Users of popular Springwater Trail want better security

Users of popular Springwater Trail want better security

PORTLAND, Ore. - Portland bicyclists say they're seeing too many threats to their safety along the popular 20-mile Springwater Trail.

The latest harassment report came in Monday night.

Some bikers and walkers say they've seen things that make them uncomfortable just off the trail, including an area they say is used by the homeless to hang out, camp and sometimes drink.

Just off the trail Tuesday, along the most notorious section near Southeast 82nd Avenue, there was a man sleeping, and about 20 feet away there were more belongings that presumably belonged to homeless people.

Some bikers and walkers want the city of Portland parks and Gresham parks to put more lights and emergency call boxes along the trail in the area.

"A lot of them are mental, and they'll mess with each other, and you're like, 'Oh no, they're going to fight,'" said walker Joseph Larson. "I get worried if I see kids walking far behind their parents or in front of their parents, and I hope nothing happens to them because these guys aren't exactly the most stable."

Bike Portland's Jonathan Maus said Tuesday: "Especially when it gets dark, when people are riding and walking down there, some of them are getting yelled at. I heard a woman who got pushed off her bike."

Maus said he got the complaint of the woman getting pushed off her bike Monday night.

He said he wants parks and recreation to ramp up security. He's calling for nighttime lights, emergency call boxes and more patrols.

According to Portland parks, park rangers found just over 100 homeless camps near the trail and wrote 46 camping exclusions and issued 25 alcohol exclusions last year.

Parks officials admitted there are safety issues along the Springwater Trail; in fact, park staff met with Portland police about it just last week. They're adding patrols on foot and ATV, especially near 82nd Avenue where most problems happen.

Police couldn’t provide crime data for the trail by deadline Tuesday.

Portland parks owns the trail but it has agreements with Clackamas County and Gresham to manage and maintain sections of it.

Park rangers said they’re also focusing on two other parts of the corridor: a stretch near the Ross Island Bridge and near the Powell Butte Nature Park.