Last May, Portland Parks & Recreation expanded the Park Ranger program to patrol 16 of our downtown parks. Rangers replaced private security contractors, and they work in teams year-round to educate park users about rules, and enhance the quality of life in the city.
In addition to keeping our parks safe, Rangers also provide outreach and assistance to people experiencing homelessness in our city. Park Ranger Katie Gribbon has taken a lead on reaching out to our community’s most vulnerable. Katie has helped create positive relationships with people who may otherwise just see someone with a badge - there to only enforce the law.
Even before Katie was a Ranger, she was already involved in homeless outreach. She regularly attended Bridgetown, Inc.’s weekly Night Strike, an event that takes place on the west side under the Burnside Bridge to provide hot meals, toiletries, haircuts, and other basic necessities to those experiencing homelessness.
Katie’s presence at the weekly event has allowed her to strengthen new and existing relationships with Night Strike Attendees. Katie says that people experiencing homelessness have difference needs, and they “can’t be lumped together as all needing the same, uniform services.”
Many thanks to Katie and her fellow Rangers for making a positive difference in our community!