Nice work Hales! Keep it up. Come back five times a day and roust them. Don't forget that lots of other parts of the downtown have the same problem.

We need to change the rule about storing and cataloging their useless crap. Just bring it to the dump, and throw them in lock up for a two week minimum. They'll get the message.

Sorry your friends are getting harassed, Denis. But you can invite them shoot up heroin at your place instead of in my park.
This gonna be awesome when Hales costs the city millions in court costs and pay-outs for violating the Civil Rights of these people.

Has Hales put ANY fucking program forward to actually getting people off the streets or is he just asking the PPB to move them along? Fucking dumbass of a shitty-mayor not dealing with the real fucking problem in any way at all.

"And almost every Portland resident agrees with these rules." Fucking liar just making shit up randomly.
Wrong approach. I agree something needs to be done....if I had a dollar for every time some crust punk accosted me by the food carts on 3rd with "I'll trade you a high-five for a bite of your sandwich" or "You done eating that?!" or the times I've seen them actively block peoples' paths to aggressively ask for a cigarette, I'd be able to rent them a fucking apartment.

But the thing is...just kicking them off a particular piece of sidewalk does nothing to solve the problem (especially if that particular piece of sidewalk is selectively enforced in particular parts of downtown, like City Hall) and simply forces them to go elsewhere.

With the absence of a constitutionally-defensible sit-lie law, I don't have a good solution to this (and I don't think sit-lie is an ethically-defensible approach). Does anyone? There has to be a better way to step up to the plate.
I urge any and all of Portlands homeless advocates to adopt one of these people and provide them with free room and board at their own homes. If everyone has a right to housing, as they claim, then we can start with your couch.
Graham, what is your plan for "actually getting people off the streets"?

These gutter punks don't respect you because you "care" for them. They think you are a mark.
There is a legitimate question about whether Mr. Hales is qualified to be mayor of Portland. He kept a condo in Portland while living in Vancouver, WA, from 2004-2009, and while voting in Oregon avoiding paying approx. $100,000 in taxes here…

Mr. Hales received a majority of the vote in the Nov. 2012 runoff election mostly because his opponent was revealed at the last minute to have punched a woman in the face. Portland deserves an opportunity to make a better choice-- it's time to recall Mr. Hales and elect a mayor who will lead our city with intelligence, heart, honor, and integrity.…
@Blabby: Generally speaking, dramatically increased spending on housing, job training, and mental health services. Just because you're obsessed with the 'gutter punk' population doesn't mean that they actually constitute any significant portion of the homeless population; they're just the most visible at the moment.
I'm fine with some increased spending, but the amount of spending needed to "address the problem" would be infeasibly huge.

If we could shut down the gross abuse of urban renewal in Portland, money would flow back to the county to allow some better mental health services. At the same time, $.25 of every city property tax dollar would stop going to urban renewal and could be used on other things like housing.

But you can't spend your way out of this problem. It is sadly a bottomless pit. If we house 1,000 people, 1,000 others from all over the West will show up because they hear that Portland is giving people housing.

That is why a "10 year plan to end homelessness" is an oxymoron that should have been laughed out of City Hall and any self-respecting housing agencies. The programs involved have been laudable, but the adoption of such a title shows that they don't actually understand the reality of the problem.
@Graham, just like you cannot add freeway lanes to permanently cure traffic congestion (more lanes equals more cars rushing to use them) you also cannot simply add more housing to cure homelessness (build it and they will come). Portland added several hundred housing units in the Bud Clark Commons, the no strings attached "Gold Standard" of least-harm housing, but I have yet to see any numbers about how that reduced the homeless population in any way in the city. All I read about is more homelessness. Where are the studies exploring how and why Bud Clark Commons failed? Why should we believe anything from anyone who ever advocated for Bud Clark Commons?

Have you spoken with any of the "protesters" outside city hall? The groups I spoke with (about 10 people total, only half having been in Portland more than a year) denied any interest in mental health/drug treatment, job training, or anything that would help them off the streets. They simply stated that they deserved to be on the sidewalks because it is public property.

How do you give job training to someone who does not want to be trained? How do you provide mental health treatment for someone who refuses it and cannot legally be forced to accept it? Your rose tinted solutions are unattainable.
@zenriver: Not only are your facts wrong (it was Stevenson), that has already been investigated and it is quite clear (except to a few nuts who refuse to believe so) that he abided very plainly by the letter of the law. His intent was to return to Oregon--like a college student, temporary ex-pat, military servicemember, etc.--and therefore he was entirely eligible to vote from what he considered his permanent residence.

