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Intimidated by youth gang

Miami
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Intimidated by youth gang

On Friday evening my husband and I were crossing the street at Pioneer Square and were accosted by approximately 8 college age youth for money. They were wearing green T-shirts that said "Mercy" on them. They flashed camera's in our face, held up personal devices to take our photos, and shoved buckets at us chanting "any amount will help". We are seniors (67 and 70) and short of being mugged, we have only experienced this with gypsies in foreign countries. There is no police presence here. The visitors center was closed. The staff at the visitors center had ignored us when we stopped in earlier. When we reported this to our hotel, they just shrugged their shoulders. You are on your own baby in the heart of Portland!

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r c
Portland, Oregon
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1. Re: Intimidated by youth gang

Sorry it happed to you. Ive never seen people like that around town. I can understand the hotels response since it does not comcern them. But they could have called. Not sure what could have been done though.

What i found is that if you are in a similar situation, is to shout or raise your voice to get back.

As far as police go, they are never around when you need them.

Edited: 9:00 pm, September 20, 2017
Eugene, Oregon
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2. Re: Intimidated by youth gang

Mercy Corps is a highly respected charity organization that does vital work around the world. Any chance these were just overly enthusiastic vollunteers seeking donations? Worth checking with Mercy Corps. I'm betting they will do something about it..or know who can if it was a scam in their name.

Phoenix
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3. Re: Intimidated by youth gang

That was a horrible reaction by the hotel who caters mainly to tourists. Were they implying that it isn't safe there? I hope you asked for the manager. Even if they were not able to do something, sometimes a little empathy goes a long way!!!!!!!!

Reporting this to the charity organization is important. No one should be approached in such a manner. I will be a tourist in Portland next year and would hope that people would be more caring about my well being.

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Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: Intimidated by youth gang

I highly doubt that the word "Mercy" on the t-shirts indicates any kind of connection to Mercy Corps. From what I know of them, they would never endorse that sort of fund raising tactic. So I'm more inclined to think that this group was more along the lines of the "youth gang" description in your thread title. And the shrugs and inattention to your reporting of the incident were a tacit admission of inability to do anything rather than a lack of caring. Some might even argue that city governance is in ways fostering this kind of behavior. Yep, Portland today is far from the city it was even 15 - 20 years ago.

Edited: 10:51 pm, September 20, 2017
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5. Re: Intimidated by youth gang

What hotel were you staying at? 🌹

Fremont, California
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6. Re: Intimidated by youth gang

I am glad you are safe

There is a huge homeless issue in the area.

I agree with mgventures on his comment "Some might even argue that city governance is in ways fostering this kind of behavior"

Your area you were in is "iffy".

Except for dining at some very good restaurants in downtown Portland area, we generally avoid the downtown now.

Its fairly common place in big cities like San Francisco as well to have this type of behavior. (aggressive panhandling).

But bottomline, happy you are safe.

Hope the rest of your trip is much better.

Edited: 3:50 am, September 21, 2017
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San Francisco
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r c
Portland, Oregon
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7. Re: Intimidated by youth gang

Just a comment...

Pan handling has always been a problem in portland and in my opinion is why we are at the point now...i see it as "if you feed them, they will come"... at one time "agressive" pan handling was delt with and was not tolerated and went away. Not sure now.

The local officals is a joke. They bow to little public pressure.

I know its a proplem, but giving $$ away is not a solution.

Heck, giving away free houses is not going to do anything except to draw more in. But you have people feel that it will fix the issues in it makes people feel better about themselves.

I didnt make the connection with mercy corps, but if it WAS part of them, letting them know would be your best bet. I think their corp hq is in pdx too.

I was in sao paulo a few days ago. There were pan handlers in the tube stations waiting at the ticket booth for the change everyone was receiving when buying their tickets. And peopke were giving it to them too.

What is interesting is that i was also on easter island. Dogs and horses run / roam free on the island. You would think that a loose (stray or not?) Dog would go up to you to beg for food. Nope!!! The dogs would not enter a restaurant ether begging for food. They may sit or lay at thr entrance or move on. The dogs kept to themselves or some would roam/nap togeather. No dog fights either and they did not approach you to sniff your crotch. Ive never seen more well behaved loose animals in any place - so far.

Troutdale, Oregon
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8. Re: Intimidated by youth gang

pucgal, I am so sorry this happened. Unconscionable in my opinion.

Your hotel surely could have been empathetic and helped you call the police.

Oregon Coast
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9. Re: Intimidated by youth gang

I completely agree with both mgventures #4 and mini #6 posts.

Aggressive panhandling is a serious problem in Portland. I was in that city last week although in a vehicle and also was appalled at the number of vagrant/homeless camps -- in 'good' otherwise clean & tidy areas of the city. Even though I see the problem on the news almost nightly, it still dismayed me as to how bad it is.

If more visitors to the city would write to the mayor or city council, maybe (big maybe) something might get done. I suggest that you write/email your experience to the mayor's office.

I also would contact your hotel's management! Who knows, if it's a chain maybe you'll get a free night. But more than any perks, the upper management should be informed of the "shrugs" you received. Honestly, the hotel staff probably could not have done anything useful, but a little empathy and understanding could have gone a long way toward easing your distress.

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10. Re: Intimidated by youth gang

Very well-said Half Brit! 🌹

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