What’s missing Mr. Balto?

Lots of reasonable demands from Sam Balto and his band of “advocates” to improve safety for biking and walking to our schools but why isn’t the elephant in the room even mentioned? Do we care about the safety of our kids or the rights of the homeless to camp wherever they please regardless of their negative impacts.

I don’t see a problem with a group advocating for things closely related to their long-time focus, while not advocating for things outside that focus, especially when others are already advocating for those things.


If you’re going to advocate for safe biking and walking to schools for children then not having homeless camps on school routes is part of it. Unfortunately camps here have biohazards, and not infrequently include those with drug intoxication, severe and untreated mental health disorders and sometimes violent, dangerous behaviors. To ignore the fact that we need to remove homeless camps from school routes is to deny the reality of current day Portland.

I disagree. There’s nothing wrong or unusual about a transportation-focused group focusing its advocacy on transportation issues.

If a group concerned about safe transportation to schools wanted to advocate only for better biking, or transit, or whatever, that would be fine, too. Or if they wanted to advocate only for cleaning up homeless camps along routes, and stay silent on traffic safety, that would also be fine.

Advocating for some aspects of an issue doesn’t mean a group thinks the other aspects aren’t important.

Asking Mr. Balto what’s missing is to me like asking the Red Cross why they don’t care about childhood cancer because their child safety advocacy focuses on CPR and swimming lessons, or asking the Humane Society why they don’t care about domestic abuse but only animal abuse, or asking a homeless shelter why only care about feeding hungry people but not alcohol abuse, or any of countless other examples.


I’m guessing you don’t have kids walking or biking to school next to homeless camps? In all fairness to Mr Balto he leads rides up in leafy Alameda and doesn’t see many of the conditions on school routes others of us do. It would be nice if he would advocate for our kids as well.

It could be great if he did that, or it could complicate his group’s message. It doesn’t matter to me why. If someone is doing good, I like to let them do good as they see fit, rather than telling them they’re not doing good correctly.

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