@bridger: The estimated homeless population in Multnomah County is ~5,000. Bud Clark Commons has 130 units (not several hundred like you claim). Also, that facility opened two years ago; it might be a *bit* premature to call it a failure.

So at best, that ONE facility could account for a 2.6% reduction in homeless rates. A statistically insignificant rate. If we were to build 30 buildings just like it, then we'd be in the realm of accomplishing things.
"If we were to build 30 buildings just like it, then we'd be in the realm of accomplishing things."

Exactly, we would have to build 30 $47 million dollar buildings. So while advocates seem to believe that until that day comes, we should be cool with the heart of the city looking like a filthy menacing flophouse, I say that maybe that day will be kinda of far away (like never), and we could take steps to deal with some of the negative impacts in the meantime.
The simple fact that seems to escape many of us is that a lot of these people are quite content to beg and live on the streets rather than to actually work for a living. There are many that are there by choice, because it's the easy way out and not because of a mental illness or a physical disability.

Granted, living without a home isn't easy or comfy, but you get used to it like anything else and, depending on one's priorities, sometimes it's worth it. They don't want help finding work if they can get by on handouts, and us suckers keep on handing them out.

There's no program that can help somebody who doesn't want help. If you want them out of there, the only way to do so is to make things inconvenient enough so that hanging around is no longer worth it. Repeatedly arresting them (after plenty of warnings) is one way of doing that.

Another way is to simply QUIT GIVING THEM HANDOUTS; if they fail to bum enough bites of your sandwich to keep their stomach from growling and enough of your money to buy a couple of 40s, then things will become a lot more difficult and they'll be forced to figure something else out.

Those that really want/need help getting off the streets can find it, but it's just not as easy as being a bum is.

Also, calling this way of living 'protesting' or 'occupying' is both hilarious and insulting.
Fortunately most of this will go away when it starts raining again. As will the tourists, clip board people, and idiot cyclists riding on the sidewalk.
@Blabby: The "10-year plan" bit was a federal requirement that no one sane would have chosen if saying no still meant getting money.

@human in training: You're onto something, to a degree. If you want to give someone something, try a Sisters of the Road meal voucher. As for protesting/occupying, you know that's way more about the place and the visibility as it is the "way of living." And it's also true that not everyone who's arrived outside city hall is there because it's a protest spot. They're there because it's also a large camp that, in the summer, gains its own gravity and starts attracting nearby bodies.
The U.S. defines "full employment" as 5% of the people being out of work. In the past 50 years unemployment in the U.S. has ranged from 4% to 10%… Add to this the financial pressure on those who *are* employed of diminished wages and benefits, growing income inequality, the middle-class squeeze, and downward mobility.

Shame on Mr. Hales for criminalizing the least fortunate among us, instead of creatively using the power of his office to address the systemic roots of the problem. Portland needs a new mayor and a new deal.……

[Note: Anyone who responds to this comment with name-calling using all-caps and/or multiple exclamation points will just be proving the emptiness of their position on this issue.]
@Graham @Drunk&Write --> Valedictorians from the Infantile Barbarian School of Public Discourse

What a riot, you chuckleheads! Wonder how long you would last if you found yourselves jobless and homeless?

โ€œInjustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere.โ€ --Martin Luther King, Jr.
You actually get harassed by the homeless kids downtown? I've been living in this great city on and off for nearly 20 years now; I've yet to be harassed by homeless kids. You must walk around all hunched over and look like a dip shit. Have some fucking respect for yourself and they won't even bat an eyelash at you.
Back at Graham, the most recent count of those living outside in Multnomah County (per Street Roots…) was 1,895 persons. Adding in those in shelters and with motel vouchers the number reached 2,869. Adding in transitional housing, the number only reached 4,000. So we both fudged our numbers.

You suggest we build 30 more apartment complexes to supply free housing? If we lived in a bubble and could guarantee that only those currently in the county now could use those buildings for now and forever, I would say it might be worth it. But we both know that we can't add new freeway lanes and expect the traffic congestion to ease up.

As for Bud Clark Commons being a failure, what should the goal of the facility be? Should it be a chance to get on ones feet, get sober/medicated? get a job, and then get ones own place? How long should this take? One year? Two? Five? What are the numbers for Bud Clark Commons? How many people have moved out because they are able to support themselves? This is why I called it a failure. TPI itself considers Bud Clark Commons to be permanent housing, not transitional (…) This is a problem; free housing should always be transitional, otherwise, what's the point of even trying?

Please wait...

Comments are closed.

Commenting on this item is available only to members of the site. You can sign in here or create an account here.

Add a comment

By posting this comment, you are agreeing to our Terms of Use.