Monthly Archives: April 2011

A Question of Security

There is an overabundance of homes for sale across the country. Our building is not different.  Today there were 14 realtors’ lockboxes hanging in their designated area representing 14 units for sale. Consequently, there frequently are open houses conducted by realtors.

Today, like many other days, there was an open house. Multiple signs outside the building described the 2-bedroom and 2-bath unit and directed visitors to see it. Taped boldly to our entry gate was a sign describing how to gain entrance to the building. Access code for our digital entry system was displayed along with specific entry instructions. There was no realtor stationed by the gate to screen or assist visitors; no security officer was standing by.

"PRESS 004 - Walk thru gate, turn left . . . "

Is this a security problem?

Phantom Services

We pounded the pavement once again in search of Clean & Safe services. In spite of the rain and chill today, we spotted two separate Portland Mall Management, Inc., employees on the job. The first was on 6th Avenue and Columbia Street (surprisingly close to home) and the second was on Alder Street between 6th and Park Avenues. Between those two sightings we spotted a Portland police officer with his bicycle. He was on 6th Avenue near Taylor Street.

There was the usual flow of activity around the downtown area and a record number of clean and safe type of sightings. Once again we failed to spot any workers from the Clean & Safe team.

As downtown condo owners, we pay extra fees specifically for Clean & Safe services. With so much duplication of service, and the others quite visible, shouldn’t we use phantom dollars to pay for phantom services?

Portland Police and Portland Mall Management on the job. Where is Clean & Safe?

On Target

Word leaked out last September that Target Corp. was looking at downtown Portland for a new store location. Today reported that this dream is coming closer to fruition. New documents including proposed images and more specifics have been submitted to the city for consideration.

The Galleria at SW 10th Avenue and Alder Street appears to be the prime candidate for the new Target store.

From the A to red dot (due south) - just a walk or streetcar ride.

From A to red dot (due south) - just a walk or streetcar ride.

Proposed new Target store.

Where Are You?

Although this blog is still in its infancy, readership has grown steadily. It is always fun to take a look at where readers come from. Today’s readers came from:

Thank you for stopping by!

He Said What?

The member of the Clean & Safe board of directors representing 10 condominiums in the Clean & Safe district spoke before the City Council on Wednesday, April 20, 2011. His goal was to put before the council his reasons for consideration of expansion of the current Clean & Safe district to include more condominiums on the west side of the South Park Blocks. He spoke uninterrupted for about eight minutes* and then presented five photos for the council and the world to see. Two of the photos captured graffiti on the exterior walls of two neighborhood churches. Three photos were of “homeless people standing or sitting in the strip of sidewalk where the city allows them to sit,” explained The Portland Mercury weekly newspaper and affirmed later in the meeting by Councilwoman Amanda Fritz. The speaker explained the last photo as being  “probably the best picture … this is the view from the living room of a resident of the Eliot tower and … this is what he has to look at virtually every day.”

City Councilwoman Fritz asked, “What is the problem in the photograph we’re looking at?”

The speaker responded by describing the sights and sounds that homeless people make. The Portland Mercury online in its blog was stunned by his words. They commented in their blog later that day that the speaker “eventually got frighteningly honest about his vision for downtown security: ‘The fact that someone with a sidearm shows up and does some gentle nudging, it’s very effective.’”

Here is a thought, Mr. Speaker – Instead of nudging homeless people with sidearm-carrying security officers, how about working toward helping these people find their way back to productive lives.

City Council Meeting – April 20, 2011. Our speaker is 2nd from right at the speaker’s table.


*City Council video is 251 minutes long. The above speaker begins at minute 58:00. He introduces the photos at about minute 65:30.

Cleaner & Safer – Followup

A new day. We zigzaged our way once again through our neighborhood and onward through the core retail district. There we came upon a uniformed Clean & Safe employee. He was actively on the job. I asked him if I could take a picture of him for this blog and he said, “Most definitely.”

On the job across from Nordstrom at Morrison and SW Park Avenues.

We thanked him and walked on. I glanced back and lo and behold, our charming and diligent street cleaner was not from Clean & Safe after all! He, like the others, is from Portland Mall Management, Inc.

Portland Mall Management, Inc., at work.

 And so far, still no sign of any security officers.

Cleaner and Safer


Services are augmented in our busy downtown to attract business, tourists, and activities. Enter Clean & Safe, an organization managed by the Portland Business Alliance (the Chamber of Commerce), developed 20 years ago to enhance services to the downtown core district – with its own cleaning crews, street ambassadors, and patrol officers. Two years ago, the condos in the area were forced to contribute to the Clean & Safe program. Initially our board of directors actively opposed the new fees. When inclusion seemed imminent, they began chanting “remapping” and “economies of scale” and with that, suddenly they were in favor of our participation.

The Portland Business Alliance won out. Our condo now pays $17,000 annually for these business services – fees that are passed down to owners. We were promised increased security and the presence of cleaning crews to keep our immediate area free of debris and graffiti. Businesses were already paying for these services, so these added services were actually already in place. To date, I have not seen even one employee of the Clean & Safe program within at least a 5-block radius of our building – except for the lone patrolman who was the guest speaker at one board meeting.

Currently there is consideration to expand the Clean & Safe district to include an adjacent, largely residential, area, including more condominiums, and they, too, are opposed. As reported in on April 21, 2011, “Jim Werner, the head of the Benson Tower homeowners’ association, said his membership this week voted 100 percent against the expansion — not because residents oppose the Clean and Safe District but because ‘you’re coming at us with a cookie-cutter approach. We are different. The whole area is different. When you go away from the downtown retail core, the model you have wouldn’t work for us at all.’” On target, Mr. Werner!

We have been walking the downtown streets of the Clean & Safe district looking to spot the cleaning crews, the patrolmen, the ambassadors. We even thought we spotted several in the past few days, always within a radius of just a few blocks of Pioneer Courthouse Square, never in our immediate neighborhood. But wait! The cleaning carts we saw were labeled “Portland Mall Management, Inc.” Did Clean & Safe change its name?

Unattended PMMI cleaning cart at Morrison and SW 10th Avenue.

Just a few blocks away, another unattended PMMI cleaning cart.

It turns out Portland Mall Management, Inc. (PMMI), provides its own cleaning crews and patrol officers. They cover a smaller area but within the Clean & Safe boundaries.  They, too, receive funds from the Portland Business Alliance, which actually coordinates both groups in the overlapping area. Will PMMI soon be demanding our money also?

Our HOA pays Pacific Patrol to  provide security services to our building and we display a large sign to that effect. We also pay for janitorial services that include keeping the premises clean and tidy inside and out. Pacific Patrol, Clean & Safe, Portland Mall Management, Inc., and Portland Police Bureau (city police) – they are all protecting us, apparently out of sight. With so many services, we must be cleaner and safer.