New report to boost business fight against prostitution on 82nd

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By Allyssa Williams, BIZ Reporter.

A comprehensive citizens’ report detailing the root causes and basic problems of prostitution along Northeast 82nd Avenue should be released in early December, according to Dawn Rasmussen, president of the Save Northeast 82nd Avenue Coalition. The report would help guide businesses and neighborhoods in the area on how to effectively handle prostitution.

The plan, a brainchild from meetings uniting Northeast neighborhoods and featuring such panelists as City Commissioner Randy Leonard, President of the 82nd Avenue of Roses Business Association Ken Turner and Lila Lee from the Council for Prostitution Alternatives, will be the first aggressive attempt from the community to curb prostitution by addressing the core of the issue.

Rasmussen is optimistic about making a difference. “82nd is standing up for itself,” she said. “There is new energy, new momentum.”

She hopes the report will give the city, and potentially the nation, resources to proactively manage prostitution and other accompanying crimes in order to increase community livability. For example, the plan would outline the amount of power and extent of action police and neighborhoods have in handling situations of prostitution. Calling the police every time there is a disturbance is a short-term solution, said Rasmussen.

Justin Cutler, chair of the Montavilla Neighborhood Association who has partnered with the Save Northeast 82nd Avenue Coalition, confirmed previously reported incidences of Montavilla parents sweeping little league baseball fields for condoms and needles before their children’s games.

According to Cutler, businesses on 82nd Avenue have been negatively impacted for years due to the bad publicity from the prostitution and the illegal activity that occurs in many of the businesses’ parking lots after hours. He also said evidence shows that three or more strip clubs and porn and lingerie shops in an area, businesses that can be found along 82nd Avenue, increase organized criminal activity.

However, Cutler is also positive about the future of the community. The Fubonn Shopping Center, the largest Asian shopping center in Oregon, is a magnet for positive impact on 82nd Avenue and bringing more locally based companies to that area will provide an encouraging model for businesses, said Cutler.

“82nd is pro-business,” Rasmussen said. “We are highly motivated, eager customers, waiting for businesses to set up.”