Old Town businesses want ‘leadership’ from Portland, MultCo

Civic Affairs

Business owners have meetings with city, county leaders all week

PORTLAND, Ore. (KOIN) — Ian Williams said the Old Town neighborhood where his Deadstock Coffee shop is located feels like it’s more neglected by city and county leaders than it already was.

“I mean, this sounds terrible, but I would like to see leadership” from city officials, Willams told KOIN 6 News. “Right now it’s a big hot potato game, you know? And it’s like, well, ‘You’re in charge of police and you’re in charge of fire and you’re in charge of, well, that’s a 911 problem. I don’t do 911.'”

Other business owners feel the same way. That’s why last week Lan Su Chinese Garden, the Japanese American Museum of Oregon, the Oregon Jewish Museum and the Center for Holocaust Education and the Portland Chinatown Museum sent a letter to city and county leadership. They’re demanding action to save the neighborhood and preserve an important part of Portland’s history.

Ian Williams, the owner of Deadstock Coffee in Portland’s Old Town, October 18, 2021

Monday morning the group met with Mayor Ted Wheeler. They also have meetings scheduled throughout the week with city and county commissioners as well as Multnomah County Chair Deborah Kafoury to hear what their proposed solutions are.

In a statement, Mayor Wheeler said, “Two weeks ago, I approved a request to increase officers in Old Town on foot and bike patrol. These officers were visible in this area this weekend. Also, as part of my Fall Budget Monitoring Process (BMP) proposal I will work to provide more resources towards public safety and grants
available for cultural institutions who are seeking additional security and other support for their
properties.”

Williams will believe it when he sees it.

“Please don’t tell us that you’re going to help us unless you’re actually going to help us,” Williams said. “There’s so much, like, funding for whatever, they tell us money is going this way and that way but nobody knows more than we know because we’re the ones out there.”

KOIN 6 News will continue to follow this story.

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