Light Rail Likely To Raise Vancouver’s Crime Rate Again

by lewwaters

It wasn’t that long ago, just in February that the Columbian was telling us that Clark County saw decrease in crime in 2011, welcome news to any community that wishes to provide its citizens a safe and comfortable place to live.

The report tells us, “Property crime was down by 1.7 percent. Burglaries increased by 11 to 950. Arson, theft and auto theft dropped” while murders saw a tragic increase, in large part due to the brutal act of Tuan Dao and his five children that died in a blaze he set on Easter morning.

But overall, Vancouver saw a 2.1% drop in crime while unincorporated Clark County saw a 9.6% drop. The smaller cities in Clark County saw even better overall decreases in crime in 2011.

That most likely will see a dramatic reversal should the Leavitt Cabal succeed in dragging Portland’s financially troubled light rail across a new bridge over the Columbia River as currently planned.

This is no surprise to opponents of Portland light rail as we have been making this claim for several years while supporters and other pundits favoring Leavitt’s “choo choo train” scoff at the idea and try to remind that the claim of increased crime is ridiculous as criminals already ride across the bridge in cars or buses.

But they are wrong.

Two years ago this blog wrote on a KATU News report where the Clackamas County Sheriff was blaming Portland’s Maxline for a 32% rise in crime in his county. TriMet, on the other hand, scoffed at the notion saying, “We’re not seeing those kinds of statistics. The only thing we didn’t touch was our transit police: that was something we felt was so critical, not only for the agency, but for the community.”

Two years has passed and KATU News revisited the crime rate seen in Clackamas County since Portland’s light rail was forced upon them. They now report Gangs and crime ride into town on MAX, survey finds.

The survey is based upon interviews with 10 different Law Enforcement Agencies across Clackamas County. From that survey, KATU reports,

“Most of the officers and deputies interviewed said not only have they seen a spike in gang-related crime during the past couple years, but they said it’s no coincidence the spike in crime came about the same time the Green line came to town in September 2009.”

“Those interviewed for the survey said they’ve seen more signs of gang activity like graffiti, tagging and drug dealing in the past two years. They said many of those gang members are from out of town or often have ties to gangs in the Portland area.”

KATU also reports on claims by Milwaukie resident Zach Adams who says he doesn’t need the survey to know how much Clackamas has changed since they got Portland’s light rail.

Adams rides the ‘Green line’ every day and said,

“It seems like since the Green line started a lot more trouble has come out this direction from Portland. Clackamas used to be a nicer place and now it’s a lot of graffiti and more fights out here than there used to be.”

Once again, TriMet officials claim the line is “safe,” adding, “there are 25,000 trips on that line every day with very few incidents reported.”

I’d place my trust in officers with 10 separate Law Enforcement Agencies over a paid PR official whose job is painting a rosy picture of the financially failing light rail in Portland.

In spite of several supporters claims that the light rail is “safe,” not a major factor in contributing to crime, a February article at quotes C-Tran officials assuring us they would provide extra security for Vancouver light-rail trains, stations.

They cannot even find the money to turn the first shovel of dirt, but they will provide extra security. tells us,

“Matt Ransom, Vancouver’s manager of long-range planning, told council members Monday night that C-Tran will maintain the stations and provide additional security. Ransom explained that there is a standing committee comprised of fire, police, and C-Tran staff exploring the creation of a security protocol for the system. “There might be intergovernmental agreement where we say, ‘You do this, we do this’.”

Maybe Matt forgets that the city had to beg the federal government for a grant to reopen a closed fire station just last year for 2 years.

Most of us were bewildered to hear the news of a 33 year-old woman killed when the SUV she was driving at a high rate of speed “crashed into a power pole, and smashed through two front yards along East Burnside in Portland.”

What didn’t make as prominent a mention is that the driver was speeding away from a Maxline Platform after assaulting someone.

And we’re supposed to believe this light rail is safe?

Portland needs to keep their “Crime Train” and deal with their own mess.

Not only can we not afford to allow them to intrude into our community financially, we cannot afford to further tax our own Law Enforcement that is already stretched too thin.

