News Dec 17, 2014 at 4:00 pm

A Court Fight Is Looming over Portland's Camping Ban—Again


So, what is one supposed to do when the (possibly) mentally ill homeless man has a 10' x 6' tarp multiplex permanently set up outside ones apartment or place of business, urinates and/or defecates every morning on or near ones door step, and deposits other random debris (to include used needles) on the sidewalk and in the street? That's not a rhetorical question; what tangible, near-term answers do the advocates offer?
what tangible, near-term answers do the advocates offer?.
One could offer the gentleman food, perhaps baked potatoes (easy to digest and can be used as pocket warmers too). If you express solidarity (not charity) and show respect, respect may be shown back. If it's a youth or someone in need of medical attention, you can download information on Outside-In (located in SW PDX).
Bags for defecation are offered to hikers on Mount Hood, and for dogs owners on most trails, but we don't seem interested in accommodating the houseless in this way for some reason. A realistic alternative is gift cards to a nearby coffee shop or fast-food place where a person could make a small purchase in order to use their bathroom.
And remember that schizophrenics and the mentally ill are not as dangerous as Hollywood portrays them to be. Here is an excellent blog by a schizophrenic that may help you understand your houseless neighbor better.…
"what tangible, near-term answers do the advocates offer?"

#1)make it legal to camp under highways in spaces no one is using or have a place in the hills just west of downtown. pay one city inspector (instead of 20 cops) to check on camp sites to make sure they are clean or up to code. Hell put a video camera. Charge them a cheap monthly camping fee even.

#2) Put heat on the missions instead of the homeless; the resources are there they are just not being used approprietly. Downtown alone there are at least 5 multi million dollar buildings designed for homeless and funded by handouts yet only one of them so much as gives mats for the night and even then they don't offer a place to store a bag or be during the day.

#3) This is my favorite; pack a warehouse full of bunkbeds and rent them $100-$300/ month. No more all day lines, no more disrespect, and curfews for grown men. But ohh wait! that would not be very profitable for local real estate investors would it?

Let's get real; missions are a business and truly affordable transitional housing is a serious threat to some people out there turning a buck off of un-affordable housing. So with the help of the mayor (DUMB ASS) we go with the alternative and employ cops to harass people who have done nothing wrong.

#4) Let them camp next to the suburbs.Let them build a shelter with the two hands god gave them to do it with.

Ohh wait we all know what you'd say to that, you'd tell them that they're not welcome even near your property because you bought and paid for it and your the entitled as well as victimized middle class who ''owns'' the land given free of charge and also has to put up with homeless on the street. Sweep them to the dirty pissed on sidewalk of the inner city, then when they try to congregate for safety in numbers to get a decent night of sleep call the cops because you think they're interfering with your stroll to work.

Then after all that bitch about your constitutional right to congregate and tell us once again about how ''free'' life in the suburbs is. We created homelessness when we created homes.

What dumb ass politicians and cops don't realize is if you give people a humane situation, even if you just let them create their own environment, then they will surprise you and the shitty ones pissing on walls and being doped up will not predominate. But when you herd people like rats only the shitty ones stick around to live in that type of mess. I've seen how sweeping the streets destroys the friendly and safe sense of community; I've seen it change things to where people are now getting beat up and stabbed.

It's human trafficking. mayor Hales (DUMB ASS) needs to be lynched or sent to prison. How can a ''leader'' start herding people like this when he does not even have the decency to come down and get to know them?
Because I work and have a home some how I am the bad guy? Honestly I have worked in downtown Portland for 27 years both northwest and southwest when I was younger befriended a homeless man (he was my age at the time and pulled my heartstrings) trying to give him a hand up. Over a 3 year period I gave him hair cuts or wash his hair(so when he said he had an appointment with transitional housing or a day job he looked clean) I gave him odd jobs for money. But what would happen over the course of time and him introducing me to his "friends" also street people I realized he lost his work a day life because of addiction and an unwillingness to change. The third time he returned from jail (the last time from a state prison) it was always he was in the wrong place or "if I hadn't been drinking so much..." with tears from both of us I had to cut him loose. He did not really want off the streets. I told him he had to want it more than I wanted it for him. the reality was I finally came to the same place his family and ex wife came to when they would no longer participate in his destructive behavior. because of my friendship with this man I am less afraid if still cautious of the homeless and large numbers of homeless that congregate in the NW business district Where I am now. I am respectful of all people I look them in the eyes and make the same cordial greetings I do any passers-by. But I work very hard for what I have and it burns my butt to continue to listen to people telling me that because "I" own something "they" are entitled to it. if these people were camping on your doorstep would you be so happy to give them the space? If you had to step over them literally to get into your place of business in the morning or drop your child at day care would you be okay with their right to"camp". I have been to a lot of major cities that don't have the camping presences that we do what is their policy on this issue? Already said more than I had intended but tired of being silent.
Ohh god you knew one homeless guy once upon a time right? Believe it or not they don't all fit in one box. You look them in the eye say hi, then sick a cop on them behind their back? Did you get to know them though? No one is claiming to be entitled to what you own, maybe a few people with signs asked you for change- don't take it too far. What they really want is for you not to intrude on what you don't own, ie, this world was given free of charge so why can't you allow someone to use it free of charge? Have your home nobody is looking to take it. Stay locked in your suburbs I don't care, but god damn can we get people off the dirty pissed on sidewalk and allot just a few acres of what is NOT BEING USED? Can people take some time to approach things more intelligently and humanely before simply sicking politicians and police on people for being human?

