The government beat


Push for Police Precinct in Southwest

The Southwest Neighborhoods Inc.'s Crime Prevention and Safety Committee is lobbying the Portland Police Bureau to establish a police precinct in Southwest.

Wes McMullen, Crestwood's Crime Prevention and Safety Committee representative, is urging Southwest residents to write letters to Central Precinct Commander Mike Reese, Police Chief Rosie Sizer and Mayor Tom Potter encouraging the establishment of a permanent police presence.

'What it's going to take, we think, is an up-swelling of neighborhoods,' McMullen said at a March 12 meeting of the Multnomah Neighborhood Association.

For now, the officers on patrol in Southwest have the SWAMP, or Southwest Area Mini-Precinct, in the Multnomah Arts Center to write reports and present a face to the community. However, the office has no regular hours as officers are regularly called away on duty. Also, the officers are required to report to the Central Precinct downtown - which covers nearly all of Portland west of the Willamette River - when going on and off duty.

Crime Prevention Coordinator Michael Boyer said there has been no recent increase in area crime, and if anything, crime has lowered a bit. Boyer said the concept of a Southwest precinct has been 'talked about on and off for the better part of the decade,' but the recent push has come from the Crime Prevention and Safety Committee.

McMullen said many details of the precinct - where it would be, how big it would be, how much it would cost and how the bureau would pay for it - have yet to be worked out, but the first step is to convince Reese that there is community support.

'To me, it's a slam dunk,' McMullen said. 'Why would anyone oppose it?'

To get involved, contact McMullen at 503-293-7220 or e-mail People can also contact Boyer at 503-823-3131 or e-mail

BES seeks input on improving water quality

The Bureau of Environmental Services is conducting a study of three areas in Southwest that they call 'subwatersheds,' or a small tributary system that covers only a few square miles.

These areas, called Marquam-Woods, Carolina-Terwilliger and California, are particularly susceptible to storm water pollution. Officials are seeking input from community members and stakeholders on potential street improvement projects, such as green streets, which provide landscaping designed to filter and divert storm water.

BES will also consider solutions such as eco-roofs, rain gardens or bio-swales, increased tree canopy, removal of invasive plants and planting of native plants, and stream restoration.

The four particular natural areas BES is focusing on are Marquam Nature Park, Terwilliger Parkway Corridor, George Himes Park and the Willamette River channel, shoreline and floodplain.

Those interested should attend Southwest Neighborhoods Inc.'s Land Use Committee meeting Tuesday, April 15 at 7 p.m. for an opportunity to provide input to this process. The meeting will be at the Multnomah Arts Center on 7688 S.W. Capitol Highway. Or contact BES directly though Marc Peters, 503-823-9389, e-mail:

SWNI announces open houses for halo LIDs

After deliberation amongst neighborhood team leaders on the proposal to fund sidewalks and other street improvements along 35th Avenue, Hamilton and Vermont streets, Southwest Neighborhoods Inc., has announced four open houses for property owners near those areas.

The proposal by Commissioner Sam Adams involves expanding a local improvement district to a 'halo' over property owners near major thoroughfares so that the cost of such improvements could be shared. Typical LIDs are paid only by property owners who abut the street, but city officials are hoping that the proposal to share the cost will allow sidewalks and bicycle lanes to be built in answer to community complaints.

The open houses will cover the nuts and bolts of an LID, the designs discussed by neighborhood team leaders and rough cost estimates for each one by the contracted engineering firm, OTAK. A question-and-answer period will follow.

The east Vermont street segment, between 30th and 37th avenues, will be Tuesday, April 1, at the Mittlemen Jewish Community Center. The west Vermont Street segment, between 45th Avenue to Shattuck Road, will also be at the MJCC on Tuesday, April 8.

The segment of 35th Avenue between Stephenson and Arnold streets will be Thursday, April 3 at Jackson Middle School.

Thursday, April 10, will be the final open house, for the Hamilton Street segment. The meeting will be at Bridlemile Elementary School's cafeteria/auditorium.

All meetings will begin at 7 p.m. and last until 9.