30 Comments to “Light Rail Likely To Raise Vancouver’s Crime Rate Again”

  1. I cannot fathom why so many on the city council are persistent in supporting this debacle.

  2. Lew, I just spent a year riding light rail in Britain – it’s got lots of problems: crowded, inconvenient, smelly, noisey, uncomfortable, angst-causing, expensive, scary, and some others if I thought about it. However, the cost/benefit analysis makes sense. Rather than focusing on the bad, let the numbers speak for themselves. As of now, I haven’t been convinced but…?

  3. dem2gop, it’s quite simple. The “powers that be” have been told the same BS over and over again so many times by those waving the dinero in front of their noses, that they actually believe what they are hearing as truth…and they have also been convinced by the same people drumming the hogwash regarding us “Hounds of Whinerville,” that we have no substance in our argument and are against progress. They think they’re making a difference in favor of our community. What they don’t realize is…they’re being brainwashed. They honestly think it’s better to have bike lanes and LR tracks and wires for traffic mobility for commuters in Slugcouver USA. What they don’t realize is there’ll be more slugs reaching their destination on time (most likely right to my squash plants this year) rather than LRT commuters. They don’t really listen to our feedback as they are programmed to agree to what they’re told to agree with. With regards to LRT and bicycles – they also don’t take into effect…the weather. I don’t know about you but I sure as heck wouldn’t be taking my bicycle to work on a typical Spring/Fall/Winter day and I certainly wouldn’t be waiting for MAX here in Vancouver OR in Portland during inclement weather. Been there, DONE that…don’t care to do it again. Several years of Trimet and C-tran’s commute and the …ahem…memories of those excursions cured me from it.

    The powers that be??? They’d bankrupt the working class in order to gain their Utopian Cluster Community(my abridged nickname for that BTW) rather than go for the common sense approach. Do you ever hear of either mayor riding their bicycles to work in the pouring down rain and wind or when the temperature deeps below 35 degrees??? I wonder how it works for them when the snow shuts down the schools??? You think they’re standing out in the cold, snowy/drizzly/icy/rainy weather at a MAX platform or at a C-Tran bus stop??? Maybe for PR purposes.


    How ’bout it Mayor Leavitt??? I know you frequent Lew’s blog site. Care to tell us what your favorite mode of transportation is during our “NORMAL” Spring/Fall/Winter weather??? You know…the days of liquid sunshine and cold??? I’d love to hear it. Maybe you could prove me wrong!!!

    Why does the movie “Soylent Green” come to my mind every time the current mindset of progress (by the powers that be in Portland and Vancouver) is the topic???

  4. Martin Hash says the cost/benefit analysis of light rail makes sense. (London based?) That is not at all obvious to me for our community. Martin, for our community, what are the costs and what are the benefits that lead you to say that the “numbers” “make sense”? I must say that your list of the “bad” doesn’t enspire confidence and encourage support. Do you believe it would be different here?.

  5. Steve, I agree that what works in Britain is simply a data point. I’m still waiting to see a cost/benefit analysis of CRC that makes sense. Personally, I can’t imagine using mass transit unless forced to. However, it is clear that a society is benefited by “freedom of movement” but it should be up to voters whether they are going to foot the bill.

  6. MY property experience in East Portland during my years of living there post MAX development are horrible. After years of construction which shut down so very many businesses I can’t even begin to remember all of them, the line opened. During icy weather the MAX trains have issues because the wires get ice buildup on them and need manually thawed making trains late. When there is an accident, and there are plenty of them, they are nearly always fatal and cause hours of delays on the lines. Crimes do go up. I spent hours waiting for response to a crime with the person still inside my home! The police were too busy handling a fatal accident to be able to get to my house in resonable time. It took them over 5 hours with many appologies I wasn’t harmed physically but my home was completely destroyed by the vandalism of a drugged out freak who broke pipes and punched holes in walls while smashing windows and damaging my cherrywood cabinets. Not to be cold about it but the dead person was already dead and I was hiding in my home waiting and calling 911 for help! Too much crime and not enough police budget money to cover the fallout. Property taxes went up but values dropped even while they were increasing in other areas of the city. It got really hard to sell a home. The apartment complex near the line that I owned went from being a lovely 12 plex for small families to druggies and gangs causing damage to the property and decent tenants to move out. Being picky about wanting nice people it took months to rent units when my rates were reasonable because nobody wanted to live near the lines. The neighborhood got a bad reputation over the last 15 years and when I finally caved throwing in the towel, sold out about three years ago, the property for all my hard work and remodeling efforts, had lost value because it had been dubbed a nuisance area property. This is your future with lite-rail!

