Concerns on Clark Path: The city listens – Hasso Hering


A perspective from Oregon’s mid-Willamette Valley

Concerns on Clark Path: The city listens

Written September 21st, 2018 by Hasso Hering

Parks Director Ed Hodney, right, makes a point in Friday’s gathering near the Willamette Community Garden.

Trash left by transients along the riverfront and Dave Clark Path may be an intractable problem, but Albany city officials are not giving up. They will consider even cameras to deter or detect illegal camping.

That’s my take-away from a small meeting Friday of Clark Path neighbors with Ed Hodney, parks and recreation director, and three others from the city administration. Russell Hawke (white T-shirt in the photo) organized the get-together.

Hawke bought a house and moved to Edgewater Village on the Clark Path from elsewhere in Albany six months ago. He was prompted to action after finding — and picking up — loads of trash along the riverbank below the path. (On Thursday he flagged me down as I was cycling near his house and told me of the planned gathering, so on Friday the bike took me there to listen in.)

The stuff left behind by riverbank squatters has long been a problem. The worst of it is out of sight of people who use the path on foot or on bikes, but Hawke also boats along the river below and has a closer view.

Another and continuing concern is that transients are bothering nearby residents with troubling behavior — incoherent shouting, intruding on private property, drinking and drug use, leaving needles behind, and so forth.

Hodney and the others talked for close to an hour. Among the themes: The parks crew will try to respond more quickly when piles of trash need picking up. Neighborhood volunteers may organize to patrol the path and environs and also pick up refuse, as some have been doing all along. City code compliance officer Kris Schendel will explore the possibilities of video surveillance.

One point on which everyone seemed to agree: The more public use the path receives, the fewer problems with improvised camping there should be.

Hodney said he won’t let the matter drop. He told the four residents attending (and one who stopped while walking her dog), they should meet again by mid-October to go over some options and review what is feasible to do. (hh)

11 responses to “Concerns on Clark Path: The city listens”

  1. @CorvalliSteve says:

    Do officers walk a beat anymore? Or bike? Or is that just for events?

  2. Parcella says:

    To those concerned citizens patrolling the path; use good judgment in your treatment of others. A decent citizen screamed profanities as he told my husband to leave the area. WE LIVE A BLOCK AWAY. We are retired, quiet, respectful locals, but I guess he wasn’t dressed up to some invisible code.

    • Bill Tally says:

      Try not to take it personally or let her action deter you, this person was likely misguided! Just know that most appreciate contributions by others volunteering to improve their community.

  3. HowlingCicada says:

    Need more public use? You have the pieces of a good bicycle thruway from downtown and North Albany to the Winco and Costco shopping area. Mostly paths and quiet streets. All it needs is signage, maps, and maybe clearing some small obstacles.

    1 – Dave Clark Path
    2 – Front Ave, detour south around the block at Harrison/Water/Cleveland
    3 – North on Waverly Dr, NE
    4 – Path to Salem Ave. starting near Talking Water Gardens entrance
    5 – Cross Salem Ave, path (either way) around Waverly Lake and under Pacific Blvd. (another place needing more public use)
    6 – A little east on Pacific to Killdeer, or take the path beginning just before Killdeer, south to Bain St, east on Oakwood Ave, to the southeast corner of Costco.

    There may be nicer and shorter (but more seasonal) alternatives involving Simpson Park and the trail from Bowman Park, instead of Waverly Blvd.

  4. James Engel says:

    Ya know, this “Dave Clark Bike Path Problem” has been a real & documented problem for years! So why do you buy in that area & then complain?? All that path has done is give those “scoundrels” a quick path back-n-forth from ends of town often out of view of any patrol encounters. And pray tell just who will monitor these cameras if installed??

    So where are the liberal Democrats who’ve legislatively done away with vagrancy laws! They’re no help now. Albany didn’t have a “vag” problem when I was on patrol in the 70’s. We’d just haul them up to the south Jefferson exit & out they went. Or out to the R/R yard at end of NE Waverly Dr. END of problem!

    • J. Jacobson says:

      Helping one vagrant at a time – into Cattle Cars. One shudders to think this manner of thinking prevailed inside the Albany PD. What? Did the cops don white hooded sheets and carry torches? The 70s in Albany were tough unless you were a tax-payer, a Caucasian tax-payer.

      • James Engel says:

        To J. Jacobson. With all respect, would you kindly go about Albany collecting these present day scoundrels and take them home, provide housing, food, clothing & medical services that burden us so that we others might learn some semblance of humanity! These present day “scoundrels” just want-n-want-n-want-n-want! They will NOT take responsibility for their lackness!!

    • HowlingCicada says:

      “””And pray tell just who will monitor these cameras if installed??”””

      AI (artificial intelligence) – no need for a lot of police time. Cameras can be completely portable, solar/battery powered, connected by 5G, and easily moved to keep vagrants on their toes. All will be feasible in a few years, if not already here.

      Whether or not a “surveillance everywhere” society is benign will depend on the good will of those in power. Here’s a simple test: if I can make an obscene gesture toward any camera and not be bothered in any way by authorities, then it’s benign. If not, then we have a big problem.

  5. Diane Clark says:

    I really appreciate that concern is arising about the negative condition the bike path has prompted. As Dave Clark’s wife, it really hurts that so many problems have happened to the much needed path. It hurts to have his good name connected to such problems. Thanks for starting to figure out some solutions and getting involved. Thanks to Hasso for the news. More good use will scare off the bad maybe. Let’s hope to save the path for Dave’s sake of all the great parks he did for us.

  6. Bob Woods says:

    1) Trash littering areas, whether public or private, is a problem.
    2) Being homeless and having no place to be clean and safe is a problem.

    Using the police to throw citizens out of town just moves the problem and it’s long past time to quit using the Police to “solve” social and mental health issues.

    If you solve #2 then #1 will be mostly solved.

    Focus on the root of the problem not the symptom.

    • John Jay says:

      OK Bob, you have the floor, what’s your solution? Explain… “Focus on the root of the problem not the symptom.” Do you want to increase taxes and bonds on the housing inventory in order to create revenue that will make housing more affordable for the homeless?


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