthorpe and Bridlemile sounded good.

But you know what? The bureaucrats couldn't care less. Here they are, doing the exact same thing again. This time they were found out before the deal closed. But that isn't going to change a thing. 

The speed of the transaction left many bewildered. Susan Lindsay, co-chair of the Buckman Community Association, said at the meeting she was concerned that neighbors hadn’t been notified. “We want to know about the program, we want to be involved, we want to be supportive,” she said.

“I as well support the intention behind this project,” said another neighbor, Alex Bove. But, he added, the deal felt rushed. “There’s something fishy here that does not pass the smell test.”

Even some members of the county board appeared to be taken by surprise. “I think many of us board members did not know,” admitted Commissioner Lori Stegmann.

And so surprise, surprise, more people with severe problems are about to be imported into Buckman. One of the reasons being given for the siting is that the neighborhood has not one but two methadone bars, and so it's a perfect place for addicts to live. If the neighbors don't like it, they can move. 

That's what I did.


  1. Susan Lindsay has been fighting city hall for at least 25 years to make Buckman livable and affordable.
    Obviously the “shitty” still considers it a dumping ground.

    1. Susan was there when the methadone clinic was slipped in on Belmont. I admire her determination.

    2. She fought the big box stores too!

  2. Truly sad that the clean up and improvements of the last few years in that neighborhood will be destroyed

    1. I don't know. It's going to be run by Central City Concern, which has traditionally seemed pretty responsible as these nonprofits go. If they are smart about whom they take in, it might not be so bad. Sounds like they're getting a nice newer building to work with.

    2. A lot of rooms to house people who have had control issues. Probably be like herding cats.

  3. RIP to the daycare center next door.


Post a Comment

The platform used for this blog is awfully wonky when it comes to comments. It may work for you, it may not. It's a Google thing, and beyond my control. Apologies if you can't get through. You can email me a comment at, and if it's appropriate, I can post it here for you.