  7. Martin D. Hash—- However, the cost/benefit analysis makes sense.
    JK——————– What??? MAX costs $1.61 per passenger-mile. That is about 8 times the cost of a car.
    Light rail is the sole reason bridge tolls are needed. Without rail, the CRC is a $1/2billion project with a local match not much more than has already been allocated to studying Tim’s Toy Train.

    If the toy train saved money, C-Tran would not need more money to operate it!


  8. I hear you, Jim, but public transit isn’t about saving money – it’s about providing “freedom of movement,” an implied guarantee in the Constituition. Societies benefit when their populations can get around so society subsidizes it. (That’s the Con Law in me speaking.) Practically speaking (the Professional Engineer part of me), there are better options than light rail – less expensive, more convenient, less prone to exploitation by politics. Other options must be offered. New technologies must be investigated. A light rail vote MUST go to the people.

  9. Food for thought….any idea who said this Martin??

    “There are three main reasons why we don’t have enough money to maintain or build our highways.

    1. We are wasting our gas taxes on non-highway boondoggles like exorbitantly expensive light rail, BRT, and transit extremism that worsens congestion.

    2. Instead of using much of our gas taxes for actual road construction projects that are practical efficient and competitively bid, politicians squander it on nonsense with no bids under the pretense of “studies”, that are better described as fraud.

    3. Irresponsible financial decisions by foolish politicians instead of paying as we go, borrowed everything they could up front with no thought of the future. They already spent it. So now 2/3 of every dollar (67%) goes for nothing but debt service.

    Now they say there is no money for roads so we need tolls when we have one of the highest gas taxes in the nation. When a teenager complains that there is no money for gas because his credit card is maxed out, the solution is not to give him another credit card to max out. Tolls are exactly that.

    We must stop the insanity of out of control spending, wasting our taxes on foolishness, accumulating unsustainable debt, and then demanding more. We must live within our means and be more wise with our resources. We can no longer afford the behavior of Jim Moeller or Tim Leavitt and his followers. It is time to get back to financially sound principles and make smarter decisions. The future will come whether we squandered it or provide for it.”


  10. Freedom of movement??? With Light Rail??? Martin…you’ve GOT to do better than that!!! Light rail is hardly freedom of movement! A fixed rail on a fixed route, loading passengers into sardine cans on rails maintained on a stringent schedule rarely met, taxing and fee-ing and tolling the heck out of every single person trying to keep food on their family’s dinner table. Of course, I guess I should give credit to who came up with the idea of “freedom of movement…” and that is our grand and glorious “experts,” huh! They always seem to know whats best for us since we can’t do that for ourselves…so they think.

    I’d hardly consider light rail or any form of mass transit as “freedom of movement” or freedom of any kind since the average commuter is being hit at the pocket book no matter if he’s coming or going. All it does is add to the congestion through the creative works of those in the development industry, putting on a facade of that wonderful new look we all expect to see. Funny how 9 times out of 10, the developer’s designs never truly look like the end result.

  11. Bob Koski wrote, “We must stop the insanity of out of control spending, wasting our taxes on foolishness, accumulating unsustainable debt, and then demanding more. We must live within our means and be more wise with our resources.”
    Why…that’s UN American! Darned unpatriotic of you….

  12. Sooo….can anybody please tell me how they’re going to fit such a monstrous “park and ride” structure at Central Park like this one I found, courtesy of the CRC website??? I see there’s no overhead lines on MAX. And just where is I-5 in this picture??? Also…where are the BRT vehicles which are supposed to be C-Tran’s folly??? All I see is one of the older buses in the depiction. Mind you…only sparse one-way traffic on Fort Vancouver Way next to Clark College, the VA Hospital, Marshall Center and Hudson’s Bay High School??? The crowd of people in the photo…hardly representing the foot traffic there. (As I’ve said…the end result rarely looks like the conceptuals!!! Ohhh, if people would only wake up and smell the coffee!!!

