Walking Tom McCall Waterfront Park today, in the beautiful fall sunshine, with my pregnant friend. Is it my imagination, or have all the park benches been removed? Been enjoying the waterfront park since the 1980s, and I remember there being park benches for people to use to sit and enjoy the views and people watching. Please tell me the benches haven't been taken away as part of an apparent ongoing citywide campaign to keep the houseless from "staying out too long," much like the way many municipal garbage cans have been taken away to keep people from actually using them (instead of having to just litter wherever). And while I'm on the subject, why is it now normal for Portland's downtown small parks and fountains to be defunct and or fenced off like a sad ghost town? COVID pandemic, roving bands of rioters, homeless camps, recession? So many excuses for county and city governments to just stop caring about public accomodations, civic beauty, and public art and fountains. When Hizzoner Ted is done blaming the commission system for not being able to govern, maybe he'll step up and show a little spine and leadership. Just maybe.