Many on the street go to work, many are on their way to getting on their feet, many had family turn on them, many are disillusioned both with chasing the american dream and an incredibly inefficient society where Consumerism, isolation, $1000 monthly rent, and owning your own home is not only achievable, but it is the standard. And if they fall short of the standard or that way of life just does not cut it for them, what option do they have?

People with a different life and different need should have options available other than a dirty pissed on sidewalk and cops herding them like cattle and breaking them up. Many don't realize how a sense of community (and safety) can make the difference between it being a nightmare and a humane experience.

Many in the middle class are so set in the belief that their way of life epitomizes a normal healthy way of living that they fail to acknowledge the real problem is with the society that caused homelessness in the first place. Then when they want something done they target homeless not homelessness, let alone society. Nothing gets solved.

But that last part is a story for a different time.

Believe it or not it's not about you, it's about getting people like you off of their back and finding an intelligent solution rather than just sweeping them to the next spot. It is about legalizing what is really nothing more than a different way of life for some, and a temporary phase for many more. Freedom, you know the kind that you enjoy in the suburbs?
Really ???who are you to judge me! ?! Is it about me? Absolutely! I have btw never called the police on anyone. As much as they have rights I do too! Do I know there are different stories? Did you actually read what I wrote or just skim as you self-righteously talk about free earth. You don't know my story! the people I have helped, because it is my life , my money! that I choose to not throw money at a problem but help those I can personally help get back on their feet! I am not privileged, not raised in wealth, I am self employed( no paid vacation, no employer subsidized insurance, no sick days) I chose this, have been my entire adult life . I am a trades person, Not college educated, I am a cancer survivor (and worked through it because I had to). You have your opinion and I have mine. Don't attack me and do not presume to know what I am about.
There you go again thinking I'm attacking you. Yes I presumed you were promoting street sweeps and therefore proceeded to defend my position on the issue. And that presumption is reasonable because you both took offense to everything I initially said and went out of your way to indicate your one of those workers downtown where people are pissing on the building (no I'm not defending them, they are a minority making things worse for the majority of homeless as well as workers downtown).

I don't believe in blind charity. It solves nothing. I believe in changing the system. I do believe helping people on a one on one basis where you actually know them and their situation is a good thing. Good for you. Very glad to hear your a survivor, but we've digressed and this is not about you.

ps- the example you started with is more an example of a personal attached relationship than it is of a homeless person in a homeless environment where, though people do have genuine connections, attachment is not necessary. There is a very big difference. Just because someone fails to conform and succeed at your way of life does not mean they are beyond hope, maybe they just need a different situation, a different environment. Maybe the problem is largely society and not just that person? Just something to think on so you keep an open mind.

Cheers and goodbye (until next time).
ps - to all the folks disliking comments but saying nothing cuz they're incapable of deliberating and actually presenting an argument; go back to facebook.
Advocating for homeless rights is important. However, I'm tired of said activists trying to convince me that your average homeless person is perfectly normal and well on their way to permanent housing. I own a home near Laurelhurst Park and for the last 6 years I have been looking at the same dozen or so homeless people the entire time. Aside from the drunken redhead that consistently passes out on my front porch, they are all friendly enough. But the puke, the bloody heroin kits, the verbally violent arguments, the piss- it's all getting tiresome.

I implore all who stick up for the homeless to take in as many as you can humanely fit into your home and board them until they get on their feet. egazzola, I'm sure you are already doing this.
No I'm not. If you been around on any kind of ground zero you'd see they are the minority, but the environment that portland has created attracts a certain crowd and deterrs another and so thats what you see. The clean ones are going to the labor hall or at least not marinating on the sidewalk. You don't see them and even when you do you might not even know they are homeless.