    Click to access Central_PR_Concepts.pdf

  13. Bob, all those points are valid. They also all have easy solutions. Not pleasant – but easy. For example, in the near future, this country is going to experience hyperinflation like it’s never seen before – that will settle the debt and redistribute wealth. Also, Social Security will be forced to become truly socialized when their bonds start being called in for the Baby-Boomers. Healthcare will continue to inflate until it explodes and will be forced into Single-payer. Oil prices will force us back to nuclear. Our people are already sick-and-tired of foreign military adventures. Banks will crash again which will force back regulation. These things ARE GOING TO HAPPEN.

    Will you be ready to step into the chaos and help make things right for the next time around? My impression is that you will.

  14. That quote was David Madore from today, by the way. Well said too….

    Martin, do you know what the smallest possible segment of Liberty really is?? The individual Rifleman.

    Lew Waters will probably back me up on this, but rather than “stepping into the chaos”, I’d rather stand off and put multiple rounds on the threat, reliably, from several hundred yards away.

    If you don’t own some sort of rifle – right now- then you have made a personal decision about what you do not need to own for the sake of your own Liberty.

    If you do own a rifle, but cannot repeatedly put rounds in a 20″ target in various shooting positions at 250 yards – right now – then you are a hobbyist.

    If you don’t spend a few hundred dollars to learn how to shoot properly then a hobbyist you shall remain.

    If you’re not a Rifleman in the country or a Pistolero in the city, then you’re merely food waiting to be eaten. An armed society is a safe society, and if TSHTF Martin, and I hope it never does, I and many more like me are more than ready to “make things right”, but not by just mouthing platitudes and expecting other men to do our fighting for us.

  15. Bob, dude, that’s epic.

    I don’t own a gun. Hopefully, I’ll never need to. (I certainly agree with your right to own as many as you want.)

    We are not barbarians. (Some are – not most.) LIke the Depression, things will work out without military intervention or survivalism. There ARE INTELLIGENT, SINCERE, INCORRUPTABLE leaders out there who will finally get voted into office when times get hard. Lots of them. When the goin’ gets tough…

  16. Just a little bit ahead notice – Thank you to all of the veterans that post here for their dedication and time in the military service and for those who gave the ultimate sacrifice. If you see a veteran at any time in the 365 day calendar, please thank them! Monday is Memorial Day….

  17. Martin D. Hash, can you please provide the link to the cost/benefit analysis.

  18. John Laird refers to a cost/benefit analysis also. I know I asked Don Wagner for a copy of it over a year ago and he told me there isn’t one. Tim Leavitt and Steve Stuart both asked for a cost/benefit analysis several years back when they were on the Project Sponsors Council. They don’t do them any more. How do you quantify such benefits as saving the planet?

  19. Carolyn Crain, I also sorry to hear what happened to you because of light rail. Thank you for the warning. Your story needs to be told and heard by everyone.

  20. Robert, I used to have links to all that CRC stuff when I was promoting it – looked around, can’t find them now. However, you may be confused, the positive cost/benefit I was talking about was for Britain’s public transit. The CRC docs had very little analysis – certainly nothing an engineer would accept.

  21. Martin, yes Steve Stuart asked for a benefit/cost analysis on tolls. I asked Don Wagner if that had been done and he said no. He did not tell me what I had heard from an engineer from FHWA that they do not do them anymore. It’s too risky.

    I too, used to promote a new bridge. Back in about 1999 my wife argued with Brian Baird for a new bridge to add capacity to the crossings. What we got with the CRC does not add capacity – that’s the Adams Doctrine, No tolls no bridge. Light rail is what makes the CRC prohibitively expensive because the have to bring the interchanges up to modern 70 mph standards.

  22. Robert, if they wanted to build a “Third Bridge” with tolls – that would probably pencil out. (No tolls on existing bridges, just new capacity.)

