PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN 6) — People who live and work near SE Hawthorne Boulevard took their concerns about increased loitering and aggressive behavior to the city council Wednesday.
Sherry Fishman who lives down the street from the Ben and Jerry’s on SE 36th Avenue and SE Hawthorne Boulevard said she used to take her grandchildren to the ice cream shop but not anymore.
“Walking through their parking lot or along that sidewalk with people dealing drugs and dogs that look kind of vicious – it’s not such a good thing for people to take their children there,” said Fishman.
Residents who live in the area told city council that out of town travelers and some homeless people congregate on SE Hawthorne Boulevard, leaving piles of trash in the street, sleeping in doorways of businesses and panhandling.
Portland Mayor Charlie Hales said the city is already taking steps to handle the problem.
“This month we’ve started increased walking patrols – not police offices driving by, not waiting for a 911 call – but walking Hawthorne, going door-to-door talking to the merchants,” said Hales.
Boo Rigney, the owner of the Ben & Jerry’s, said the bad behaving crowd has scared away customers and has unnerved her employees, hurting sales.
“When we ask them to leave, they get very aggressive. We lock the doors and have to close because we don’t know if they’re going to come back in. These are not the people who have been on Hawthorne forever,” said Rigney.