This is Wesley Flowers. He's been camping out outside Nordstrom tonight along with 25 other homeless people in protest at the city's anti-camping ordinance. He just came over to see us for a s'more, and handed us a "ticket." Sorry for the lame-assedly whopping sideways image, it's late, but you get the idea:DSC_0233.JPG

The purpose of the ticket, Flowers says, "is to draw attention to a double standard. It's alright for regular people to be out here tonight camping, before a parade. But for us homeless folks, we get a $250 ticket just for trying to take care of our basic needs. These laws are starting to look like social cleansing solutions. It's alright to come out and campe before a parade, but what if you're homeless."

"The ridiculous thing is, after you hit 24, you don't qualify for a lot of the housing for homeless youth," says 28 year old Hasan Cross. "I'm 28, and there are very limited services for someone like me."

Flowers is also pretty pissed off with responses to a recent article quoting him calling the camping ordinance "economic apartheid" in the Portland Tribune. For example, one commenter wroter this:

For god's sake people get a clue!! the homeless do absolutly nothing for this city. they beg on the streets, pay no taxes, soak up social services, don't spend any money (cause they dont have any), and do nothing to give back or repay the city for their generosity. portland dosent want you people here any more so either get a job or move on. we owe you nothing... you owe us. get off your collective behinds and be a positive force in the community or get the hell out. no more free rides for you losers!

"shoot em all and let god sorte em out"

"If you're gonna call me a bum," Flowers says, "You might as well make the words nigger, kyke, and chink okay again. And we should start having segregated water fountains so the regular people don't have to dirty their lips with my homelessness."

Nice, light-hearted conversation around the campfire. That's what we like.