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 OregonLive.com 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.