Problematic Behavior or Activity
The Dave Clark Trail is an underused City Parks & Recreation Department trail in Albany. The trail is the subject of recurring patrol calls that include drinking, drug use, suspicious circumstances/people, and camping. There is a perception in the community that the trail is unsafe. It runs parallel to the Willamette River, as well as Albany’s downtown businesses and residential housing. The paved trail begins at Monteith Park, which hosts summer concerts and activities, next to the Albany Senior Center. The trail is approximately 1.5 miles long and ends at Sherman Street in a residential neighborhood.
Due to the lack of use by “normal” recreational users, the presence of “abnormal” users, and the decreased attention to maintenance along the trail, what should be a pearl of downtown Albany had become a place to avoid. The Albany Police Department (APD) increased its patrols for transient camps in 2014 and 2015 along the Dave Clark Trail and within the adjacent parks.
Crime Prevention Through Environmental Design (CPTED) principles were used to evaluate the whole of the trail. APD began discussions and reviews with the Albany Parks & Recreation Department to discuss changes and maintenance along the trail. They identified multiple places with poor lines of sight and overgrown vegetation, as well as unpruned areas, and areas with junk and trash. It was also determined that only a portion of the trail had lighting, which was not compatible with CPTED recommendations.
Over the course of a year, city personnel, a Linn County inmate work crew, and civic groups worked on the identified areas to improve lines of sight, remove hidden spaces near the trail, and remove trash. The Albany PD increased its presence and enforcement along the trail. Members of the APD also spoke with local businesses about safety concerns.
The most significant determination was that improved lighting would improve the safety of the areas. It was proposed to replace all Monteith Park lighting and existing lighting with appropriate T1, T3, and T5 LED lighting. It was also proposed to add additional lighting along the entire length of the trail.
Based On Research
It was quickly determined that there was no money in the Police or Parks & Recreation’s budgets to revamp the lighting along the trail. The APD took its proposal to Kate Porsche, the city’s director of economic development and urban renewal. It was determined that the project should be presented to the Central Albany Revitalization Area (CARA) Advisory Board. After multiple presentations on CPTED and feasibility, followed by contractor bidding in December 2015, CARA approved the spending of approximately $352,000 for the new lighting.
Critical Success Factors
- Cultivate a good relationship with Parks & Recreation staffing.
- Involve electricians and lighting specialists that understand lighting types.
- Consider using cooperatives to save money on contractors and supplies, rather than using the bid process.
- Involve both business and homeowners from the beginning. Get written statements of support from each to present to council.
- Train your city council on CPTED.
Giving an on-site demo of what your area could look like with proper lighting had a great impact.