THE "LETTERS TO THE EDITOR" ARE BELOW THE EDITORIAL

From The Editor

New poster child for Portlandís many problems?
Meet Christina Lynn Cordon.
Meet Christina Lynn Cordon. (Courtesy Washington County D.A.)

From the Washington County District Attorney, there’s news of a prison conviction for a woman who may well be the poster child for the street-oriented problems that the Rose City just cannot seem to solve – or even properly to address.

Her name is Christina Lynn Cordon, age 38.

According to the Washington County D.A., in the first week of February she pleaded guilty to six counts of burglary in the second degree. Deputy District Attorney David Pitcher prosecuted the case before Judge Andrew Erwin.

To quote the D.A., “From March through September 2022, the defendant burglarized more than ten businesses throughout Washington County, including removing a bolted safe containing more than $1,500, and ramming a stolen vehicle into the door of a convenience store at another location. Cordon targeted small businesses including restaurants, ice cream shops, delis, coffee shops, and dry cleaners, by breaking store windows, picking locks, prying facility doors, and even removing the lock at several locations.

“A witness contacted the Hillsboro Police Department after witnessing Cordon break a glass door window and enter the Copper River Restaurant in Hillsboro, Oregon. Authorities arrived as Cordon exited the parking lot in a white Honda Accord, resulting in a high-speed chase. The defendant abandoned the vehicle and fled on foot before she was quickly apprehended. Hillsboro Police located tools, bear spray, and a wig inside of the [stolen] vehicle.”

Okay, that’s Washington County, and specifically Hillsboro. How could that possibly reflect Portland’s problems…?

Here’s how: “At the time of these offenses, the defendant was residing in a homeless shelter in Portland, Oregon, and had three open criminal cases in Multnomah County. Cordon was granted pretrial release by the Multnomah County Circuit Court after failing to appear in court, just months before burglarizing the first of several business in Washington County.”

The lady’s mug shot is on this page, making her the poster child for this report, and also for the problems in Portland that this story represents. Judge Erwin sentenced Cordon to 108 months in prison, with one year of post-prison supervision on each of the six counts.

Before we get to Portland’s citywide problems that this story signifies, let’s make something clear. Portland criminals do not make a practice of avoiding committing crimes here, in order to commit crimes in Washington County – where apparently criminals actually get prosecuted! So you can take it as obvious that if she was viciously burglarizing and vandalizing businesses there, she was certainly doing it here too. And, as noted, she had already had brushes with the law in Multnomah County, but seemingly kept getting released on her own recognizance. That happens a lot here.

On to the problems!  Well, the single biggest one, and it is not unique to Portland – the larger cities on the West Coast are all grappling with it – is called the “homeless crisis”. Yes, this lady was taking advantage of a homeless shelter, but the real issue is that neither Portland, nor any of the other big cities contending with homelessness, will be able to make significant progress on solving this problem, unless – as we pointed out on this page a few years ago – they come to grips with the fact that there are at least five different types of people under that umbrella of “homelessness”, and each group must be addressed individually in a manner appropriate to that group, to make any progress. We cannot continue to pretend that they are all in “category one”.

Yes, the first category is the one Portland and other cities pretend is what most of the homeless are: Good folks down on their luck, who want and need a hand up to get back on their feet with a job, and in a home.

People in “category one” certainly do deserve our sympathy, respect, and full support, but some of the other categories of homeless are making it difficult or nearly impossible for the deserving ones to get the community support and assistance they need and should have. So who’s in the other categories?

The second category is drug-addicted “thieves of opportunity”. Whether it’s alcohol, or the many harmful drugs our citizens chose to decriminalize in a recent election, these folks are hooked on something addictive and need money to feed their habit. They break into cars, businesses, and homes, seeking anything they can turn into quick cash to buy more of what they are addicted to.

The third category in the homeless community is “career criminals”. They care little for others, and their profession is and always has been stealing from and taking advantage of everybody else, homeless or not. And, under that “homeless” umbrella, they know they will be tolerated as they steal us all blind. Until they face consequences – as it appears they just may, in Washington County – they don’t even worry about getting arrested, because if they are, odds are they will be freed from jail by the judge they are arraigned by – just being admonished to come back for their court date.

Are you surprised that often – maybe usually – this group does not show up for their court date? They have no reason to, since they have no address at which they may be found, and they are free to do what they want on the street. They often continue their life of crime, undeterred by an arrest, the very next day.

