Portland’s Bayside neighborhood is in crisis. In the last seven years, during my tenure as a Bayside resident, I have seen problems escalate.

Bayside is currently the only neighborhood in Portland zoned for emergency shelters, which include Preble Street Resource Center, the Oxford Street Shelter and the Joe Kreisler Teen Shelter.

Although the rude, destructive and occasionally violent behaviors that result from homelessness, mental illness and addiction affect all of Portland, in Bayside they are rampant. I have seen people fornicate, urinate in public, inject drugs, smoke marijuana, engage in prostitution and drink in public. So, I would guess, have many of the children in Bayside.

Used needles litter the streets, as do the vitamin C packets that the Portland Needle Exchange distributes. These “drug kits” serve as encouragements rather than deterrents to injecting drugs. The shelters and social service agencies here are completely overwhelmed by the number of people seeking services, and, as a result, their clients are in constant danger of being preyed upon.

I love Bayside. It is a vibrant neighborhood with a beautiful trail and thriving businesses. It is a great place to live. It is also a difficult place to live.

Crime statistics show that Bayside has the highest criminal activity of any neighborhood in the city. Now this long-neglected neighborhood, poised for new development, is at a turning point.


The city of Portland needs to show strong leadership in working with social service agencies to provide appropriate shelters, housing, rehabilitation and mental health services throughout the city, not just in Bayside.

An audit urgently needs to be conducted of the current shelters and their impacts on Bayside. We need to help people, not just enable them.

Annie Wadleigh


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