New cameras and a wireless network will help the Port Angeles Police Department fight a loitering problem at The Gateway transit center and surrounding neighborhood, Downtown Resource Officer John Nutter told community business leaders Monday.
Port Angeles police and Clallam Transit officials told a Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce luncheon audience that there are issues associated with youth and young adults loitering downtown.
Clallam Transit General Manager Terry Weed said that The Gateway transit center, which opened in 2009, tends to be the focus of the “street scene.”
“The Gateway center, for Transit purposes works very well,” Weed told a crowd of about 50 at the Port Angeles Red Lion Hotel.
“It’s a vibrant center. That doesn’t mean there we’re free of problems and issues, as many of you are aware.
“Because of its openness, there is a congregation of people,” Weed continued.
“There’s loitering, there’s behavior activities, there’s language, there’s health issues, there are a variety of issues that are, in a way, a microcosm of our society.”
Some chamber members said loitering is hurting their business.
Port Angeles Regional Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Russ Veenema said some business owners are even concerned about their employees’ safety.
“Of the 12 years that I’ve been down there,” Veenema said, “it does seem to be getting worse.”
Nutter, who has office space at The Gateway, said the city has a $400,000 grant to replace most of the camera system along Railroad Avenue and the Port Angeles waterfront.
“We’re working on an eight-year-old camera system right now that is at the end of life,” Nutter said.
Port Angeles is also in the process of installing a citywide wireless network that will enable officers to access live images of The Gateway from every patrol car and office computer...