What is being done to keep Springwater Trail safe?

What is being done to keep Springwater Trail safe? »Play Video
Police and park rangers patrol along the Springwater Trail together. It's perfectly legal to hang out in hidden spaces along the trail as long as nobody is drinking or camping.

PORTLAND, Ore. – KATU News has heard a lot from its viewers after an earlier story this week about safety problems on the Springwater Trail. So on Friday it sent a news reporter along with a patrol squad.

Portland park rangers ran into plenty of people who seemed homeless or transient Friday along the Springwater Trail. It's perfectly legal to hang out in hidden spaces along the trail as long as nobody is drinking or camping.

Portland police and park rangers patrol the trail together, especially along problem areas like near 82nd Avenue.

"People interested in engaging in illegal activity, drinking, drugs, or illegal camping, know they can come down into these spots and hide and they'll be relatively unseen," said Brenton Chose, a park ranger.

Rangers say they try to patrol the problem spots at least once a day.

Responding to criticism from some people that say the city isn't doing enough to make the trail safe, Chose said: "I'd say we're trying as best as we can."

Rangers walk the problem stretches five days a week. The police do so less often – about three days a week.

But none of them do so 24/7.

Some people want more lights and emergency call boxes along the trail, but Chose said, "Because the trail is 20 miles long, you'd have to have a lot of lights and emergency call boxes. I think the efforts by the park rangers and police are really helping, and that's the right way to go."

Portland parks is adding 20 new rangers to the staff next week. Part of their job will be to patrol the Springwater Trail.