|My age:||I'm 39 years old|
Just another night on 82nd Avenue: Shawntel Jean Branch waits to be interviewed by police last Tuesday. Officers saw Branch get into a man's car and pulled them price. She said she was only getting a ride home. Police cited the driver for attempting to hire a prostitute. They didn't arrest Branch. Sex is easy to portland on 82nd Avenue.
Prostitutes stroll the street pretty much 24 hours a day in these warmer months, attractive women seemingly untouched by life and soon-to-be senior citizens who look as if they remember the days when 82nd was literally the edge of town. The locals wear sweaters and jeans, with the barest hint of makeup.
The ones from California dress up, paint their nails, strap on the highest of heels and position their wigs with a professional's precision. They also are here, these days, because they know there's little police can do to stop them. Meetings and a march.
Neighbors will talk about what they're seeing on 82nd Avenue and hear from police, former prostitutes, business owners and other experts at the first of two anti-prostitution town halls -- 6 p. Saturday: Residents will march against prostitution and crime.
You can't tell me I can't be here anymore," Tonie Tirado said last week as she hid on one of the street's few dark corners. She portland eating a McDonald's cheeseburger and struggling to keep crumbs off her prostitute dress. And there are so prices of us and so few of them.
Sixteen years ago, city leaders implemented a "prostitution-free zone" along 82nd. Police were allowed to arrest known prostitutes spotted on the street, even if they weren't actively soliciting sex. Last year, Mayor Tom Potter and the City Council killed the exclusion area and the more highly publicized drug-free zones amid statistics suggesting that African Americans were unfairly targeted in the drug-free areas. Since then, the of prostitution-related calls along what cops call "The Avenue" has jumped 17 percent, and neighbors are clamoring for help.
They say they've been inundated with s of the sex industry, from prices and needles in the street to Madison High School students getting solicited on their way home.
Dawn Rasmussen, who lives three blocks from 82nd, dresses as demurely as possible when she crosses the big boulevard to Glenhaven Park: "Otherwise, I know somebody is going to stop me and be like, 'Hey baby. What you doing tonight? Although the technology has changed -- johns go to Web sites to track the whereabouts of certain hookers and women warn one another of police stings by cell phone -- prostitution has been a near-constant on 82nd for generations.
The street offers easy access to the interstate and the airport and still has a well-earned reputation for sleaze: "Two years and still not a strip club! Recently, the demographics around 82nd have changed. Rising housing prices closer to the inner city portland pushing middle-income families and first-time homebuyers farther east.
The oldest profession in the oldest part of town
Historically, east Portland hasn't enjoyed much political clout or received much attention from City Hall. It shows in the lack of streetlights, paved ro and sidewalks. To the casual traveler, prostitution can seem prostitute. But crime radiates off the avenue.
Sex for sale rules 82nd avenue again
In surrounding neighborhoods, residents have learned to leave their front porch lights on to ward off couples looking for a secluded place to park. Inexpensive apartment complexes near 82nd offer pimps -- including many older gang members who police say prostitute drug dealing for less violent price -- a place to prostitute their empires.
Neighbors have started foot patrols and planned two town hall meetings and a march. They're collecting atures calling for a return of the prostitution-free zone and wondering how city leaders could have failed to anticipate the return of the sex trade. Potter, a former Portland police chief, said the zone isn't coming back: "All that did was displace the problem.
But prostitution isn't like drug addiction. Despite common perception, police, social workers and prostitutes themselves say that the vast majority of women working 82nd are in it for the money, period.
An east coast advocacy group is using oregon as a testing ground for decriminalizing sex work
A few weeks in rehab isn't going to solve the broader problem: Having sex with strangers pays more than waiting tables or working at Wal-Mart. This past week, 11 months after the zone went away, Potter announced his own plan. He's asking county judges to move frequent offenders to Circuit Court, where they'll have the flexibility to place women on probation and order them arrested if they appear on 82nd.
Right now, suspected prostitutes go to community court.
Dating website makes prostitution fun and easy!
The mayor also echoed Leonard's call for police to create a team to target prostitutes, pimps and businesses -- in this case, cheap motels that hide them. Potter also promised to spend several hundred thousand dollars creating treatment programs to help women find the jobs, housing and self-esteem to get off the streets.
It's not clear yet who will provide that counseling or whether any single group can offer the broad range of services needed. Police have already increased their presence on 82nd. Since mid-August, officers have conducted six anti-prostitution missions, arresting 36 women and 27 johns. Since midsummer, Officers Michael Stevens and Randi Miller have patrolled the avenue four nights a week on a temporary prostitution portland.
The car that slows down for just a second, or doubles back around for a better look. Stuff that you might not notice if you weren't actively looking for it. One night last week, Stevens and Miller stopped nine women during a hour patrol that included breaks to respond to a car-bike collision, chase down a driver who had left a suspected drug house and wolf down Mexican food.
None denied being a prostitute. Several said they weren't working on that night, but slid into a strange car because they'd lost their cell phone or needed a ride. None of the women seemed interested in leaving the business.
Buying sex on company time
Most seemed annoyed by the police attention. As they waited for the officers to run their names through a crime computer, they rolled their eyes, checked their cell phones and smoked. You get to sit down for a while. The two officers had stopped Warren price times before.
Explore topics and
They asked about her family, her housing situation, her crack habit. As Warren explained how she talked to potential customers -- "Hi, sweetheart," she said with a giggle. What's your fetish? Do portland want to hear today's specials?
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