- Illustration by Valerie Pensworth
Normally, when the national media write about Portland, it's all about pretty feelgood stuff: Bicycles, environmentally friendly construction, and twee places to shop and dine. But ABC News has just posted a story about what it calls the "dark secret" of a place "routinely voted one of the most livable cities in the country: Portland is a major hub for child sex trafficking.
Predictably, the report drew a tweet from Mayor Sam Adams. "Awful. Unacceptable. Action required," the mayor wrote, while pointing out that he and Police Chief Mike Reese have beefed up staffing to combat sex crimes. Adams has made targeting the illegal sex trade one of his priorities.
So, it's bad. But is this really a secret? Hardly. ABC is not the first national news outfit to shine a light into our fair city's darker corners. And the local folks here haven't been slouches, either.
All that attention is one reason why there has been news like this: Thanks to $900,000 in federal cash earmarked by Sen. Ron Wyden's office, the Portland YWCA is planning to open a shelter for trafficking victims by the end of next year.
And even that won't be enough. Advocate say millions more are needed to make a shelter sustainable. It's grim, but it's hardly a problem that's in the shadows.