Homeless, at Home

Forty Hours at Right 2 Dream Too: An Exclusive Look Inside Portland's Controversial Tent Refuge


Thank you for doing this
Thank you for this story and for emphasizing how a group of organized homeless people can make the streets more safe, rather than less.
What a total bunch of horse shit. You had to make an appointment? What's the point of being outside if you have to deal with more stupid ass bureaucracy? You had your own tarp. Why the fuck didn't you just go sleep in a doorway? Try it for a few days. Get some hot coffee and pastry at Julia West House. Eat at the Blanchet House and Saint Francis Dining Hall. Take a shit up at PSU. You can even take a sponge bath in the toilet stalls. It's not so hard. The weather isn't intolerable if you dress for it and have a decent sleeping bag. The biggest drag, is having to carry abound your gear everywhere. A storage locker makes all the difference in the world. You can even get by with sleeping in there, as long as you don't stay after hours. Sleeping at the tent town is fucking retarded.
Interesting piece. Seemed like there was a number of instances of camp rules that the public have been told are sacrosanct being broken. Is someone being less than honest about the resident's behavior?
Interesting read. How can someone go through the same experience - sleep in the camp - for their own knowledge and to discuss it in class/write about it?
Thanks, Denis. Your words help break down the barriers and misconceptions that exist between the housed and houseless.
nice story / I've been a volunteer with R2Dtoo since their inception, more than 2 years ago
u R right about the transition from the st / out long enough, u build armor 4 protection and it can B hard 2 just shut it off; R2Dtoo survives because peeps know and understand what people without permanent housing go thru, they R democratic, no one person makes the rules and R very forgiving
(Haley if u wanna do what the writer did - go to the rest area at burnside and 4th and ask, 99% chance of Yes)
Big BIG surprise, they let a sympathetic reporter bed down there with them - surely denying such precious space to a truly homeless person.
Was it in the 'O' a couple weeks back, a couple idiots there, who can't even take care of themselves, are now pregnant. WTF?
Denis, this is a great piece, thanks for doing it.

@frankieb, Given your unceasing negative comments about the homeless, I LOVE that you couch your objection in your oh-so-real concern that an actual homeless person might have been denied a tent.

Seriously though, is there some reason you read this paper? You know no one requires you to read a free newspaper that you completely disagree with philosophically, right?
What's really needed is a homeless dating service, where the gainfully employed, can find destitute lovers to take into their homes.
@CC, yet there remains much I do agree with them on, and cherish the youth point of view as well.
I call 'em as I see 'em, what can I say?
This was one of the best features I've read in the Mercury, and I'd like to see more pieces written about the social problems the city deals with. I think Denis approached it exactly as it needed to be - by actually getting to know the people involved and learning about why R2Dtoo works, why people choose it over other shelter options. A lot of privileged, upper middle class white people in Portland love to lament this city's issues with homelessness and the lack of diversity. I don't doubt that they would like to see these things get fixed, but I think most people prefer to see it in the abstract instead of involving themselves, talking to people, learning how they can make change that goes beyond donating money. What's happening with R2Dtoo, the city, and the pearl district seems to be amplifying some serious class issues we're facing here and it's an important thing to investigate. Well done Denis.
Ultimately, these people have to learn to help themselves.
Perhaps the social programs in place do not do enough to help some get back on their feet, but there are many programs out there.
The problem with some of these people, and I'm calling you out Mubarak, is that they are Professional Homeless.
With Dignity Village, the idea was to have a place for these folks to sleep safely and in relative comfort while getting them back on their feet - but the place has many folks living there year after year.
I suspect R2D2 will be much the same, once it gets city-sanctioned and wooden walls replace tents.
And, what about that completely stupid woman wanting to bring a child into a world that she obviously cannot handle?
I don't understand the lack of outrage.
What would you propose, frankieb, genocide? Or do you prefer the old idea of forced sterilization of mental incompetents?
Nope. I think just calling her an idiot is good enough.
But I would have to agree with you that she is obviously mentally incompetent.
President, Ronald Reagan, having watched the fine, black comedic film, "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" acknowledged the actual abuse that was occurring in State mental institutions, all across the United States. His solution was to cut Federal funding. The results are found manifest today, with many of the homeless, who are largely in that situation due to mental illness.
Voluntary, revocable, self commitment to a properly run, mental hospital is the solution to half the homeless problem. However, if a mentally ill or retarded individual keeps getting arrested for acts of violence or theft, then they ought to be sentenced to confinement in a criminal section of such a hospital, rather then sent to prison. However, forced medication and lobotomies are inhumane and criminal, in and of itself. Psychiatry is for the most part, ineffective. First, do no harm.

Okay, so half the homeless are off their rockers. What's to be done with the other half? Tents under a bridge, just don't cut it. Apartments are extravagant. A private room with separate shower stalls and toilets down the hall is more than adequate. The high rise parking structures at Portland State University are vacant at night. Tents could be pitched after evening classes, taken down during the day, and stored on site. There are showers at Peter Stott Center, and toilets all over campus. The precious, new, Recreation Center could be left for the VIP members. Counselors could assist in guests to enroll in school and obtain financial aid. There is even a school of social work where students could get practicum for working with clients to enable them to further integrate into society.