News Sep 18, 2013 at 4:00 am

Q&A: Neighborhood President Explains Fight to Keep Right 2 Dream Too Away


Patricia looks like a Grendler from Earth2. Just sayin'.
Sigh. It seems that Portland is guilty for shifting around the homeless population, again and many of its residence are experiencing a profound case of N.I.M.B.Y. (Not In My Back Yard). Addressing how the homeless have been bounced around from one area to another over the years is a very long conversation that should be had, but so should the classism that reeks from this article. It seems that Patricia Gardner is representative of a reaction that often comes from a neighborhood that wishes to maintain a specific quality of life, opting to ignore the quality of the lives of anyone that does not reflect their own narrow definition of happiness and safety, "safe" often meaning maintaining a privilege that is presumed to have been earned, when it is often not. Yes, I am aware that many have started with nothing and worked their way to positions of success, but that seems to be a very small percentage, many taking advantage of an already privileged life or with the assistance of persons or institutions. It also seems that there is a lot of strong reaction to a program that has not even been investigated, Gardner stating that her organization have not even bothered to look at how Right 2 Dream Too operates. I am not sure if the city opting to volunteer the Pearl for this project is in the best interest of anyone, but I am also not sure where we can place this population when there are many of Portland's citizens believe their locations are just too valuable to open their doors to citizens that very well may need help.
I don't hate her as much as you seem to want me to. She has a point about putting them in a building. We have a lot of empty ones the city might have access to.
"I pity people that have to build in this city. It's really a painful, painful process." WHAT A LOAD OF PRIVELEGED BULL CRAP!

You're comparing a disadvantaged group's plight of HOMELESSNESS to the bureaucratic red tape that financially secure/wealthy land developers will deal with (secure in the fact that they're not wondering where their next meal is coming from, where or when they'll be able to sleep in a secure environment without being harassed or threatened with bodily harm)?

Get a friggin clue, Pearl residents. You don't even have any remotely similar experiences in your combined lives to compare to the actual/literal pain that comes from economic instability, food instability, lack of access to medical & mental health resources, let alone a safe & secure place to sleep for the night.

I hope the city RAMS this down your throats, and that all of your meals are forever tainted with the after-taste clinging to your soft palate.
This woman is offensive to the point of absurdity.
>>Would you invite Right 2 Dream Too to the association meetings?

>>To be honest, I haven't thought it through.

But if PDNA is one of the officially sanctioned neighborhood associations here in Portland, I don't think they have the right to exclude any one from attending (aside from those who are obviously impeding the meeting through behavior or other means). Oregon public meeting law says that these meetings are open to the public. If it is a public meeting, and they are discussing R2D, then members of R2D have the right to attend and speak if the meeting is open to public comments (which I would hope it would be). Just sayin'.
To the indignant, self-righteous commentators herein: Would this process work for you if Amanda moved R2D2 on to a vacant, city-owned parcel in your neighborhood?!?
I will not speak for everyone, but I can say that my concern is far from self-righteous and is nowhere near generalizing. There is a flaw in both parties, those in the Pearl having issues with this potential move and the city, both far too near sighted for their own good. There is a flaw in the city simply moving this population from one area to another, versus taking the time to evaluate the actual need and services to meet those needs. As in many neighborhoods that have been "threatened" with the addition of collectives like R2D2, the fear of crime, a drop in housing value and general inconvenience of seeing these individuals has created an overreaction to an organization that they have not even bothered to look into. This is a problem that has been shifted from one Portland area to another, once even in the area that is now the Pearl, well before it was such a highly valued area. So, I am not really sure if where the city places these folks is the greater issue, as it will surely anger whatever population is in that neighborhood, humanity seemingly a little more complicated when you have to see reminders that our system has failed some of its citizens living in a tent in a vacant lot. Those in the Pearl that are so adamant about not allowing R2D2 to be apart of that neighborhood are not special, there are many in this populace that bristle against the homeless or those that do not fit within the parameters of what we find acceptable, those in the Pearl are not special in this selfish behavior. I hope all parties would be willing to sit down and have an honest discussion about who needs what and how all parties can work towards that direction, possibly acting upon the kindness and liberal thinking many Portlanders so proudly claim we have an abundance of, instead of just talking about it.
"I don't think so. Even if she was, it was going to be public process after a fait accompli. I also think there's a conversation that we have not had as a city. "Okay, smart people of Portland, how do you want to solve homelessness?"

