Up Sucker Creek

Up Sucker Creek
Photo Courtesy of the Lake Oswego Library

Wednesday, August 5, 2015

Neighborhoods matter

Rich or poor, neighborhoods matter.  

Stability of home ownership and occupancy matters.

This is the foundation that establishs the social network 
and identity of a neighborhood and it's inhabitants.

This is what Lake Oswego has traditionally been known for.  Lake Oswego is a suburban community of single-family homes where families come to raise their kids, and where those kids come back to raise theirs.  The proportion of rental homes to owner-occupied homes -- generally, but not always, apartments to single-family homes respectfully -- has been low, 29% to 68%.  (US Census)

Why is this important?   

Here is are excerpts from the Portland Tribune, July 30, 2015, By Peter Korn
Gang disorder, part of gentrification blues, moves east 

The majority of Multnomah County gang violence still takes place in inner North/Northeast Portland, according to police.  But the split between gang crimes committed in North/Northeast vs. East Portland is nearing 50/50.

Ironically, [Erika] Preuitt recalls working as a probation officer for gangsters in the '90s and talking to families who felt threatened by the violence erupting in inner North/Northeast.

"They would say, 'I have to get out of North and Northeast Portland, I'm moving to Gresham,'"  Preuitt says, recalling that she encouraged the moves.  Now the gang violence is catching up to some of those families, especially those who settled in some of the more dangerous apartment complexes.  

"When you have a neighborhood -- as opposed to apartment complexes -- there's a structure, there's a cohesiveness.  There's a pride there, an identity with the neighborhood you grew up in," Preuitt says.  "There's a lot more movement in apartment complexes.  There are people who aren't there for 30 year, but for five years, or two years.  For many people it's not a permanent destination."

Of course, there are a lot of causes of gang violence, but that last paragraph can be applied to any neighborhood anywhere, and it doesn't have to do with just safety.  When neighborhoods are disrupted, stability goes down, and apartments can contribute to neighborhood instability.  This is not even to say that apartments are bad for a community, but the key is to keep their size small so people feel an ownership and pride about where they live and will want to make it their home.

Keeping the neighborhoods strong will keep the quality of life high in Lake Oswego.  Stability, predictability and support for neighborhood needs and goals is critical. 

Portland's Most Dangerous Neighborhoods

USC NOTE:  Lake Oswego does not report crimes by address block so pinpointing criminal behavior and trouble spots is impossible for citizens. This should change - like years ago!  With a spiffy new 911 call center, will this public safety information made available online like in other cities?  
Neighborhoods work.  Let's keep them strong and livable!  

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