PORTLAND OREGON – THE NEW DEADWOOD: WHAT TO DO?

PORTLAND OREGON - THE NEW DEADWOOD: WHAT TO DO?

Operation Deadwood: Deadwood is a town in South Dakota made famous for its outlaw history. Deadwood became a famous destination after the discovery of gold. With little to no infrastructure or law enforcement presence, Deadwood soon outgrew its small-town status. Deadwood remained rough-and-tumble for some time, until the advent of more structured investments in mining. Over time, mining jobs and farming became the norm and the outlaw nature of Deadwood ceased. In a similar fashion, Portland, Oregon is facing a difficult time in history. With budget cuts to emergency services, a rise in criminal activity and a lack of leadership and a city-wide vision, Portland is suffering. I believe that in order to put Portland back on track to becoming a safer and healthier city for all it desperately needs a strong and vibrant business community, one willing to invest in the future. Currently, Echelon Protective Services is being engaged by some of Portland’s businesses and property owners to protect their property. This is very important because property is the foundation for a properly functioning economy, which means jobs and the resulting wages. All this being said, what are we to do? How are we to help and engage the community?
First, as a company, Echelon’s main concerns are protecting life and property. Currently, the Multnomah County DA’s Office and Jail are poorly funded. In turn, this has led to many misdemeanor crimes going unprosecuted. This is not a direct reflection of the dedication and drive and the mentioned entities, rather a reality that without funding for more staff, then the situation in Portland will likely get better. As a company, we want to remain vigilant to details of property crimes, such as graffiti, broken windows, signs of tampering with doors, etc.

Actions:

  1. Patrol and be observant – Document vandalism (Criminal Mischief)
  2. Ask persons in the areas about past or recent criminal activity.
Second, as a company, we want to dissuade criminal actions on our properties. This is never an easy job. What matters most is having a constant presence in the area and a good rapport with all living in the area. Surrounding our properties will be a large displaced population. Within this population there may be criminal elements. At the Yards, Echelon Protective Services staff, including myself, have encountered several criminal elements: 1) PSK or Portland Street Kids, and; 2) Sick Boys; 3) Bloods gangs; 4) Crips gangs, and; 5) Active prison gangs like KRB. From what I have heard these street gangs are responsible for a lot of the criminal activity in downtown Portland. To best identify who might be involved in criminal activity, it will be critical to build substantive relationships with members of Portland’s displaced population (persons without permanent shelter or housing – members of the greater Portland community) or Portland’s transient population, a. k. a. “travelers”. (This group might be seasonal or just passing through to the coast, California, or other locations)

Actions:

  1. Build rapport by hanging out when you feel welcome – building rapport may involve handing our food, water, cigarettes, but not money. Echelon Protective Services will reimburse you. Let us know and keep receipts.
  2. Document when you are not welcome – photograph aggressive parties for background follow-up. Don’t engage people when you are not welcome, just document the incident and notify management.
Third, attempt to maintain grounds around properties. Our patrol area has a significant issue with cleanliness. Everyone in or involved in the area knows this but no one has come up with a viable comprehensive solution. Our job is not to clean properties. Echelon Protective Services does not expect you to pick up syringes, feces or other biohazardous waste. This being said, we may provide security details for pressure washing. I will be working out details with property owners if they want staff to report issues or if their management wants that responsibility. If and when an area becomes a health hazard, please document it. Also, as the downtown population is transitory. If an area needs cleaning or if campers have requested the area clean, let them know we can help.
Fourth, be safe! Portland can be a dangerous city. Remember we provide security and, unlike police, do not have a duty to arrest. Try to keep calm in situations and notify law enforcement.

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