Funny, I don't remember there being much "public process" either when our tax dollars were used for the urban renewal project that created the little yuppie utopia you apparently think you own. You've got to love the Pearly White attitude of Patricia, as if the homeless issue didn't exist before the coming of the condos. After reading this through several times, I still can't seem to find any sense of empathy.

Ironically, PDNA can so casually pull 10k from their coffers to hire a lawyer, which is probably more cash than most neighborhood associations have anything near to, and yet they can't even bother to reach out and engage with R2D2. I don't think anyone is considering this move a permanent solution, but at least it's a sheltered area and the whole idea of this is to provide a safe place for people working towards transition. The individuals there are no more permanent than the use of this space. If PDNA really gave a shit they would use their money and influence (okay, "smart people") to help find a better solution.
.....The system has not failed the homeless..the homeless has failed the system. Look carefully at the youthful vagrant wonders on our taxed streets. most of them I encounter are unemployable...either by mental disorder.. or over indulgence in drugs. (which ever came first)...they bring nothing to the table, no tax revenue etc. A tent city it to good for them. All they do is drain the surrounding economy by scaring away the people with money.
One of the benefits of our society, in theory, is that we are willing to care for those that can't do so for themselves. Without this willingness for the government and it's citizens to help protect the entire populace, we would not have services like social security, medicare/medicaid, workers compensation, etc. There are very few citizens that have not found some benefit from many of these services, even if those moments are forgotten when some of those individuals are experiencing better times.
Also, I am not sure how individuals can fail a system when many of those persons are often making efforts to improve their lives and are only asking for a little help to do so, services that should be part of any attempt to improve the welfare of any population. An addendum to our social contract, if you will. Are there some individuals that could better care for themselves? Absolutely. Are there many that have received the short end of the stick, often experiencing the inability to work or function from experiences in their past? You bet. It seems when some citizens do well, they often want to keep as much of that success, and/or protect it, as they possibly can, developing excuses for why others do not deserve what that successful person has, such success often coming from the labor of others, coming from someone else that had earned it and passed it down or came about such success through assistance of some kind.
It appears there are many individuals that have benefited from tax breaks or other forms of government assistance to better themselves, touting to deserve every bit of it, while turning around and claiming individuals like the homeless are simply drains on society. Making such a broad generalization about drug-addled youth and mentally troubled persons not only shows a profound ignorance, but reflects a gross selfishness that is part of the reason why I am disturbed with this issue in the Pearl in the first place. And if people with money are that easily scared, perhaps Portland does not need individuals with such flimsy character.
Let's get real. Homelessness is permanent. Permanent Hoovervilles. The Pearl District was built on a former homeless area, and benefitted from tax subsidy created by lobbying and low land prices created by the homeless.

The thousands of Pearl residents have an opportunity to give something back by hiring homeless and funding a dedicated social worker to work with the R2D community. How about requiring Pearl cleaning be provided by homeless? Token subsidized housing is not enough.

Imagine that as a national brand.

The individual interviewed has an opportunity to become a hero instead of choosing villain. Let's turn NIMBY to helping.
The city isn't playing fair.

The Pearl gets wooden planked sidewalks, wetlands, and million dollar fountains. While the park in my hood has muddy ruts from the groundskeepers driving around the paths in trucks that are too big.

Double standard.
Don't forget the Pearlies get the Portland Police to forcibly eject Occupy from Jamison Park the instant they became an inconvenience.

Listen, Pearlies - you live in the middle of a crowded city, where there will be a number of people who have no place else to go. You sound like Barbara Bush not wanting to burden her "beautiful mind" with Hurricane Katrina refugees.

Please wait...

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