Dogs, floodplain, unkept promise by Portland mayor

Former Mayor Sam Adams convinced men to sell home in 2010

A sign posted at the Foster floodplain area in Portland, Sept. 11, 2015 (KOIN)
A sign posted at the Foster floodplain area in Portland, Sept. 11, 2015 (KOIN)

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — You’d think a promise from the mayor of Portland would carry some weight. But 2 Portland men say the city is breaking a promise former Mayor Sam Adams made to them.

Mike Cummings and Robert Culver sold their home to the city in 2010 — along with dozens of other people — so the city could clear and develop the Foster floodplain and natural area.

Robert Culver and Mike Cummings, Sept. 11, 2015 (KOIN)
Robert Culver and Mike Cummings, Sept. 11, 2015 (KOIN)

At that time, the men met with Adams and said the mayor convinced them to sell by promising they would always be able to visit their former property with their dogs.

“We had a pet cemetery in the back and that was a big, important issue on the sale of the property, if we were going to sell or not,” Cummings told KOIN 6 News.

Now, a sign sits at the floodplain entrance: No dogs allowed. The sign says they’re not good for the wetlands and plants.

“I believe in commitments,” Culver said. “I guess they don’t. I don’t know how you can say something and not live up to it.”

He said the park rangers told them they could be fined $150 if they were caught walking their dogs.

“I understand why they wouldn’t want dogs off leash here. I agree with that,” he said.

Joyce Beedle, Sept. 11, 2015 (KOIN)
Joyce Beedle, Sept. 11, 2015 (KOIN)

Neighbor Joyce Beedle said the “no dogs” sign was “completely shocking and it was insulting.”

“It’s particularly disgusting that the city put a sign up like that and then their total unwillingness to say, ‘Oh, I’m sorry. We screwed up,'” Beedle said.

Now she doesn’t want their apology. “Just take the sign down and let the dogs through.”

For 2 years the men have tried to convince the city to honor the promise Sam Adams made.

Former Portland Mayor Sam Adams January 14, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)
Former Portland Mayor Sam Adams January 14, 2015 (KOIN 6 News)

Adams, himself, sent an email to the city in May confirming the promise the city made to Cummings and Culver.

“The other people in the meeting don’t have that same recollection. It’s not written in any kind of formal agreement,” said Bureau of Environmental Services spokesperson Linc Mann.

Mann said the created floodplain “made a place that not only accepts floodwater but also a great place for wildlife, some sensitive wildlife like salmon and lamprey.”

They made an agreement with the parks bureau to manage the property and decided at that time to not allow dogs. Even if they’re on a leash, dogs can be a problem for nesting birds, he said.

“Even though that discussion may have taken place and that promise may have been made,” he said, “the reality is Commissioner Fish –  who is in charge of environmental services – and Commissioner Fritz – who is in charge of Portland Parks and Recreation – have reviewed that decision and have agreed it was a good decision to not allow dogs.”

It upsets Cummings and Culver.

“You can not trust what they say,” Cummings said.

Culver was more succinct. “It’s just a bunch of garbage.”

A sign posted at the Foster floodplain area in Portland, Sept. 11, 2015 (KOIN)
A sign posted at the Foster floodplain area in Portland, Sept. 11, 2015 (KOIN)

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