By any standard, the creation of Pioneer Courthouse Square was a monumental insult to the memory of those who built the early foundations of the city. The square has proved to be a well-meaning but colossal misapplication of public funds that offers an instant, no-admission-charge playpen for every juvenile sociopath within spitting distance of Stumptown.
The older, truly down-and-out vagrant can be assisted in any number of constructive ways in any number of sites other than the heart of the city, and every executive director of every public and private social service agency in Portland knows that. Ms. Nelson, however, seems hell bent on coddling the dippy, hippie youth who believe that aggressive, deviant behavior is some kind of holistic art form that deserves public respect.
Balderdash. Bulldozing Pioneer Courthouse Square down to bedrock, building a year-round ice skating rink and leasing it to a private concern (a la Rockefeller Center) would immediately turn the center of downtown Portland into something resembling the Lloyd Center core rather than the section of the local zoo that houses the lower primates. Would it look, feel, and smell overly commercial, staid, mainstream, and boring? You betcha! Sign me up.