PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) – Neighbors who live by Rocky Butte say their street, Rocky Butte Lane, is experiencing issues after the Portland Bureau of Transportation installed gates at the park.
PBOT told KOIN 6 News the gates at the top of Rocky Butte are closed as part of an agreement with Portland Parks & Recreation, crime prevention, the Madison South Neighborhood Association as well as the Rocky Butte Homeowners’ Association.
But the people living right next to Rocky Butte feel unheard.
Rocky Butte is a well-known place for Portlanders to get a view of the city or stargaze.
“I recognize that it’s popular to look at the stars and look at the sky up here, when you get the 120 cars, it would be on a full moon night,” neighbor Bruce Duncan said.
However, PBOT says when the sun goes down, some unsavory behavior happens in the area.
In recent years, PBOT put in the gates, saying this effort started in response to concerns from the neighborhood to curtail the illegal and undesired activities. This includes drinking and driving, vandalism and shootings that happened on the back street loop beyond the gates.
“I’ve objected to the gates by the park since the day they were put in,” Duncan said. “I’ve been complaining about it with PBOT for years.”
But neighbors who live on Rocky Butte Lane say the gates are not stopping any of the bad behavior.
Instead, it shifted the problems onto their street, like Thursday’s shooting that had bullets flying through Duncan’s house.
“The whole area gets congested, and it all comes over here because the park is closed,” Duncan explained.
While the gates stop cars from going in a circle around the park, residents say it has turned their cul-de-sac into the easiest way for traffic to turnaround and now serves as illegal overflow parking at all hours of the day and night.
Portland Police say they are open to hearing suggestions to solve this problem, but that they are not the police bureau they used to be.
“We attempt to play our part and enforce laws where we can, but we also have to be realistic about what we’re capable of doing and sometimes we may not have the resources to respond to a party call,” Portland Police Bureau Sergeant Kevin Allen said.
Meanwhile, PBOT and the Portland parks department declined to go on camera to discuss the problem.
Portland Parks and Recreation said they are “always interested in partnering with other City bureaus on ways we can help promote positive activities in parks and to keep our spaces safe for visitors. This was an opportunity to explore an option to reduce nuisance activity that was primarily driven by vehicles parking in and around the loop of the park, on roads owned and managed by PBOT. PP&R worked with PBOT on how this may impact visitors and our crews, and determined that the benefits of the seasonal gate closure outweighed any negatives.”
KOIN 6 News also reached out to the entire board of the Madison Square Neighborhood Association and are waiting to hear back with their input on the issue.