  23. There’s something that has been puzzling me for quite some time and if someone would be so kind as to explain the mindset of the “third bridge” on the east side OR the history of planning in our county. For the 20 years I lived in Portland (Rockwood before LRT) and the remaining 34 years I’ve lived here in Vancouver, I’ve been trying to fathom the planning design of Clark County…a rather scattered planning scenario with no single design fundamental other than providing roadways and bridges which become inferior in design within 5 years (hence Padden and SR-500) and at taxpayer expense, multi-million dollar redesigns are incorporated. Minimalls have sprouted throughout the county…many with few or no takers, roads to nowhere and subdivisions with roadway improvements but no homes. I’ve been to 192nd Avenue on many an occasion and have noticed the “retail industry” sprouting several mini malls, a CostCo, WalMart, JC Penney’s, Lowes and Home Depots, along with other mini malls to the south. And the high density cluster developments surrounding these mini shopping centers…Is this the type of investment we need in Clark County??? More stores and less wage-earning jobs to support families as our economy continues to tank?

    Why would we even consider a third bridge on the east side? Can anybody else see the increase in traffic is directly related to the high density development allowed by our planners without any consideration for improvement in jobs which sustain families in that region? We’ve lost Boise Cascade, VanAlco (Alcoa), HP, AVX, Technaflow, Jantzen and a plethora of other companies with sustainable wages…and what do we have in return? I know…we’ve got US Digital (thanks to Mr. Madore), but what else is here??? Dollar Tree Warehouse??? More WalMarts??? sigh….

    I don’t know about you folks, but I certainly do not agree with the vision of the future with regards to the NAFTA Superhighway concept…aka Corridors of the Future. I’d much rather see high-tech industries multiply here rather than mini malls and cluster communities. Are we only a society of commercialism and marketing??? Is that what you want with Clark County?

    As far as I’m concerned, I believe the west side of Vancouver has the right idea with the industrial zone…bringing in new companies close to rail yards and ship yards. Improving a once industrious waterfront by encouraging business to move to our side of the river. The THIRD BRIDGE needs to be one which allows freight transit and the employees commuting to those locations…a bypass bridge to the shipyards of Portland…one which connects to West Marine Drive is the only improvement, NOT one on the east side generated by the cluster developments.

    And sorry my writes are so long, lately.

  24. Goldie, as I understand it, a third bridge on the west side would be to divert truck traffic directly to the ports and off of I-5 and the I-5 bridge.

    Most I know who advocate a third bridge speak of it being on the east side where the population growth currently is.

    Let’s face it, though, the only reason for a new I-5 Bridge is facilitate Portland’s financially failing light rail.

    Even if light rail actually were needed over here, it too would be more effective on the east side, not down I-5

  25. I know what you mean Goldenoldie, and it concerns me too that Vancouver has worked so hard to convert former heavy industrial property to retail and residential. The continuing saga of the waterfront development at the former Boise Cascade site is an excellent example.

    The Port of Vancouver has been doing all of the industrial development in the Western County, and lots of it. When they finally finish the West Vancouver Freight Access Project the Port of Vancouver will rival the Port of Portland in activity. Far West Steel has broken ground on their facility and it will be up and running in a few year.

    The problem I have with the 3rd bridge concept that has been floating around for years, and primarily driven by Sharon Nassett, is that it creates a connector between the Port of Vancouver via Hayden Island, over to Sauvie’s Island to connect with Oregon SR-30. That highway is already a death gauntlet and adding heavy truck traffic will not improve it. Besides, Sauvie’s Island is just about the last productive agricultural land left in Multnomah County, and I can guarantee you the residents will not have anything to do with building a connector over the top of them.

    The problem with I-5 is that Oregon was last in line to agree to the final route it would take. The Arts and Croissant Crowd in Portland screwed the pooch for years arguing about what a fright the bridges would be, but insisted that I-5 had to go through Portland. Governor Tom McCall finally settled things when he set the route and signed the bill to authorize construction of I-5 along the existing corridor. It is interesting to note how quickly I-205 went in on the heels of I-5. There was a clear need for I-205 in the first place, and it could have easily been designated as I-5, and probably should have been.

    A new bridge should be planned to take pressure off of I-205 and I-5 by building it in East Vancouver to connect over in Oregon to I-84. That would provide a bypass of Portland for a lot of traffic and a reasonable toll on such a bridge would pay it off in a reasonable amount of time, then come off. I think that makes much more sense than fighting a losing battle to build a bridge over Sauvie’s Island….