From the information in the Washington County press release, it’s not clear which of those two categories Christina Lynn Cordon fits into, but it sounds to us like it was the third one. She seems to be acting like a career criminal. But that’s just our guess. We have two more categories to go…

The fourth category in “the homeless” is widely recognized even by government, but we seem to have no solution for it: They’re the mentally ill – who should be hospitalized for medical care and, if possible, a cure; but whom the State of Oregon has turned out onto our streets to fend for themselves. These people are a danger to themselves and everybody else. They damage, they attack and hurt others, and they turn what they touch into rubble, because they are mentally ill and need treatment. Here’s our thought: Why not do what we used to do, and provide to them the treatment they need? They won’t get better on the streets; they can only get worse.

The fifth category is relatively harmless, but is resistant to conventional homeless solutions – they are people who just like living a vagabond life without a home. They are not new; they’ve always been with us. They are not victims of homelessness; they prefer it. And often they are honorable people who do no harm; they are not camped in the middle of the sidewalk, they more likely live on a hillside somewhere in solitude. But. they are not interested in being housed; just in being left alone.

Here’s our point: The starting point for fixing problems of the homeless is determining which category each homeless person fits into, and then providing each just what they need (or, in the case of the criminal categories, what they deserve).

And concerning the rampant crime and vandalism in Portland – there do need to be consequences when our way-understaffed police officers track down the offenders, arrest them, and book them into the Multnomah County Detention Center downtown (MCDC).

Because when they are arraigned for serious crimes – even shooting crimes, and grand theft crimes, and wanton vandalism crimes – they must be detained until trial. Here, so often, they are released without bail by a judge, and just keep on pursuing a life of crime.

The citizens of our city deserve to be confident that those arrested for violent and ruthless crimes are not simply “released on their own recognizance”, but actually are kept from continuing their crimes until the trial they probably otherwise won’t show up for.

All problems have solutions, IF we are able to identify them – and IF we will pony up the money to pay for them.

We in Portland certainly do pony up a lot of money for city services, and it’s hard to think of a service more important than public safety for the city leaders to spend more of it on. Maybe it’s time they did?


Letters to the Editor

In the glovebox of a stolen car

Editor,

Concerning [Rita Leonard’s report on retrieving her stolen car in the February BEE], “Stolen car on Facebook page can find missing vehicles”: I have a question about the author’s advice to hold on to the title of the car and store it “not in the car”. On those few times I have been stopped for a traffic violation over the years, I seem to recall that I was asked to show my license and title for the car. Is that not a thing anymore?

Anna Donovan
Eastmoreland

[EDITOR’S NOTE: Actually, I believe what you were asked for on a traffic stop was your driver’s license and your registration. That’s the renewal certificate that comes with your new license plate stickers every two years. A police officer should not ask for your title, since you are not required to have that in the car. Indeed, if a thief steals your car and finds your title to it in the glovebox, he or she should be able to transfer the ownership of the car to him or herself, and then sell it! That would certainly complicate your getting it back!]

 

Parking issue arises in Eastmoreland

Editor,

We have a growing problem in Eastmoreland with contractors who think they can drive anywhere because they are at work. They routinely block sidewalks when they could easily park at the curb. Worst of all, they drive up into the center median on Reed College Place in order to back into a driveway. They could have parked at the curb, but would then would have had to walk a few feet further. What they leave, in the median there, are huge ruts in the soggy ground. If one of us did that to the lawn in front of a contractor's own home I doubt that it would be tolerated.

The City abandoned maintenance of the parkway on Reed College Place decades ago, which is now funded by contributions from neighborhood residents. Nobody from the City will stop by to fix the ruts created by your contractor driving on the lawn. If you are a homeowner who is having work done by a contractor, we hope you will show some responsibility in telling the person you are paying [for the work] what they should NOT be doing. If there is damage to the center strip, we hope you will take responsibility for fixing it. We are a neighborhood, and problems here do not fix themselves.

Jim Wygant
Author and photographer
Former president of ENA

 

Sad news from Woodstock

Editor,

We learned yesterday [January 28] that our long-time USPS letter carrier, Glenn Forayter, died last week from a stroke. Elizabeth Ussher Groff wrote [in THE BEE] about his life and career when he retired; not that long ago. It is a shock.