But your right, even they might not be on their way to owning their own home and pursuing the american dream. But maybbe the idea of owning your own home and the american dream is not perfect. Maybe there should be an alternative, a middle ground to the two extremes rather than a box in the suburbs or a life of hiding like a rat and having your rights taken. THATS WHAT I WAS SAYING DID NO ONE READ???

I don't have a criminal record, I'm applying for graduate school in physics, and I've been offered to turn professional in boxing. I'm not a bum. But from experienced the streets my perspective was changed. Most likely many middle class americans perspective would change too had they ever been there. I'm done.……
What you were saying? Like when you shit on Teresa Roberts for owning a home? Or when you shit on survivorgirl for her ill fated attempt to reach out and help and understand? Its always the same. Anyone who doesn't understand you is an asshole, and anyone who tries is an even bigger asshole.

You want a middle ground? Live a life of fulfillment and honor from now until you pass away.
shut up rick stevens. I was not addressing Teresa directly, I was sahring my perspective which when your under a cold bridge and go out and get akward stares and police phone calls for no reason from the middle class does end up being tainted with frustration. Hence the value of deliberation; two sides come to understand each other. Survivor girl and I are cool. This conversation was productive until you came in.
"live a life of fullfillment and honor until you pass away". gosh your just full of solutions aren't you?

or was it rev bite me i saw before you changed it?
A camping ban doesn't ban homelessness. It never specifically says you can't sleep within the public right of way, this is evident by simply stepping one foot in downtown any given night.

Essentially, you cannot set up a permanent place to live with bedding and tents. It might be a stretch to say it's unconstitutional, but I am no lawyer.

Honest question here, do advocates think that the general public is going to look favorably (on anyone) once there's permanent tents blocking sidewalks all around town and utter chaos has ensued?

And this isn't histrionics, we already know what lax enforcement can bring to the city. Occupy is still etched in peoples' minds. This isn't a slippery slope argument I'm making, but there essentially will be zero tools to clean up obvious problems and this will only lead to the city pursuing crafty codes and ordinances that address this even worse of a problem (kind of like what it's done with Pedestrian Zones).

Ending the camping ban will mean a fight on all fronts from the PBA and the CoP (and citizens too) to potentially change the Constitution that gives the city more leeway such as sit-lie so on and so forth. I'm thinking ODOT will put more barriers under its underpasses and businesses will start to get serious about alcove abatement to root out the exacerbated problem. The city and the county will also start to seal up their properties so no camping can occur too.

I'm not sure this is a fight advocates want unless it's fewer people on their side, the court of public opinion won't look too favorably on them.

Look, I like to camp, but it doesn't mean I can traipse where I want at Yomesite and camp where I damn well please.
Owning a home is not a crime, but defining people by what they don't own is prejudicial. Poor would be the preferable term, rather than homeless. Just live and let live. The churches simply need to open up and let the poor sleep in the vacant pews at night.
God help me I can't shut up...

Utter chaos will not ensue. You have no grounds other than TV for saying that. I know your mayor hales in disguise.

"the court of public opinion" can kiss my ass. When you go to bed in an isolated area, whether people in Portland are nice or not, mother nature dictates you feel like any night can be your last. Public opinion takes a back seat after that. If they don't have a safe place to sleep they are going to cause problems, if not camping then violence and crime. Portland is safe now but if we keep blindly following the path of other cities our streets will become dangerous like them too.

The people seeking a permanent residence on a sidewalk are indeed a minority though. The majority of homeless just want a place to be during the day, to store their stuff, to close their eyes in safety, and to feel a sense of community. They don't have this in Portland right now. If we changed this we would then be justified in telling people harming others property they cannot be here or there. As it stands we are not justified because we've provided no viable alternatives. The minority crowd of homeless are winning, not homeless people in general, and not people trying to work downtown.

Bring on ''the fight'' because people on the streets in Portland already lost; they got nothing left to loose. what should they, or us ''advocates'' care?

My wish; people would realize they are homeless. It is not "them" vs "those guys", it is just "us". Just because you have a wood box instead of a cardboard one does not fundamentally make you ''not- homeless'', just as not having your own rental agreement does not make you ''homeless''. Homeless is a feeling. You can be in a wooden box and feel like you could float right off the face of the planet; right there - your homeless. Some would deal with it by resorting to drugs/ alcohol, some watch tv, some take pills, and for some this makes them end up on the streets but for some they just get fat or depressed.