  26. Bob – your comments remind me of 25+ years of what I have heard. East Multnomah County still has some farms but your correct, about the only thing worth a darn for farming is out northwest of St. Johns and Sauvie Island.

    I remember a discussion some time back about putting a bridge around Lady Island, just east of the I-205 bridge. Maybe around 164th Avenue? 192nd near Camas? I don’t remember all of the particulars but I do remember there were some discussions in upper echelons about it some time ago.

    There was also some talk about putting a bridge near Felida – Ridgefield and sending it over near Scappoose in the 1970s along Highway 502. Who was that I was talking to? hmm… Maybe someone here who has been around longer than I might remember this bridge. This area was far north of the 134th st interchange – merge. I still remember that the Highway 502 fingerling dead ends in the Ridgefield Wildlife refuge.

  27. Lew, it’s all the more reason to push for freight mobility west of the I-5 Bridge rather than east of the I-205 Bridge. The shipyards and rail yards to all points beyond are west, not east. I agree with you about the underlying reason for the CRC in it’s current mega fiasco. I find it deplorable that they have been allowed to continue the spending without any regard to our nation’s economic climate.

  28. Bob, you make a very valid point regarding the Boise Cascade property…just more of the same old, same old cluster development. Regarding the third bridge on the west side…Hayden Island on the west end is already for the most part a port/industrial district. Yes, there’s still residential living, but that is before the railroad bridge. Sam Adams has already put the move into making that an active port development facility. I believe there’s also an auto auction place there as well since I recall seeing several semis with racks of used vehicles headed past Jantzen Beach.

    I wanted to point out the fact that Hayden Island Drive is continually sinking due to the sandy underlayer of the island. The semi’s do not help the issue. With a third bridge which would have a stop at Hayden Island and through to West Marine Drive past the old slaughterhouse…possibly paralleling the railroad tracks, avoiding the Expo Center altogether would suffice. Sauvie Island would not even be affected. And Believe me…you are speaking to a person with a lot of involvement in history regarding the preservation of historic native American land, wildlife habitat AND of course…the farms. I noticed in recent years, there’s wineries developing around the area as well. Oops…now I’m getting side tracked.

  29. GO, a third bridge that connects over to Marine Drive would be a horse of a different color than the original proposal which went over to SR-30. I’d have to think on that one for a bit. Not sure how that would ease traffic on I-5 completely, but it might help. There is still plenty of thru-truck traffic up and down I-5 that connects East and West with I-84 which is the main route out of the gorge.

    But I would also point out that I-84 is frequently subject to closure to truck traffic in the winder due to ice, snow, high winds and even rockslides. In truth this whole area is vulnerable to being closed off for an extended period of time because the main roadways are so vulnerable. How many times has railroad service between Seattle and Vancouver been disrupted because of a slide on the tracks? Remember the Centralia flooding that closed I-5 completely??

    Many of the arguments about the faults found on I-5 through Portland apply to pretty much the entire I-5 corridor through Washington almost to the Canadian border.

    As to Hayden Island…as I recall Sam had proposed an expansion of the Port of Portland terminal on the West end of Hayden Island but the area he was talking about is a preserve and the residents over there didn’t think much of that idea either.

    And you’re right about those semis. They don’t help the existing Interstate bridges either, because neither one of those spans was designed for three lanes of heavy truck traffic like they carry now. Keep in mind that a regular semi can weight up to 80,000 lbs, so it speaks well of the impressive level of over design in the existing structures that they keep taking the constant beating from traffic that they do.

    Now you have me off on a tangent…..too bad we don’t have a pot of coffee…..

    Cheers GO! Its always great to chat with you….

  30. Bob, it’s nice to chat with you as well…along with the other classic chat group and newbies! So how’s that garden growin’ this year??? Oops…I’m going off kilter on the subject again! Regarding the semi truck traffic…if they’re headed east on I-84, the majority of the truckers who are familiar with the corridors know it is easier catching I-205 from both directions. Bob, there’s quite a list of ports of call in Portland and West Vancouver’s shipyards are growing. Not only do you have the shipyards, you also have the rail yards of UP right smack dab under the Fremont Bridge, along with the rest of Swan Island.

    Wouldn’t it make sense to improve freight transit mobility away from the squeeze chute?

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