Bev Whiting
S.E. 45th Avenue

Eastmoreland Historic District

Editor,

A letter in the February BEE contained errors about historic preservation. The Eastmoreland Historic District is something the entire city of Portland should be proud of. The preservation of historic homes, livable neighborhoods, parks, and open spaces benefits everyone, since all of Portland’s neighborhoods belong to all of us. Eastmoreland is not an “enclave”; it is one of Portland’s many unique and beautiful neighborhoods, all of which deserve the same amount of support and appreciation from the city as a whole. Unfortunately, there are people who enjoy pitting neighborhoods against each other and promoting an adversarial atmosphere where none need exist. The letter advocated demolitions, claimed there can now be none in Eastmoreland, and insists new construction increases affordability.

In fact, within Eastmoreland, around 20% of the homes are not even part of the Historic District, which means they can still freely be demolished and replaced with new structures. If Habitat for Humanity or other organizations were to build new homes that were truly affordable, that would be welcome. But turning over housing construction to the profit-driven free market only results in more expensive housing prices.

What about renters? My Eastmoreland neighbor used to rent out a room to Reed College students, and there are several long-term renters in the neighborhood. Renters are a vital part of any neighborhood. But Oregon’s recently-passed rent control law only applies to buildings that are 15 years old or older. So any new construction [of rental property] would be exempt from those rent caps, and absentee landlords could charge rents not limited by the new rules. In every way, newly-constructed homes are more expensive than what they replace. We need to preserve the housing that exists now all over the city, or we will lose the variety and affordability that the letter-writer claims to support.

We also need to figure out ways to ensure that everyone can afford to live in whatever kind of home they prefer, in whatever kind of neighborhood they prefer. That requires creative solutions, not simply turning things over to the free market, as recent City of Portland policies seem to be advocating.

Joe Dudman
Eastmoreland

Plants needed for benefit Woodstock Plant Sale

Editor,

We need BEE readers’ help for the 2023 Woodstock Neighborhood Plant Sale, which benefits, and helps keep open, the Woodstock Community Center. This year’s sale is scheduled for Saturday, May 13th, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Community Center, 5905 S.E. 43rd Avenue, across the street from the west end of BiMart.

Proceeds help us to provide routine maintenance, including custodial service and supplies, for the Community Center, as part of an agreement with Portland Parks that has helped keep the center open since 2004.

Our sale depends on donations from generous gardeners in the community. Often gardeners contribute plants that would benefit from dividing, or plants that they have decided to replace with other plants. We are looking for perennials, as well as vegetable starts, herbs, ground covers, native plants, succulents, ornamental grasses, houseplants, and shrubs.

We encourage you to contribute plants from your garden, potting them by March or the first week of April, in preparation for the sale.

Drop off your plants between April 15 and April 26. For drop-off instructions, empty pots, or more information, contact Sandy Profeta (sandy@tigerheron.com or 503/771-7724), or Terry Griffiths (treeterryg@gmail.com or 503/771-0011).

Sandy Profeta
Woodstock

Advises of petition

Editor,

I want to share a link to our petition, started last month, for the reinstatement of school resource officers in Portland Public Schools – https://chng.it/5887gbFsXv

Our young people are in trouble, and we are building a grassroots community of petition-signers who want to see School Resource Officers back. Leaders from marginalized communities, parents who have lost children to gang violence, PPS teachers, Principals, staff, and students from across the district, see the value of School Resource Officers who build rapport with school communities.

We need to have people from all school communities and neighborhoods at the table who can speak to their experiences in support of School Resource Officers. Please share this petition link in THE BEE to increase awareness.

Kristen Downs
via email

BDNA seeking a volunteer bookkeeper or accountant for Board 

Editor,

The Brentwood-Darlington Neighborhood Association (BDNA) is looking for a volunteer with bookkeeping or accounting in their background to join our Board as Treasurer. BDNA is working with Impact NW to recast the Brentwood-Darlington Community Center as a community resource for resilience and resources, and as a social hub for our neighborhood. We’re committed to climate action on the ground. We’ve launched a forum to showcase local home-based businesses, artists, and artisans, and such a Treasurer can help us with these projects and more, by minding our finances. If this message reaches such a person, please share your resume and interest with me, BDNA Chair Stephenie Frederick by email – bdnachair199@gmail.com

Stephenie Frederick
Brentwood-Darlington




Letters to the Editor may be submitted via e-mail by clicking HERE.

All letters to the editor are subject to editing for clarity and available space, and all letters become property of THE BEE.


 


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