New porn palace planned for Parkrose

Neighbors are hopping mad that the Parkrose Glass Co. building is being actively pitched to porn peddlers. See the dramatic steps they’re taking to keep Parkrose from being turned into PORNrose‚

Folks in Parkrose aren’t upset that the closed-down Parkrose Glass Co. building‚ all 5,200 square feet of it‚ has a “For Sale” sign on it. But this advertisement, purported to be found in a local “porn guide”, has driven citizens to take action.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton

“Adult entertainment” establishments continue to pop up in Parkrose.

Because they see this growth pattern as alarming, some residents and business owners took action on April 19 by organizing a meeting at the Quality Inn & Suites & Rodeway Inn on NE Sandy Blvd near I-205.

What galvanized them into action, they say, is that the former Portland Glass Co. building at the corner of NE 95th Ave. and Sandy Blvd. is being offered for sale, specifically, to porn merchants.

Eric Bahme gets to the point and expresses his concern that another new “adult emporium” is about to come to the neighborhood‚ this one directly across the street from their church’s newly-remodeled motel.

“There is no way they should be able to put an adult entertainment complex next to an apartment complex, in a neighborhood, and near a church,” protests Pastor Eric Bahme, of Eastside Portland Foursquare‚ the organization that owns the hotel. “But, the city’s zoning does allow this kind of business right across the street from us.”

Bahme hands off the microphone to Eileen Stocker, who owns Steamers Restaurant and Lounge at NE 83rd Ave. and Sandy Blvd.

“We’ve been at our location for 14 years,” Stocker says. “I’ve seen boys and girls, ruined by prostitution, working the street corner.”

Stocker told the group that she’s counted 12 strip clubs, “modeling” operations, or porn shops in the area.

Parkrose business owner Eileen Stocker says Parkrose citizens have the right to enjoy a livable neighborhood.

“Is a neighborhood filled with porn stores where we want to raise our children? I don’t think so. We have failed our kids.” Stocker calls for action: “We need to let City Hall know we have a right to a livable neighborhood.”

Vice cop talks
We recognize the Portland Police officer who steps up talk next; she says hello — and askes we don’t photograph her. “I’m working undercover with the Drugs & Vice Divison (DVD) now,” she explains.

On stage, she tells the assembly of 72 people, “Portland has the highest per capita rate of strip clubs and adult businesses anywhere in the West, perhaps in the entire country. And, our Yellow Pages and Portland’s ‘Craig’s List’ are filled with ‘escorts’‚ letting anyone order sex right off the Internet.”

The reality, she says, is that the DVD has been pared down to a sergeant and two officers. “We are adamant about doing the best we can. We focus on the pimps and those compelling prostitution.”

Sadly, the cop says, there aren’t many services to help prostitutes escape “the life” due to lack of funding. “And, we’re seeing a big increase in juvenile prostitution.”

Asked how the DVD measures whether or not it is successful, the officer thinks for a moment before answering.

“If we can help one prostitute get away from her pimp, or shut down one business that promotes prostitution‚ this a success. If you want to help, call us; file a complaint if you see prostitution. This is how investigations get started. When the District Attorney’s office sees complaints, we’re sent out to investigate.”

Parkrose neighborhood chair Marcy Emerson-Peters urges neighbors to become involved‚ and let their civic leaders know of their concerns.

Residents speak out
“It’s up to us, to create and maintain healthy environments for all children here,” says Parkrose resident Mary Walker.

“While I understand that you’re with a church,” says a neighbor, looking at Bahme, “this isn’t moral issue with many of us. It’s just that we simply don’t need an adult club on every corner of Parkrose.”

Calls for action
“We’ve started a group called ‘Oregon Porn Law’, declares Bahme. “We’re not trying to get adult businesses closed. But we do want to keep them away from schools, churches, and daycare centers. We have a wider issue, an Oregon issue, which needs to be addressed.”

Bahme asked attendees to write to the current owner of the Parkrose Glass building, asking him to find a more community-oriented buyer.

“The building at 9500 NE Sandy Blvd. has not been sold at this time,” Bahme continues. “He [the owner] has very legal right to sell to whomever he pleases. But if a potential new adult business knows there will be a protest in the neighborhood, they may not take the fight on.”

Bahme asks the group at this organization meeting for continued support. The next meeting is scheduled for June 7.

The next step
Another “Stop the Sale of the 9500 NE Sandy Blvd. Building to an Adult Business” meeting is scheduled for June 7, from 6:30 to 7:30 pm, at Sacred Grounds Coffee Shop, 9727 NE Sandy Blvd. at the Quality Inn & Suites / Rodeway Inn.

“At this meeting,” Bahme says, “We’ll inform people of our process, and gather support for this undertaking. We will have face painting and balloons to occupy the kids while we meet. Light appetizers will be served. If you have already attended one of these meetings, please feel welcome to come to this meeting too. Our city officials listen to numbers.”

Resources:
For more information about the non-profit organization mentioned in this article, go to  www.oregonpornlaw.com.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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