A bunch of businesses in Portland, Oregon’s Old Town have despatched a letter to Mayor Ted Wheeler in addition to city and county commissioners urging for their help with the “rapidly deteriorating conditions” of their neighborhood.
The letter, dated Oct. 11, states that every of the 4 businesses have skilled “flagrant drug dealing, fires and vandalism, verbal and bodily threats in addition to precise assaults” during the last a number of months.
One of the businesses, Lan Su Chinese Garden, mentioned that three of their employees members have been assaulted in a single day in September.
“This was just one of a list of events that prompted the difficult decision to hire additional security and lock the front gate. The Lan Su Chinese Garden hosts 2,000 visitors each week and cannot honestly assure their health and safety under current conditions,” the letter reads.
“It makes all of us want to cry. That’s what we were trying to communicate to our leaders of this city and this county. Our hearts are broken,” Elizabeth Nye, government director of Lan Su Chinese Garden, informed KATU.
“Old Town and the New Chinatown/Japantown Historic District was once home to the largest population of Cantonese-Chinese outside of San Francisco and one of the two Japantowns in Portland. Jewish merchants managed and owned businesses in the neighborhood,” the letter mentioned.
“Our four organizations were founded to preserve an important part of Portland’s history and to celebrate the diversities of our city. Local government’s inability to protect this neighborhood disrespects this history.”
“It’s past time for you to take the necessary action to fix the city we all love,” mentioned the letter, which requests that city management meets with the organizations no later than October 22, “to discuss your commitment to lead and the specific actions you support for Old Town.”
“We need to hear the city’s plans for adding police and combatting rising crime and we need the county to step up and deploy mental health professionals and services to our neighborhood, which was recently described as an ‘open-air psychiatric ward,'” the letter continued.
The letter was signed by Lan Su Chinese Garden, Japanese Museum of Oregon, the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, and the Portland Chinatown Museum.
According to KATU, Commissioner Dan Ryan launched an announcement spending to the letter.
“I want to thank Lan Su Chinese Garden, the Japanese American Museum of Oregon, the Oregon Jewish Museum and Center for Holocaust Education, and the Portland Chinatown Museum for speaking their truths regarding the untenable state of Old Town and their safety concerns,” wrote Ryan.
“Our arts and culture organizations have suffered immensely during the COVID-19 crisis, and the dramatic spike in unsanctioned camping, mental and behavioral health crises, and criminal incidents have exacerbated that suffering. Old Town needs our support now more than ever,” Ryan mentioned.
“No employee, resident, or tourist should fear for their physical or emotional safety because of where they work, live, and play. I meet with Old Town business owners and residents frequently—these concerns are elevated today, but sadly this historic neighborhood has faced similar challenges for many years.
“I’m planning to meet with representatives from these respected establishments to collaborate on options. We are preventing for the soul of our City, and Old Town is the epicenter,” he continued.