For me I needed a change and had goals of UO (I went there but they all have a stick up their ass so I left- now I'm getting personal). So with no one but myself to take care of I skipped town and ended up in a shelter. And when I was in a shelter I had the unexpected feeling of being at home. I had a place to go, a place to store my stuff, people around me, and safety when I closed my eyes at night. I FELT at home, and that turned a miserable nightmare into one I lived through with a smile on my face and changed my perspective.

Portland needs that. Currently it does not have that.Period. But all people see or seem to care about is whether people are obstructing the sidewalk?
It's tough enough not having a good place to hang out during the day besides the public library, but to carry a shit load of crap around all day, with no socially acceptable place to wash cloths even by hand or take a warm shower, and having to sleep on dogshit during cold weather in the way of drunk, speeding bicyclists is too much for anyone to bear. Then, there's the incessant persecution on top of all that. Try it sometime. See how it goes.
"The majority of homeless just want a place to be during the day, to store their stuff, to close their eyes in safety, and to feel a sense of community."

Yeah, nothing says community like the careless spraying of body waste and drunken mid afternoon fist fights around the turf you claim. Shouldn't the majority of homeless want to get out of the third world lifestyle they lead for good? Not just a locker for their belongings? You seem to set your sights low for a college educated, almost pro fighter. You sound like the sort of person that can take care of themselves but instead you complain that you don't get enough social services.
Any US citizen or resident who has earned less than six thousand dollars per year for the past two consecutive years, and hasn't already used up all their student financial aid or is not currently in default on a student loan, that they most likely qualify for about twenty grand per year in loans and grants to cover tuition and living expenses. What has totally astounded me, is that the vast majority of the many individuals whom I've advocated this to, reject the idea; usually on the grounds that either they don't like school, or they don't want to end up in debt. They are for the most part unemployable by today's standards and in this current job market. What's needed is an urgent response, enabling them to successfully subsist.
Again, you obviously failed to digest what I said. The sterotyped american way of life and the 'american dream' is false. It makes no sense. People don't share resources and let the rich capitalize off of this fact yet they bitch about the rich upper class, social capital is on the decline and opinion-policy congruence is down along with it yet we bitch about our leaders not listening to us instead of speaking to each other, and when it comes to speaking to each other we we tune into a framented media scene where we have one-hitter-quitter comments (or in this case week long comments that no one but us is reading by this point), or we go to facebook where we have a small circle of people not interested in discussing actual issues rather than speaking face to face with each other or at least deliberating.

Read the fucking blog posts I posted if your going to try to simplify what I'm saying and take it out of context; I WANT CHANGE IN SOCIETY NOT JUST FOR HOMELESS PEOPLE. The two are inextricably related and I used my experience to develop my perspective and opinion and apply it to middle class living in america I'll probably have to endure for the rest of my life.

You sound like a dumb ass more bent on attacking people rather than their argument. Please if you respond to this construct a rational argument based off of something I actually said not just what you feel ''I sound like". And if I do sound like that then attempt to justify it and EXPLAIN WHY. People are what they are not just what you say they are and that style of communicating is what detracts from actual progress.

Please dumb people go back to facebook or have the balls to see me man to man if you don't want to attack me instead of my argument you coward rat.

As for social services I work my ass off and don't do charity. I'll work circles around you with a pickaxe in hand, boxing gloves, or textbook. Any way you want it.
I meant if you do want to attack me instead of attacking my argument. Please proceed with the standard attack of mundane grammar and misspellings. You should be a politician for your lack of analysis and plethora of personal attacks.
further clarification to those who think I'm attacking them;

There is a difference between using someone as an example or making a statement (however harsh) and then proceeding to justify it by some means wheather it be example, logic, or research facts. This is more like trying to help someone and/ or yourself as well as everyone reading. You will either be proven false and learn something, someone else will be proven false and learn something, or you will come to an agreement of inconclusiveness that usually results in a clarification of what you don't know vs what you do know.

When you argue with the attitude that someone is what you say they are simply because you say they are that is anti-progressive and goes no where. This is what we see in the current state of partisan politics, which not so coincidentally politicians now days communicate through a medium of communication (media) that is not conducive to actual deliberation.
Coward rat? Why, because I have a different perspective than you? Also, go ahead with all that man to man shit. To me, insecure individuals such as yourself are as worrisome as a cloudy day.
If you want a life different from the status quo, go forward and do that. I swung a pick axe in my 20s and worked hard just like you. Now that I'm older and I have something to show for my hard work and sacrifice. Hopefully your academic and contact combat endeavors will do the same for you in the near future, or at least give you the freedom to persue a life apart from the sham you think the middle class lifestyle represents.

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